Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- ESA guidance
- ESA – your questions answered
- Release updates
- ESA Seminars 2009 Documentation
- Contact ESA
From 27 October 2008, the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will replace the current incapacity benefits (i.e. Incapacity Benefit and Income Support payments made on grounds of incapacity) for new customers.
ESA will be paid to people in return for undertaking work-focused interviews, agreeing action plans and, when resources allow, participating in some form of work-related activity.
Sanctions can be applied to those people who do not fulfil their requirements and responsibilities as conditions for receiving Employment and Support Allowance. However, there will be provision for those customers with the most severe disabilities or health conditions to receive Employment and Support Allowance without a requirement for them to undertake work-focused activities.
In the majority of cases customers will make their initial contact to claim ESA by telephone, with evidence gathered and medical assessments following this to reach a decision on the appropriate level of benefit payable.
Regulations are currently being drafted. The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008 (No. 794) are available on the Office of Public Sector Information website.
Further links will be added to this site as the regulations are published.
- HB/CTB Circular A11/2008 (167KB) . for detailed guidance on the policy and operational impacts of ESA
- ESA Operational Guidance - full process May 2010 (121KB)
- Local Authority Claim Information (LACI) Guidance - May 2010 (68KB)
- Appendix 1 - ESA LACI Template (960KB)
Q: If the HB/CTB claimant and partner are both getting ESA(C) and the claimant has the work- related component and the partner the support component would they get the work-related activity component in HB/CTB?
A: They would get the work-related activity component. This is because it is always the ESA component appropriate to the HB/CTB customer that should be awarded – see the example in paragraph 47 of circular A11/2008 (167KB)
Q: Is it possible you could explain the thinking behind the policy intention of awarding the component appropriate to the customer and not the partner?
A: This is because HB/CTB must follow the ESA(IR) policy. That policy is that ESA(IR) is based on the customer's capabilities and not on whether he/she is a member of a couple. Thus, if the person claiming ESA(IR) is entitled to the work-related activity component, that is the component that will be awarded in ESA(IR). Whether the partner of that couple has a component is irrelevant to the calculation of the ESA(IR) applicable amount, although the partner's ESA(C) will be taken into account as income in the ESA(IR) calculation.
As is the HB/CTB policy, in couple cases, where both are entitled to ESA(C), the couple could swap which one is the ESA(IR) claimant if that would make them better off.
Q: In cases where a disability premium at the couple rate already exists in a claim, and the partner for example then receives ESA and the component would continue to receive the couple rate of the Disability Premium, and not a component?
A: Yes that's right. The rationale being that as the couple rate disability premium has been awarded it would be double provision to also award a component for the partner. The partner's ESA(C) will be taken into account as income in full.
Q: If there is a new HB/CTB claim and the claimant for example receives DLA and is working, and the partner receives ESA and a component, would the couple rate of Disability Premium be awarded and no component added to the applicable amount?
A: Yes. This is because the claimant is not an ESA claimant so the non-ESA rules would apply meaning the disability premium would be appropriate at the couple rate. No component for the partner would be added because it would be double provision to do so and the partner's ESA(C) will be taken fully into account.
Q: If the HB/CTB claimant and partner are both getting ESA(C) and the claimant has the work-related activity component and the partner the support component would they have automatic entitlement to the Enhanced Disability Premium?
A: No. Automatic entitlement to the EDP applies only where the HB/CTB customer is receiving the support component. The EDP could still be awarded if the other qualifying conditions, which have not been amended, are met – see para 47, 61 and 62 of circular A11/2008 (167KB)
Q: If the claimant receives the support component and the partner the work-related activity component would they only qualify for the support component in HB/CTB?
A: Yes. This is because only the component applicable to the customer can be awarded, as is the case for ESA(IR) – see paragraph 56 of circular A11/2008 (167KB)
Q: Where a single claimant receives DLA and works they would receive the Disability Premium, if they cease work and claim ESA (and still receive DLA), do they lose their entitlement to the Disability Premium as soon as the basic rate of ESA is awarded?
A: Yes that is correct. That is because an ESA customer is not entitled to the disability premium.
HB/CTB Extended Payments
Q: Will receipt of ESA potentially entitle customers to the 4 week run-on?
A: Yes it will – guidance on ESA and the changes made to the run-on provisions by the Welfare Reform Act is in circular A12/2008 (132KB)
Q: Non-dependants - If aged under 25 and on assessment phase ESA (IR) there will be no deduction. If the main phase ESA (IR) was delayed should the deduction be taken from the day the decision is made or when it actually should have occurred?
A: Where the decision to award main phase ESA is delayed the deduction should be made from when the decision is made and not from when it should have occurred had the decision been made on time. This will avoid overpayments not due to any error or omission by the claimant. See the example in paragraph 111of circular A11/2008 (167KB)
Q: In the case where the non-dependant lives with someone over 65 years of age and non-dependant is under 25, when the non-dependant goes onto main phase ESA(IR) will the deferral rules apply?
A: Yes the deferral will apply. This is because the conditions are that an existing non-dep has a change of circs that would increase the deduction – HB(SPC) reg 59(10(b)(ii). The 26 week period would start from the date the deduction is due to be made ie either the Monday after the start of the 14th week of ESA or the Monday after the decision is made if that would be later.
ESA – your questions answered
We will also publish answers to the questions you send us about ESA.
- ESA – your questions answered (126KB) Updated 10/02/09
ESA claim information made over the phone will be recorded on the Customer Account Management (CAM) IT system. The technology for which is already employed by the Pensions Service (TPS). Release 1 of the ESA CAM will be available to support the introduction of the new ESA benefit and further releases are planned. The schedule for these releases is outlined below.
The planned releases updates are:
- Release 1 – 27 October 2008
- Release 1.1 – Spring 2009
- Release 1.2 – Final quarter 2009
Until Release 1.2, if the customer wishes to claim HB and/or CTB, a clerical issue of the HCTB1 will be issued. This can be completed and returned to the LA in the usual manner.
From Release 1.2, an integrated gather of HB/CTB information will take place, this will result in the production of a Local Authority Customer Information (Document) which will contain all of the information needed to process an HB/CTB claim. It will also contain details of the evidence already verified by Jobcentre Plus in support of the ESA claim.
- ESA Seminar Slides (621KB)
- Seminar Questions (106KB)
- Example Draft Blank LACI Template (1.2MB)
- Example Draft ESA Customer Covering Letter (64KB)
- Example Draft ESA Customer Statement (110KB)
Example Workshop Scenarios
This section of the HB website is still being developed, but if local authorities have any queries about Employment and Support Allowance, please email us at: HBSDMP.WWEG@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
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