One of the most important benefits offered by the UK government, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) deals with thousands of new applications from people looking to claim each year. There are many different contributing factors to this – but the main one is the fact that ESA was created to replace a whole raft of different benefits.
Following changes to the benefits system following austerity measures by the new government in 2011, ESA is much harder to claim, with the application process becoming more thorough than it had even been before. However, this increased scrutiny placed upon people who are attempting to claim the benefit has not massively deterred people from going through the process.
If you’re thinking about applying for ESA, or would simply like some more information about how you can go about filing a new claim, the steps that need to be taken are detailed below.
Starting a new ESA claim application
An ESA application can be filed through one of two ways. The quickest is to call the ESA contact number and to speak to a member of their support staff. before you dial, it is important to have all of the following to hand, otherwise the advisor may not be able to process your claim
- National Insurance number
- Medical certificate detailed why you are unfit to work
- Your Doctor’s or GP’s address and phone number
- All relevant personal contact details for yourself (mobile & landline)
- Details about your living situation (including mortgage details or information about rent)
- Your most recent council tax bill
- Either your current employer’s address and telephone number and dates of employment or last day worked
- All relevant information about your bank account details
- Documentation about any other money you are getting, such as benefit payments or sick pay
However, if you are unable or unwilling to complete the process over the phone, you can also mail your ESA application in. Forms can either be requested over the phone or downloaded through the government website. From there, they must be filled in accurately, then sent in to or taken to your local Jobcentre plus office.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be eligible to receive ESA at a reduced rate until your claim is processed. This will stay in place until you have been given the Work Capability Assessment. This process has been implemented to make sure that those who are attempting to claim ESA are actually unable to work – although there has been some controversy over this particular aspect of the system, with many sources suggesting that the scheme has caused the deaths of people forced back into work after failing the test.
Once the Work Capability Assessment has been conducted, you should be informed via the mail or over the phone as to whether you will be able to claim ESA, as well as information around how much in benefits you will be paid in the future. If your application has been rejected, you will be told why – as well as being given the option to appeal the decision.