Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) introduction

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) provides financial help to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability. It also provides personalised support to those who are unable to work.

Information for customers

Read more information about Emploment and Support allowance on nidirect:

Making a claim

To make an Employment and Support Allowance claim:

  • freephone 0800 085 6318
  • textphone 0800 328 3419 (for deaf or hard of hearing users and customers with speech difficulties)

Customers can now also complete a claim to Housing Benefit while making an application for ESA on the freephone claim line

If you are unable to claim by phone you can claim via a representative or interpreter; by completing a printed claim form, which can be obtained by calling the Employment and Support Allowance Centre on the number listed above, or from your local Jobs & Benefits office / Social Security Office where a claim may be made face to face, or download Employment and Support Allowance forms.

Advisers and customer representatives

Employment and Support Allowance is designed to enable your clients or constituents to achieve their full potential through work, and to support those for whom work is not a viable option. The Department aims to work closely with advisers, customer representative groups and elected representatives to ensure our shared customers get the information, advice and support they need.

Healthcare professionals

Employment and Support Allowance has not meant significant changes to the way healthcare professionals deal with patients or the paperwork they complete. The Department already asks GPs to fill in forms to provide us with information about patients, and some of the forms have changed.


If any of your employees are receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and this were to stop or no longer be payable, that employee may well transfer to Employment and Support Allowance. For this to happen, you are required to supply them with an SSP1 form.

More information


Other reports and plans

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