Types of ESA
There are two types of ESA that are given; the contribution based ESA and the income related ESA. The contribution based ESA is given to people who have paid enough National Insurance Credits. The income related ESA is given on top of the contribution based ESA or on its own if for people who are on very low income.
Contacting the ESA helpline
You can contact the helpline of the JobCentre plus or the Universal Credit service centre to lay claim for the ESA. These centres can be called from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday. The call when you are laying the claim is usually long because the customer care representative will need to get all your details. This can take more than half an hour so you need to be well prepared. The visually impaired and the deaf are also able to contact the customer care through the textphone and the Welsh platforms.
Some requirements before calling the customer care helpline
Before you call this number then you need to have some things with you. For instance you will need to have your national insurance number, your personal details(physical address and telephone number), your tax details, a medical certificate from a doctor, details of your employer (name, address), the details of your employment (when you were employed, how long you have worked as in number of days you have worked), details of your income if you have any (your income should include all the money that you are getting) and finally you need the details of your doctor (address and telephone number). All these details are required in the process when you are laying your claim so that you have a complete registration process.
After laying the claim then what happens?
After you have made the call above, then a form will be sent to you which you will need to fill in and return to the Jobcentre Plus. Then after that you will be asked to wait until when your case has been decided. During this waiting process you might be asked to take the work assessment. The assessment should be done as required otherwise you will not qualify for ESA. It is important to note also that the waiting period may be long. You may be required to wait four months for your case to be decided. After it has been decided then your ESA payments will be backdated to the week when you applied.
You should inform the office if in between this time your situation changes for instance if you get employment, if you get sicker or better and such other situations that will affect your ESA. Ensure that your claim form has all the required documents attached with it. The documents required are evidence that you really need the ESA and also help to make sure that you get the ESA that you deserve.
If you qualify for the ESA then you might be placed in the work related activity group where you will be required to carry out some work. The group may help you to become more productive even in your disability. With time you may be placed into work from the group and continue to receive some ESA as you get your life in order. Working is important because it makes one independent. This is a major step especially for people who are living with disabilities.
What happens if you do not agree with the findings of the Work assessment done? If they say that you might be able to work and you feel you can’t work what happens then? In such a case then you can appeal the decision before a tribunal. The child support tribunal will then look at your case and you might have to be put through the rigorous assessment again.
Does working affect your ESA?
Yes. There are certain limits set on the number of hours you can work every week and the amount you should earn in order to continue getting ESA. You can call the ESA contact number available here if you would like to know more about how work affects your ESA.