Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Pause in my ESA whilst abroad

I am claiming income based ESA. I am abroad receiving medical treatment for the condition that I am claiming ESA. For this reason I continue to receive the benefit.

On the 5/07/2018 I would have been abroad (India) for 26 weeks. I am coming back to the UK on the 30/07/2018. 

Should my ESA be stopped or is it possible to pause it ? 
Do I need to make a fresh claim when I come back to the UK?
Is there some underlying entitlement here for ESA which means I can resume the claim when I get home?


  • RSISolutionsRSISolutions Member Posts: 102 Courageous
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Pioneering
    Hi RSISolutions

    You continue to be entitled to  ESA for 26 weeks if you are receiving medical treatment for your ESA condition and your absence abroad is not likely to exceed 52 weeks. 

    As far as I can tell, your claim would then be closed and you would have to reclaim either income - related ESA or universal credit (UC) upon your return, depending upon whether the geographical area you return to has become a full service UC area meanwhile.   

    The exception would be if you are getting NHS treatment abroad, when you can be paid as long as the treatment lasts. 

    You could write to or phone the ESA department and ask whether they can keep your claim open, if this is better for you. Please let me know if this turns out to be possible  - it would add to my knowledge, if it can be done. (I think it can't be done because I think this is about entitlement as opposed to payability; payability can be withdrawn without entitlement ending, but the wording i have seen talks about entitlement). 

  • RSISolutionsRSISolutions Member Posts: 102 Courageous
    I have been on the phone to the DWP. I spoke to them about your point above However, they say the claim has to be closed because I am still abroad but when I get back to the UK I can ring them up again and do a 'Rapid Reclaim' to speed up the process of signing on again. Thank you. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Pioneering
    Hi RSISolutions

    Right, but I don't think that you can do a rapid reclaim of income-related benefit when you return to a full service Universal Credit  (UC) area. 

    IF UC is already installed in your geographical area of the UK, then I think your ESA claim will have stopped and can't be restarted. 


    It is different for contributory ESA however, and this can still be claimed in a  full service UC area.  


  • RSISolutionsRSISolutions Member Posts: 102 Courageous
    Hi. Thanks for this. I checked your link and UC doesn't start in my area until October 2018.
    I am on income based ESA. How long do I have after returning home to start the ''Rapid Reclaim'? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Rapid reclaim is within 12 weeks.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
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