ESA in 2022: how much it is and how to get it

8 December 2022 by Robin - 9 minutes of reading time

esa in 2022

What is ESA? How can I claim this benefit? How much can I get? Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit you may get. This is, in part, an unemployment benefit if your ability to work is impacted by an illness or disability. This Your Benefits article will tell you everything that you need to know about ESA.

What is ESA?

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is type of benefit. In fact, it is meant to help those who are affected by a health condition or disability. Furthermore, their condition must make them less or not able to work.

When earning this benefit, you may get one of two things. First, you may be unable to work. Then, you will receive money to cover living costs. Second, you may be able to work. Then, you will be provided with help to aid you in working again

Like benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, there is now a ‘new style‘ version of this scheme.

If you would like to know what other financial aid you could earn, Your Benefits can help! We provide a free simulator that can calculate all the benefits you are entitled to. Furthermore, our advisers can help you save money on your electricity bill, water bill, phone bill, and more.

How much is ESA in 2022?

You will receive money while your ESA claim is examined. This is typically for a period of 13 weeks. Additionally, it is called the ‘assessment rate‘. The amount that you may be paid depends on your age. There are 2 rates. More specifically, they are as follows:

ESA Assessment rates in 2022
Age Under 25 years old 25 years old and over
Maximum possible weekly amount £59.20 £74.70

Note that these amounts are the maximums that you may earn. However, you may get less. Furthermore, you should receive payments every 2 weeks.

Your claim may take more than 13 weeks to fully examine. Then, you will continue to earn the assessment rate. This will be the case either until your ESA claim ends, or you get a decision. Furthermore, continually sending fit notes while your claim is assessed is a good idea.

Your claim may take more than 13 weeks before you get a decision. In this case, if it does and you were eligible, it will be backdated.

After you receive a decision, if it was positive, you may receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You could be in one of two groups. Either the work-related activity group or the support group. There is a rate you can earn for each group. Below are the amounts you may get for each group:

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) amount by group in 2022
ESA Group Possible maximum weekly amount
Work-related activity group £74.70
Support group £114.10
Note that these amounts are the maximum that you may earn. However, you may get less. Additionally, being in the support group may also mean you could get an enhanced or severe disability premium.

What will affect my payments?

How much you are paid depends on multiple factors. For example, the stage of your claim impacts your payments. Furthermore, both how old you are and your ability to work do so as well.

First, you will earn National Insurance credits with ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). More specifically, Class 1 credits. These are helpful in helping to get certain benefits and State Pension later on.

Your income and savings will not impact your ESA claim. This is the same for your partner’s income and savings. However, your private pension might. More specifically, one exceeding £85 weekly will change how much you may receive.

You may have more than £6,000 in your savings and household income combined.  You may also earn income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If this is the case, your payments could be affected.

Will other benefits affect my ESA claim?

What is ESA?

There are a couple of benefits that make you unable to earn ‘new style’ ESA. Indeed, they are Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you receive either of these benefits, you may not claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Your Statutory Sick Pay may be due to end soon. If this is the case, do not worry. You can claim ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance up to 3 months before the end of your SSP. Then, you will earn ESA as soon as you stop receiving SSP.

You may receive Universal Credit. If this is the case, you also earn ‘new style’ ESA simultaneously. However, then, your Universal Credit will be reduced. More specifically, by the amount of ESA you receive.

Note that you cannot earn more with benefits than the benefit cap allows. However, if you are in the support group, you will not be affected by the benefit cap.

You should receive payments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in a more regular cadence than Universal Credit. Additionally, the National Insurance credits that you would receive are not the same.

Claiming Universal Credit may mean the end of your income-related Employment and Support Allowance. However, you will keep receiving payments for 2 weeks, if still eligible.

How to claim ESA

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) online on the Gov.UK website. However, if you live in Northern Ireland, you may apply on the nidirect.gov.uk website

You may also apply by phone. This is if one of the following two reasons applies to you. First, if you are a person’s appointee. Or, second, if you are unable to claim ESA online. Then, call the Universal Credit helpline. You will need a couple of information in order to apply. They are as follows:

  • Your income details, if you currently work;
  • Your own National Insurance number;
  • The address, name and contact information of your doctor;
  • If you claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), the day that it is planned to end;
  • The sort code and account number of our building society or bank account (it can be the details of someone that you trust, like a family member or close friend).
You may first apply before providing this information. Then, you will be contacted by phone and told how and where to submit it. You do not need a fit note for the period from 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022. Another name for this is a ‘statement of fitness for work‘ and ‘sick note‘.

You may be claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of coronavirus. If this is the case, you will need additional documents. More specifically, the following:

  • Information about your travel, if you are quarantining after being out of the country;
  • A letter indicating that you had to self-isolate because of surgery;
  • The notification sent to you by public health authorities or the NHS (this is likely if you came into contact with someone with Covid-19, and had to self-isolate); 
  • If you cannot work because of coronavirus: an ‘isolation note‘.

What if I want to apply for ESA again?

You may not apply for income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) again. However, you may instead apply for ‘new style’ ESA. In fact, you could be able to earn the benefit again, if you did previously.

If you want to keep earning payments for this benefit, you may, depending on your situation. Mainly, these are the factors that will impact your claim:

  • The reason for which you were put in the support group (more specifically, were you put in the group because your health got worse, or because you started to have a new condition?);
  • Your National Insurance contributions (more specifically, the contributions that you made the 2 tax years before the tax year for which you want to get the benefit).

What happens after I applied?

How much is ESA in 2022?

After you applied, within 10 working days, you will typically be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Then, if you are eligible, they will schedule an appointment for you with your work coach. This will likely be over the phone. Together, you will create a “Claimant Commitment”.

A Claimant Commitment will tell you what you need to do in order to keep earning ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You will need to agree to it during the appointment.

Additionally, a few more things will be asked of you. More specifically, the following 3 things:

  • Letting Jobcenter Plus know of any changes in circumstance;
  • Give medical evidence
  • Give explanations for the manner in which you being able to work is impacted by your disability or illness.

You may have less than 6 months to live. Then, you will not have to agree to a Claimant Commitment. Additionally, you will not have to attend an appointment.

If you are not eligible, you will receive a letter from DWP. Indeed, it will tell you why you did not qualify. However, if you disagree with the decision that was taken, you may ask for a mandatory consideration. It will mean your claim will be reassessed.

How do you qualify for ESA?

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) regardless of your employment status. In fact, you may be unemployed, self-employed or employed. All three do not disqualify you from earning the ESA benefit.

You may be eligible for the ESA benefit if you were impacted by coronavirus. Indeed, this is the case if you could not work because you needed to self-isolate.

You may be able to earn ‘new style’ ESA (Employment and Support Allowance). For this to be true, two things need to apply. First, you have to be younger than State Pension age. Second, a health condition or disability have to impact your ability to work.

On top of these conditions, two things need to also be true. More specifically, you must have done both of the following:

If you want to learn more, you can ask Your Benefits or Citizens Advice. The latter is a registered charity. It does not have a vat number, and is not a company limited by guarantee. On their website, you may skip to navigation, skip to content.

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

Ask our experts a question

Your questions
  • Ann burgess

    I am to unwell to work and am waiting for a back op. If i leave work ( i am 62 and also have osteo arthritis and will never work again ) can i claim unfit for work esa?

    • Robin


      It sounds like you may.

      Hope this helps,

  • Burgess Ann

    Where do I send evidence for pip benifit, what does it involve?

    • Robin


      You can call the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222 to know exactly what and how you need to send your proof.

      Hope this helps,

  • Burgess Ann

    Where do I send evidence for pip benifit, what does it involve

  • Gary Thompson

    if i get higher rate of pip and i was getting middle rate and now i get higher rate do i get more money in my ESA income support

    • Robin


      You could indeed receive the higher ESA rate.

      Hope this helps,

  • alex webb

    hi can you tell me please why if you are on new style ESA and i have been for 8+ years
    you don’t get the cost of living payment when all other benefits do
    thank you for your time

    • Robin


      I am not really sure, as we are not affiliated with the government.

      Thank you,


    i have received a letter i do not need to send anymore sick notes i have applied for adult disability allowance will I receive both E S A /A D A

    • Robin


      You may typically need to sometimes continue to send sick notes.

      Thank you,

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