If you’re looking to enquire about Employment and Support Allowance, give the friendly team at the Department for Work and Pensions a call on the helpline number below. The Employment and Support Allowance phone number is open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
ESA Phone Number:
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The contact centre team at the DWP are one of the busiest government departments in the United Kingdom, and they deal with thousands of enquiries every day. Due to the vast number of calls, the team are specialists in their field and are trained to deal with all sorts of queries. On top of this, they will be able to answer all of the most frequently asked questions.
What is Employment and Support Allowance?
Employment and Support Allowance is a government funded financial assistance given to those who are unable to work through either sickness or disability. This government benefit was rolled out to replace the old incapacity benefit back in 2008. With the benefit, those who suffer the most could receive almost £190 a week.
ESA comes in two formats. You could be entitled to either ‘contribution-based ESA’, which you can receive if you’ve paid enough contributions to National Insurance, or ‘Income-based ESA’, which you can get if you have low or no income. This doesn’t have anything to do with National Insurance and you are taxed on this, unlike the contribution-based ESA. You could be entitled to receive one or both depending on your individual circumstances.
There are multiple stages when you’re applying for Employment and Support Allowance, so it may take some time before your claim is approved. The first thing you should do is see your GP or Doctor and ask for proof of your inability to work. This can be a sick note, or a signed letter.
Common ESA Customer Service Questions
Can I work whilst receiving Employment and Support Allowance?
Whilst you are receiving ESA, it is allowed for you to still carry on with some paid or unpaid work without affecting your benefits. This sort of ‘permitted work’ means that you could potentially work less than 16 hours a week, and earn up to £115 per week for a year.
You can also work if it is supervised by the local council or voluntary organisation that provide work for disabled people.
When you initially claim for Employment and Support Allowance, you may be asked to complete what’s called a Work Capability Assessment. The aim of this is to work out whether you are eligible for ESA, and if there’s the possibility that you will be able to work.
It’s extremely important that during this process that you document all of your disabilities or side-effects of your illness, no matter how embarrassed you may be. If it affects you then it should be taken into account. Each case is different, if you are still unsure then call the ESA number above and discuss the details of your situation.
What happens if I am eligible?
If the officials at the DWP decide that you are eligible to receive Employment and Support Allowance, then you will be placed in to one of two groups.
The first is a work-related activity group, which meets regularly with an employment advisor who can help you find suitable work for your disability. If you fail to attend any of these meetings, then you could find that your ESA benefits will be taken away. You must adhere to the strict regulations if you are to continue to receive financial assistance. This type of group means your payment will be limited to 12 months.
The second is a support group, which will provide ongoing help as the Government has decided you are unable to work and you won’t have to go to any meetings. There is no 12-month limit on this type of benefit.
How much ESA will I receive?
Before the decision is made about which group you fall into, you will receive £57.90 each week if you’re 24 or under, and £73.10 if you’re older than 25.
You’ll find out exactly how much you are entitled to receive once your group has been decided.
If you are in the work-related group, you will receive up to £102.15 each week. If it’s the support group, then you’ll receive a maximum of £109.30 per week.
Applying for Employment and Support Allowance
The best way to apply for ESA is to contact the specialist helpline team on the ESA contact number at the top of the page. They are usually open between 8 and 6 on weekdays. You’re also able to print an application form and drop this in to your local Jobcentre Plus office.
If your application for ESA is declined, you are able to ask the Department for Work and Pensions for an automatic reconsideration of their decision. You are also able to ask them to explain why they placed you in one of the two groups, or ask them to reconsider which group you have been put in.
You have to request the reconsideration within one month of receiving notification of the decision. Just call the team at the top of the page for some help in requesting a decision review. Make sure you have your National Insurance number to hand so that the team can process your request quickly.
If you’re still not happy with the decision, you can then request an appeal to an independent body. Again, the contact centre team will be able to help you with this. Make sure you keep a copy of all written correspondence with all of your decision numbers. During your appeal, make sure that you have fully documented all of the side-effects and conditions of your disability or illness.
As with a number of other government benefit schemes, the Employment and Support Allowance is on the list of benefits to be replaced with Universal Credit. This new system of benefits has been rolled out in a number of different areas, but you won’t have to worry about how this affects you just yet.
You will only be moved over to Universal Credit once the area you live in enrols, or if you move in with a partner who already lives in such an area.