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How to Claim ESA Benefit Payments

Applying by phone may be the quickest way to claim Employment and Support Allowance. The type of ESA you are claiming for determines which number to call.

How to Claim New Style ESA by Phone

Note: It is best to check you have eligibility for ESA before applying.

Check you live in a Universal Credit full service area first. If so, you can claim ESA by phone. Call the full service helpline and choose option 2, then select option 6.

Universal Credit Full Service Helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 08003281344
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm

What if you do not live in a UC full service area? You need to check which one of the different types of ESA you are claiming for. But, if you qualify for the new style ESA you can call:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm

Not being able to claim Universal Credit in your area means you cannot claim the new style ESA. But, you might qualify for the contributory or income-related ESA instead.

Note: There are alternative formats available when you claim ESA by phone. Ask the operator for alternative or accessible formats (e.g. audio CD, braille, or large print).

How to Claim Contributory and Income-related ESA

You can phone the ‘Contact Centre’ if you are going to apply for contributory or income-related ESA.

Contact Centre
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm

Note: You can apply for ESA using the ‘Employment and Support Allowance claim form‘. Fill in ESA1 form and pass it on to your local Jobcentre Plus office. The process of applying for ESA differs in Northern Ireland.

Documentation to make a Claim for ESA

These items and documents are what you will need to claim Employment and Support Allowance:

  • National Insurance number and medical certificate.
  • Address and phone number of your General Practitioner (GP).
  • Your own home and mobile telephone number.
  • Council tax bill and mortgage or landlord details.
  • Your employer’s address and telephone number and dates of employment or last day worked.
  • Your bank account details with any details of other money you are receiving (e.g. sick pay or benefits).

How to Send Fit Notes to ESA?

You may need to send your fit note (also called a ‘sick note’ or ‘statement of fitness for work’) more than once to continue your ESA claim (unless you are self-isolating due to coronavirus).

Besides a fit note signed by your doctor, you will also need:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • A mobile phone (or tablet with a camera) or a computer with a saved photograph or copy of the sick note.

Posting Your Fit Note

You can send an ESA sick note using normal postal methods along with any other medical evidence to:


Note: The help guide explaining how to send your fit note for your ESA claim is also available in Welsh language (anfon eich nodyn ffitrwydd ar gyfer eich cais ESA).

How to Appeal an ESA Decision

There is a set process to follow if you disagree with a decision. You should appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. As a rule, you must first ask for a mandatory reconsideration before you make an appeal.

Telephone Call Charges Guide

Check the free and paid rates for making a telephone call from a landline or mobile to popular numbers like 0800, 0808, 0845, 0870, 03 and others.


ESA Rules: A financial benefit given to those who cannot work or need special assistance to be in work.
ESA Eligibility Criteria: Find out if you meet the conditions for claiming Employment Support Allowance.
ESA Rates 2022: A list explaining Employment and Support Allowance groups and the weekly amounts.
ESA Types: Check how different types of Employment and Support Allowance determine the payments.

How to Claim Employment and Support Allowance in the United Kingdom