Call 0843 504 7178 to speak to an ESA advisor about an existing benefit claim, or call 08000 55 66 88 to make a new claim.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a state benefit that was introduced in 2008 to replace Incapacity Benefit. The main difference between ESA and the old benefit is that there is more of a focus on the claimant coming off benefits and moving into part-time or full-time work.
Since its introduction in 2008, the ESA allowance has attracted a lot of controversy. One of the reasons it is controversial is that after 13 weeks each recipient must undertake a medical assessment with ATOS, who are private contractors. ATOS have become famous for reversing the decisions of doctors who have declared people unfit for work. Their decisions to disallow continued ESA payments to certain ex-servicemen and women has attracted much public outcry.
Once a person has been declared as unfit for work by their GP they will receive basic payment of ESA for a period of 13 weeks until their assessment with ATOS. The basic ESA allowance is currently £71.20 (as of December 2014). If ATOS decide to approve the claimant’s continued receipt of ESA, the recipient will either continue with the basic allowance or, if they are deemed fit for some type of employment, they will receive an extra £28.45 and be placed in the work-related activity group.
Therefore, the highest rate of ESA is currently £99.68 weekly and the allowance is usually paid each fortnight directly into the recipient’s bank account.
A report in The Guardian, on the 30th October 2014, states that ESA rates may be cut by as much as £30 pounds next year: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/30/cuts-employment-support-allowance-papers-jobseekers-allowance
In order to cut back on spending, the government has removed phones from many job centres, therefore claimants have to call from their own landlines and mobile phones. This can be an expensive procedure for claimants due to long waiting times.
ESA Contact Details
The following helplines are staffed Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (UK time).
English: 0843 504 7178 / 0800 055 6688
You can speak to a customer service advisor in English by phoning this number.
Welsh: 0800 012 1888
If your primary language is Welsh then you can call the number above instead.
Write a letter
If writing a letter to the government about ESA – there is no central ESA correspondence address, however you can find out the address of your local job centre by calling a number above. SImilarly, there is no single ESA email address therefore please find the details of your local jobcentre via the numbers above or on the Jobcentre Plus website: https://www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus