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New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Find out about New Style ESA including the eligibility criteria, allowances and the application process.

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What is New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

The front cover of an Employment and Support Allowance leaflet

New Style ESA, short for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, is the name of a benefit that some people with a disability or health condition can get.  

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The money is to help to pay for your living costs.  Living costs include things like rent , food and bills. 

You can also get help to get ready for work. 

A leaflet called Income-related Employment and Support Allowance with a picture of a wage packet on it with money

Some people get a benefit called income-related Employment and Support Allowance .  

You cannot apply for income-related ESA. 

A brown envelope with a migration notice letter coming out of it

If you are getting income-related ESA, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • your circumstances change or
  • you get a letter called a ' Migration Notice ' telling  you that you must claim Universal Credit.

Visit the government’s guidance for people who have had a Migration Notice for further information.

New Style ESA leaflet

This information is about New Style ESA. 

Can I get New Style ESA?

To get New Style ESA you must:  

  • live in the UK  
  • are under the state pension age
  • have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You must also have worked as an employee or have been self-employed and paid enough National Insurance contributions (or National Insurance credits) in the last 2 to 3 years. If you do not know if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions or National Insurance credits, check your National Insurance record on the government website.

Two support workers taking a woman in a wheelchair for a walk outside

If you are working you can claim New Style ESA if you work less than 16 hours a week and you do not earn more than £167 a week.

If you get Universal Credit you might also be able to get New Style ESA.

If you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment will be reduced by the amount you get for New Style ESA. 

You will also get different National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension and help you qualify for other benefits.

You cannot get New Style ESA if you get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 

If you get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you can only apply for New Style ESA if your SSP is going to end in the next 3 months.

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What checks are needed to get New Style ESA?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will need to check:

  • how your disability or health condition affects how much you can work  
  • if you will be able to work in the future.

If you apply for ‘credits only’ for New Style ESA, the DWP will check these things, but you will not get any money.

It can be a good idea to apply for ‘credits only’ for New Style ESA when you are 16 if you think that your disability or health condition affects how much you will be able to work.

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How much is New Style Employment Support Allowance?

While you are waiting for your claim to be assessed you will usually get an ' assessment rate' payment for 13 weeks.

From April 2024 - March 2025, the assessment rate payments are:

  • up to £71.70 a week if you are under 25
  • up to £90.50 a week if you are 25 or over.

After you have been assessed, if you are eligible for New Style ESA, you will be placed in either the work-related activity group, or the support group.

From April 2024 - March 2025 the payments are:

  • up to £126.45 a week if you are in the work-related activity group
  • up to £138.20 a week if you are in the support group.

You will be paid New Style ESA every 2 weeks.

The amount of New Style ESA money you get depends on things like; how much money you get from a private pension and the other benefits you get. Visit the government website for more information about what might affect how much you will get for New Style ESA.

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Easy Reads about New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

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What is New Style ESA?
A man is sitting in an office filling out a form at a desk
How to apply for New Style ESA
A man sitting at a table making a poster with a woman standing over him smiling
The New Style ESA Work Capability Assessment
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Your New Style Employment and Support Allowance plan
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How to apply for New Style ESA

To find out how to apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, we have created a straightforward step-by-step digital guide to take you through the application process.

Find out more →

Frequently asked questions

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The information on this page is for  guidance only. Mencap hold no responsibility for DWP processes, timescales, decisions, and service.

Need more information?

If you'd like more information or guidance please contact our Learning Disability Helpline.

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