The employment and support allowance (ESA) is a benefit that the U.K government gives to those who have a hard time getting jobs due to illness or disability. Disability or illness can act as a barrier towards getting a job. However, there are varying severity of medical conditions which can make one unfit for work. There are those who can hold jobs that are not too demanding while others cannot hold any jobs at all. The government acknowledges the hard time that such people have when looking for a means of earning a livelihood, which is why it sets some money apart for them. Read on to find out more about this allowance and how you can claim it.
Who is eligible for ESA?
Anyone who suffers from severe medical conditions can apply for this allowance. However, there are a few conditions that must be met before you can apply for the allowance:
- You must be over 16 years old
- You must have a fit- note
- You must not have attained the pension age
- You must live in the U.K
- You must not be entitled to other major benefits, especially not out- of- work benefits
What is the Claiming Process?
The first step of claiming this benefit is a visit to your GP. You will need an official note from them, which is referred to as a sick note, detailing your illness and how it bars you from getting a job. Then you need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions. You can do so by calling 0800 055 6688. Placing the call is a free service, so you have no reason to delay contacting the department.
After contacting the department, they will send you a questionnaire to fill out. Be sure to fill it in the most detailed and accurate way you can. This minimizes the need for personal assessments and makes it easier for the department to accord you the right allowances. In case the department requires a one on one medical interview with you, they will most definitely ask you to attend one of theirs. The medical professionals from the department will examine you in order to determine exactly how severe your condition is, and how it hinders you from securing employment.
The assessment process should ideally take thirteen weeks, although it often takes longer than that. The pay rate for this period of time is £73. 10 if you are over 25 years old, and £ 57.90 if you are under 25 years old. If you are found to be eligible for the allowances and your assessment period took longer than thirteen weeks, your payment will be backdated to the fourteenth week after your application.
How Much Money will you get?
The amount of money you will get depends on the severity of your disability or illness. If you are deemed eligible for the allowance, you can be placed in one of two groups. The first is a work related activity group, and the second is a support group.
If you are placed in a work- related group, it means that you can still work despite your medical conditions. It means that you are having challenges getting a job because of your sickness or disability, but that you are trying all the same. If you are placed in this group, you are supposed to attend interviews with an advisor. The advisor will give you tips on how to hone your skills and how attain your job goals. In this group, your allowances will be £102.15 per week.
Failing to attend interviews can lead to sanctions. This can take the form of pay cuts or even being denied all your allowance. If you think you could miss an interview for a valid reason, be sure to tell that to your advisor.
You could also be placed in a support group. Being placed here means that your sickness or disability makes it nearly impossible for you to hold a job. If you are placed here, you do not have to attend interviews. However you can always consult a personal advisor if you feel that you want to look for work. In the support group your allowance will be £ 109.30.
ESA can also be classified as contributory allowance or income- related allowance. If you held a steady job before you became too ill to work, no doubt you made a contribution to the National Insurance. The allowance you get if you made such a contribution is referred to as contributory allowance. An income-related allowance on the other hand is given to those who have never held a job before, or those who had very low paying jobs. If you need to contact the ESA directly, just use the telephone number at http://www.visitalk.com/.
Now that you know about employment support allowance, be sure to apply for the money if you need it. Applying is an easy process and the money can go a long way in helping you cope with life.