Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and how we can help you


WEDNESDAY: ESA50 Form completion

THURSDAY: ESA failed Work Capability Assessment appeals (failed medical assessment) and ESA50 Form completion

All advice at Greater Manchester Law Centre, 159 Princess Road, Moss Side, Manchester, M14 4RE.

Please book your appointment by visiting GMLC, calling reception on 0161 769 2244 or emailing reception@gmlaw.org.uk. We are open Monday to Thursday 10am-3pm, and Fridays for appointments only.

What is Employment & Support Allowance?

Employment & Support Allowance is a benefit for people who have ‘limited capability for work’. Typically, this means people who are unable to work because of illness or disability. There are two elements to Employment & Support Allowance: contributory Employment & Support Allowance and income related Employment & Support Allowance. You can receive either of these two elements, and in some cases, both at the same time depending on your circumstance.

Entitlement to Employment & Support Allowance is assessed by passing a test called the Work Capabilities Assessment. All claimants are expected to send in a ‘fit note’ (this is formerly known as a sick note) which is produced by your GP for the duration of the claim.

If you pass the Work Capabilities Assessment then you will be assessed as to whether you have limited capability for work related activity. This determines whether you are placed in the support group or work related activity group of Employment & Support Allowance.

Who can claim Employment & Support Allowance?

You can claim Employment & Support Allowance if you meet the following:

  • You have limited capability for work and
  • You are aged over 16 or over but under pension age and
  • You are not entitled in your own right to claim Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance and are not in a couple entitled to a joint claim for Jobseekers Allowance and
  • You are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and
  • Satisfy the rules for Contributory Employment & Support Allowance or Income Related Employment & Support Allowance.

You can also Employment & Support Allowance if you are a member of a couple and both of you are entitled to make a claim for Income Related Employment & Support Allowance. If this is the case and one of you is more likely to be assessed as having limited capability for work, then that member should make the joint claim.

What we can do for you

  • We aim to assist you in completing the claim form for Employment & Support Allowance, known as an ESA50 claim form.
  • We aim to accompany those who we have completed claim forms to the Work Capability Assessment.
  • We aim to provide advice and assistance to those who have received a negative decision on their ESA claims which include:
    • Failure to return the ESA50 claim questionnaire
    • Failure to attend a medical assessment
    • Failed medical assessment
    • Being put in the work-related activity group and not the support group
    • Sanctions
    • Right to reside
    • Overpayments
    • Alleged cohabitation (living together decisions)
    • Alleged capital