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Confused what is ESA?

Hi everyone

I am seriously trying not to sound dumb (not working lol). What is ESA?? I know it is some form of benefit - but it is confusing.

I have finally applied for PIP (much to my families relief) paperwork was a nightmare took me ages to fill it in - worse than the old DLA forms.

Not looking forward to decision as have had battles with them in the past with my children (they put me through hell). I was determined to cope as long as I could without involving the DWP but at the stage where I cant cope without help.

Benefits confuse me. I get carers allowance for my son as he gets DLA.

I am just confused over what ESA is?

Any info would help as foggy brained at mo

thanks x

8 Replies

Take a look at Fight Back and Atos Miracles , both on facebook and give lots of help and advice in general and help with filling in all the forms as well. Good luck and get all the help you can with your application.


Thank u for this. will check it out x


Hi, ESA is Employment and Support Allowance, (basically sick pay for those deemed too ill for work), it replaces the 'old' incapacity benefit.

From my experience there are two levels/types of ESA which are 'work related' and 'support group'. Being placed in the support group means there is not currently a realistic prospect of getting into work and the benefit is paid accordingly. Being placed in the work group is for those who the DWP accept are not 'well' but are able to obtain some form of work and will be sent to 'work focussed interviews' and expected to conduct job searches etc.

As stated, this is only my experience and understanding of the current system and must say I'm not a professional in this field. I just gleaned the info from applying myself, hope this helps in some small way.

Take care


Thank u for your help. I was really hoping that I didnt sound dopey. I just dont understand the benefit system whatsoever. thank u x


ESA is Employment Support Allowance I have got lupus but I can not get ESA I dont get any thing at all


I get ESA - I used to have income support [I couldn't get incapacity benefit as I had not paid enough NI due to ill health...]. I went onto ESA December 2011, so have filled out forms twice, you have to reapply every year. And the questions have changed, they used to ask if you could walk up 12 steps now it is 2.

I am in the Work related group. You are not expected to apply for work. But since December there is the addition of the Work Programme, which I have to say is a bit of a new grey aea. It is hard to know what is expected, especially as you don't actually have to apply for work. Different people have had different experience. There are issues such as does a hospital appointment take priority over a work programme meeting?

the experience of one person so far


There is also contributory ESA and income related ESA. The first you get if you have made enough NI contributions and you get this for 1 year and after the year you go onto income based, in other words if you have a spouse with an income even though they deem you are not fit to work you might not get anything because your spouse has an income. It is very complicated.


ESA = Employment and Support Allowance. These links may help you

This link is very good re how you get "scored" for points to see if you are entitled to ESA (remember fatigue, pain, and variable conditions should all be taken into account when they asses what points you may score/ what you can and can not do)

You are likely to need your GP support re what you say you can and can not do when you fill in the form so be sure to let your GP know all your symptoms and what problems you have ( eg are there days that you are so fatigued that you can not walk far without severe exhaustion/pain, do you have trouble sitting or standing for any length of time, do you need help with household chores, shopping etc etc )


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