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How much ESA you can get

This advice applies to England

The amount of ESA you’ll get from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) depends on the type of ESA you claim. You might get:

  • new style ESA
  • contribution-based ESA
  • income-related ESA

Contribution-based ESA and income-related ESA are the old types of ESA.

You can get both contribution-based ESA and income-related ESA at the same time. The DWP will check how much you can get for each of them. The total ESA you’ll get is whichever amount is higher.

If you’re not sure, check what types of ESA you can claim.

If you get either new style ESA or contribution-based ESA

When you first claim, you’ll usually get:

  • £74.35 each week if you’re aged 25 or over
  • £58.90 each week if you’re aged under 25

About 3 months after your claim, the DWP will assess you. Depending on how much your condition affects you, they’ll put you in either the 'work-related activity group' or the 'support group'. Which group you’re in affects how much ESA you get.

If you’re in the:

  • work-related activity group you’ll get £74.35 each week
  • support group you’ll get £113.55 each week

It doesn’t matter how old you are.

If you have less than 6 months left to live

The DWP should put you in the support group when you first claim. This means you’ll get £113.55 each week straight away.

If the DWP don’t put you in the support group you can challenge the DWP’s decision.

If you get a pension

If your pension is more than £85 each week before tax, you’ll get less ESA. To check how your pension will affect your ESA:

  1. Work out how much you get from your pension each week – check your pension statement
  2. Take off £85
  3. Work out half of what you’ve got left – this will be taken off your ESA

Example

Charlie gets £975 each month from a pension.

To check how much he gets each week, he needs to work out what he gets in a year and divide by 52.

£975 times 12 is £11,700.

£11,700 divided by 52 is £225.

Charlie’s pension is £225 each week. Now Charlie needs to work out how much will be taken off his ESA.

£225 minus £85 is £140.

Half of £140 is £70.

Charlie’s ESA will be reduced by £70 each week.

If you get other benefits

You won’t get new style or contribution-based ESA at the same time as:

  • Carer’s Allowance

  • Maternity Allowance

  • Widow’s Pension or Widowed Parent’s Allowance

It’s usually worth claiming ESA even if you get 1 of these benefits. You’ll get whichever amount is higher.

To work out how much income-related ESA you should get, you need to:

  1. Check the basic amount you can get 
  2. Add on any extra amounts – these are called 'premiums'
  3. Take money off if you have income
  4. Take money off if you have savings or you own a home

If you end up with zero or less than zero, you won’t get any income-related ESA.

1. Check the basic amount you can get

When you first claim, your basic amount is:

  • £116.80 each week if you live with a partner
  • £74.35 each week if you don’t live with a partner and you’re aged 25 or over
  • £58.90 each week if you don’t live with a partner and you’re aged under 25

If you live with a partner and one of you is under 18, the rules are more complicated. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to work out how much ESA you’ll get.

About 3 months after you claim ESA the DWP will assess you. Depending on how much your condition affects you, they’ll put you in either the 'work-related activity group' or the 'support group'. Which group you're in affects how much ESA you get.

If you’re in the work-related activity group, your basic amount is:

  • £116.80 each week if you live with a partner
  • £74.35 each week if you don't live with a partner

It doesn't matter how old you are.

If you’re in the support group, you’ll get an extra £39.20 each week – this is called the 'support component'. This means your basic amount is:

  • £156 each week if you live with a partner
  • £113.55 each week if you don't live with a partner

It doesn't matter how old you are.

If you have less than 6 months left to live

The DWP should put you in the support group when you first claim. This means your basic amount is £113.55 each week straight away.

If the DWP don’t put you in the support group you can challenge the DWP’s decision.

2. Add on premiums

At any time while you’re getting ESA, you might get extra amounts called 'premiums'.

If you're in the support group

You’ll get the ‘enhanced disability premium’. You’ll get:

  • £17.10 each week if you don’t live with a partner
  • £24.50 if you live with a partner

You won’t get the enhanced disability premium if your partner has reached State Pension age – check your partner’s State Pension age on GOV.UK.

If you or your partner care for a disabled person

If you get Carer’s Allowance, you should get a 'carer premium' as part of your ESA. You’ll get:

  • £37.50 each week if either you or a partner you live with get Carer’s Allowance
  • £75 each week if you live with a partner and you both get Carer’s Allowance

If you don’t get Carer’s Allowance, check if you claim Carer’s Allowance.

If your partner has reached State Pension age

If you live with your partner, you can get a 'pensioner premium' as part of your ESA.

You can check your partner’s State Pension age on GOV.UK.

You should get:

  • £109.20 each week if you’re in the support group
  • £148.40 each week if you’re in the work-related activity group or you haven’t been put in a group yet

If you or your partner get other disability benefits

You might be able to get 1 or both of:

  • the 'enhanced disability premium'
  • the 'severe disability premium'

Check if you can get the enhanced disability premium

You should get the enhanced disability premium if you or your partner get:

  • the ESA support component
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the higher rate
  • the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the highest rate
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

You should get £17.10 if you don’t live with a partner, and £24.50 if you live with a partner.

You won’t get the enhanced disability premium if your partner has reached State Pension age – check your partner’s State Pension age on GOV.UK.

Check if you can get the severe disability premium

You might get the severe disability premium (SDP) if you or your partner get:

  • the daily living component of PIP
  • the care component of DLA at the middle or highest rate
  • AFIP
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance

These are called 'qualifying benefits'.

You can’t get the SDP if someone gets Carer’s Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit for looking after you - or for looking after your partner if they're the one who gets the qualifying benefit.

If you live with a partner or anyone aged 18 or over, you can only usually get the SDP if they either:

  • get a qualifying benefit
  • are registered blind

You should get £66.95 if you’re the only person who gets the SDP. If you live with a partner and both of you can get the SDP, you’ll get a total of £133.90 between you.

3. Take money off if you have income

The DWP might take money off your income-related ESA – it depends on the type of income you have. If you live with a partner, it also depends on your partner’s income.

If you or your partner earn money from work

The rules are different for you and your partner.

If you earn money from work

The DWP don’t take any money off your ESA if both of the following apply:

  • you earn £140 or less each week
  • work less than 16 hours each week on average

This is called 'permitted work'.

If you earn more money or work more hours, you might not be able to get ESA. You can check what kinds of work you can do while getting ESA.

If your partner earns money from work

The DWP will take the money your partner earns off your ESA.

The DWP won’t count £20 of your partner’s earnings each week.

Example

Betty lives with her partner Hector and claims ESA. Betty doesn’t work, but Hector earns £80 each week.

£80 minus £20 is £60.

Betty’s ESA will be reduced by £60 each week.

If you or your partner get a pension

The DWP will take the amount you get each week off your ESA.

If you or your partner get other benefits

If you get any of the following benefits, the DWP will take the amount you get off your ESA:

  • contribution-based ESA – this means you’re only paid once if you get both types of ESA
  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension

They will also take off money your employer has to pay while you’re off work, like Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay.

They won’t take any money from your ESA for:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Housing Benefit or Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)
  • Child Tax Credits or Child Benefit

If you get other benefits, contact your nearest Citizens Advice to check if your benefits affect your ESA.

If you or your partner get maintenance

If you get maintenance for yourself, the DWP take the amount you get off your ESA.

If you get maintenance for a child who lives with you, this isn’t taken off your ESA.

If you or your partner are paid rent

The DWP usually take the rent you get off your ESA. If the people who pay rent live in part of your home, the DWP won’t count £20 for each person.

The DWP will only take the rent off your ESA if it’s a ‘commercial’ rental agreement – like one between a housing association and a tenant.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you have other types of income, for example a student loan or grant.

4. Take money off if you have savings or you own property

The DWP might take money off your income-related ESA – it depends on the amount of savings you have. If you live with a partner, it also depends on their savings.

Add together your and your partner’s savings, including investments.

Also add on the value of any property you own – but not the home you live in.

You don’t have to include the value of property you own for up to 6 months if:

  • you’re planning to move in
  • you left there because of a breakup
  • you’re trying to sell it

If you still own the property after 6 months

Make sure to call the DWP to tell them.

Department for Work and Pensions Benefit Enquiry Line
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your total savings are £6,000 or less, the DWP won’t take any money off your ESA.

If your total savings are over £6,000, the DWP will take money off your ESA – up to £40 each week.

If you live in a care home

The DWP won’t take any money off your ESA if your total savings are £10,000 or less.

If your total savings are over £10,000, the DWP will take money off your ESA – up to £24 each week.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re not sure if something counts as savings, for example if you’ve been given a loan.

If your ESA payments are wrong

Call the DWP and tell them why you think the amount is wrong.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If the DWP don’t change their decision, you can challenge the amount of your ESA.

If you’re not sure you’re getting the right amount of ESA, contact your nearest Citizens Advice to check.

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