Applying for esa — Scope | Disability forum
New to the community? Remember to read our community guidelines and our community house rules.
Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Find out how to let us know.

Applying for esa


Thank you for all your help with my pip application so far.

I am now however confused about esa. My SSP is coming to an end so need to apply for esa. I have always worked constantly through my adult life (apart from these few months on ssp) so should be able to claim contributions based. Is this the best one? Im genuinely confused which is the best as i know one lasts longer. Im not sure the differences and which type is best to try and claim (i dont live in a full UC area either).

I am also confused how it works. I know you get the assessment rate til you get assessed but i dont know when your first payment get paid after you apply. Is it fairly quickly then you stay on that til assessment?

Also how do sick notes work. Do i send one with the application form and keep doing it til assessment (bit like now with the ssp) or do i just send an initial one. If continuous sick notes then do they have to be dated a certain length of time?

Sorry for all the questions i find the whole thing confusing.

Thanks in advance :)


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,876 Disability Gamechanger

    If you're not in a full UC area then it's Contribution based ESA you'll need to claim. CB isn't means tested so any income/savings/capital isn't counted. CB is paid for 365 days unless you're placed into the support group. You can claim over the phone by ringing ESA, the form will be filled in during the call and they will then send you everything in the post. Yes, you'll need fit notes (sick notes) until you're assessment and a decision is made. A claim takes roughly 3 weeks, till your first payment. CB ESA is £73.10 per week, paid fortnightly.

    You'll eventually be sent an ESA50 form, this should be filled in and returned along with all your evidence, no later than the date stated on the letter. Like PIP they rarely contact anyone for evidence so make sure it's sent to support your claim. 

    It will be worth contacting your local CAB for help with filling the ESA50 form in.

    Lots of information about ESA on the citizens advice website. 
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @LittleGizmo86, we wish you the very best of luck with your ESA claim. The information that Poppy has provided is very comprehensive and extremely useful. The Scope website also have a page of information regarding this that you may find useful :)

  • LittleGizmo86
    LittleGizmo86 Member Posts: 79 Courageous
    Thank you @poppy123456 and @Chloe_Scope for your excellent advice and kind words as always.

    I feel a lot more confident with what i am doing now so thank you very much.

    Please can i ask one more thing? Do the sick notes i send in need to be for a specific length of time/say anything specific or does it not matter?

    Thank you again :)
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,876 Disability Gamechanger
    They need to state what's wrong. You'll need to send fit note in until you're assessed and a decision is made, so could be several months depending on backlog in your area. 


Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.

Fancy a chat in our virtual coffee lounge?

Put the kettle on and have a chat in our coffee lounge with other members. We talk about hobbies, games and anything else you can think of!

Cerebral Palsy (CP) Online Cafe

Here's a new opportunity for people with CP or a similar disability (aged 20+) to get together and chat. The sessions are in partnership with CP Sport so you can find out more and meet people from both organisations.

Are you struggling?

Read our 'Coping with stress, low mood and isolation' support thread for a run-down of ideas on how to banish those blues and feel happier.

What do you think about the community?

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community a better space for you.

Information about COVID-19

If you have questions about the virus, please read our information and support which includes guidance on benefits, getting food and essentials and Cerebral Palsy.

Back to school this September?

Read tips on how to settle back in and handle any worries you or your children might be having this new term.

Online employment support

Support to Work is an online and telephone support programme for disabled people who are looking for work.