Havering Welfare Benefits Adviser Lorraine Moss today writes in the Havering Daily.
New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
This is a benefit for adults with a limited ability to work through illness of disability. It is a contribution-based benefit. This means that eligibility is based on your National Insurance records. Normally, you would have had to be credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the two tax years before the year that you are claiming in.
New Style ESA can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. If you are claiming Universal Credit, the whole amount of New Style ESA that you receive will de deducted in full as income.
Savings and Income From Partners
Because this is a contribution-based benefit, your savings and any income from your partner will not affect your claim. However, some income from Private Pensions may affect the amount that you receive.
You cannot receive New Style ESA if you are in receipt of Statutory Sick pay but you can apply up to 3 months before your Statutory Sick Pay payments end.
Eligibility (source New Style Employment and Support Allowance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
To get New Style ESA you usually need to have been working within the last 2 to 3 years, and have made (or been credited with) Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions.
This can be through employment or self–employment.
If you’re not sure how much National Insurance you’ve paid, you can check your National Insurance record online.
You will also need to have a fit note (sometimes called ‘sick note’ or ‘doctor’s note’) but you can start making your claim before you have one. If you have only just become ill you can self–certify for the first 7 days.
Corona Virus and New Style ESA (source New Style Employment and Support Allowance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you’ve been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA if you’re unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay and one of the following applies to you or your child:● you might have coronavirus or you’re recovering from it● you are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus● you’ve been advised by your doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery● you’ve been advised to ‘shield’ (take extra precautions to reduce contact with others) because you’re at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
Proof of your eligibility if you’re claiming because of coronavirus
If you’re claiming ESA because of coronavirus, you’ll need to give evidence to support your claim. Once you’ve applied, you’ll be contacted by phone and told when to give the evidence and where to send it.
Proof if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus
If you or your child are self-isolating and you cannot work because of coronavirus, you can get an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111 if you’ve been off work for 7 or more days. You do not have to go to your doctor or a hospital.
If you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus, your notification is proof.
Current Rates of New Style ESA
While you are waiting for your claim to be assessed the rates are as follows;● up to £58.90 a week if you’re aged under 25 (£59.20 from April 2021)● up to £74.35 a week if you’re aged 25 or over(£74.70 from April 2021)
After you’re assessed
You’ll be placed into one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA. If you’re able to get back into work in the future, you’ll be put into the work-related activity group. Otherwise, you’ll be put into the support group.
You’ll get:● up to £74.35(£74.70 from April 2021) a week if you’re in the work-related activity group● up to £113.55(£114.10 from April 2021) a week if you’re in the support group
How To Apply
You can apply online using the following link New Style Employment and Support Allowance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or you can call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328.5644.
Next week I will be looking at ESA assessments and Income Related Top Ups.