Employment & Support Allowance: New claims

4. How much will I get?

You won’t get any money for the first seven days of your claim. These are called ‘waiting days’.

After this, most people get a basic rate of ESA for the first 13 weeks. This is called the ‘assessment phase’. During this time, the Department for Work and Pensions will decide whether you qualify to keep getting the allowance. They may be able to decide this based on your illness or disability, or they may need you to fill in a questionnaire or go to a ‘work capability assessment’.

After 13 weeks, if you have completed a work capability assessment and still qualify for ESA, you will move to the ‘main phase’ and get a higher amount. This assessment will also determine whether you are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) or the Support Group.

You can get:

  • First 13 weeks Under 25 – £58.90
  • First 13 weeks 25 or over – £74.35
  • From 14 weeks Work Related Activity Group – Up to £74.35
  • From 14 weeks Support Group – Up to £113.55

From April 2017 new ESA claimants who are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (this is the same as ESA assessment rate) alongside additional support to help them take steps back to work.

If you are on contribution based ESA you will only get an allowance for yourself. If you are on income-related ESA you also may get allowances for your partner, if you have one, as well as additional premiums (pensioner, severe disability, carer and enhanced disability premiums).

The Benefit Cap

The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The level of the cap will be:

  • £384.62 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £384.62 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £257.69 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them.

The cap won’t affect you if you’re in the Support Group.

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