Updated 16th April 2017
ESA or Employment and Support Allowance is specifically aimed at getting you back into work when you have an illness or disability. These days, it is payable instead of the Incapacity Allowance - except for some cases - and Income Support Benefit that was paid when there was a disability or illness.
You will have a Work Capability Assessment to examine your suitability for being able to work. This will decide your rate of ESA Benefit - if applicable
ESA Whilst in work
It is a two part allowance - physical help and support from Jobcentre staff and financial help. All with the intention of either finding you work, or helping you to keep the job that you have, whilst you are ill or suffering some disability.
The 'help' staff are well trained to 'assist' you in your endeavours, and will do all they can to get you working again! You will probably have your own 'personal trainer' who is specially trained in overcoming the obstacles that often prevent you from working when ill.
As well as this personal guide, you will be 'encouraged' to use a wide range of support services to meet this end.
Extra financial support is available for those who have severe illness or disability. It is possible to obtain extra benefits by way of Personal Independence Payment benefits if you are receiving ESA
Virtually anyone who is out of work because of sickness or disability should be able to get the financial help and personal support that this area of benefits covers - including.....
You will be able to find out about your NHI situation from an advisor at the Jobcentre. They will then be able to point out the direction you should (must) take if you want to get ESA!
If I go abroad
You could still get your ESA if you only go for a short trip - up to four weeks, or if you are getting medical treatment whilst abroad. You may also get ESA if you live with a member of the Armed Forces, and follow them overseas by way of posting or other trip.
It may well be that once you have applied for ESA, you could be asked to take part in a Work Capability Assessment. This will involve filling in a questionnaire that will be sent to you. You may also have to go for a medical assessment and examination for your ESA claim, to determine the type of work you may be capable of, or to see the full extent of your illness or disability.
If this is the case, it will not be 'optional' for if you refuse or otherwise do not take part - your benefits could stop or at least be reduced!
You may also be required to attend for an interview - or so, which will focus on getting you back to work. It will be conducted by a trained advisor. Again, if you fail to attend, then you will almost certainly be subjected to a reduction in benefits.
March 9th 2017
***Child Tax Credit - From April this year the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished.***
March 8th 2017
**MPs are calling for a halt to the accelerating roll-out of Universal Credit as the ongoing problems are causing undue and unnecessary hardship**
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