Types of Employment and Support Allowance

Since the introduction of the new style ESA there are now 3 different types of ESA benefit. Check how all three Employment and Support Allowance groups work.

ESA TYPES: There are now three different types of ESA benefit.

1. The ‘new style’ ESA is only for people who can claim Universal Credit.

2. Contributory ESA

3. Income-related ESA

  • Paid on its own or on top of contributory ESA to people on a low income.

New Style Employment Support Allowance

People living in a Universal Credit full service area can apply for the ‘new style’ ESA. If not, you must be either:

  • Already be claiming Universal Credit.
  • Have claimed Universal Credit in the past six (6) months and the payments ended because of your earnings.

The ‘new style ESA’ functions in the same way as the contributory version. Any income and savings your partner has will not affect the rates of new style ESA payments.

Note: You can claim new style ESA by itself or at the same time as you claim Universal Credit. Receiving both at the same time means your new payment will get deducted from your UC payment. That means there is no actual guarantee of getting any extra money.

Contributory Employment Support Allowance

You may qualify to claim contributory ESA if:

  • You are not living in a Universal Credit full service area.
  • You paid enough National Insurance contributions. If you get National Insurance credits you can also count them.

Income-related Employment Support Allowance

You might qualify for income-related ESA even if your National Insurance contributions are low. The amount you would get depends on the circumstances of your claim.

Note: Claimants cannot get income-related ESA and Universal Credit at the same time.

Reapplying for ESA

In some cases, you can re-apply at least twelve (12) weeks after the new style or contributory ESA ends. As a rule, it would depend on:

  • The amount of NI contributions you paid in the last two (2) full tax years. That means before the actual tax year that you make the claim in.
  • Your health and whether it deteriorates to a point that you get placed in the support group.

How Long ESA Lasts

The new style ESA and the contributory version last up to 365 days if you get placed in the work-related activity group. But, there is no time limit for claimants placed in the support group. The same applies if you are getting income-related ESA.


ESA Regulations: A financial benefit given to those who cannot work or need 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.
How to Claim ESA: Check the different ways to apply but claiming by phone is often the quickest way.

3 Different Types of Employment and Support Allowance Benefit