Can I apply for ESA while in work? If I leave work, can I claim it? — Scope | Disability forum
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Can I apply for ESA while in work? If I leave work, can I claim it?

Broreb1981 Member Posts: 10 Listener
I work 35 hours a week in a very stressful office job. I have schizoaffective disorder and fibromyalgia. I get both components of pip. But I don't think I can carry on working anymore. How does ESA work. Can I apply while in work. Do I have to go on the sick. If I leave work then can I try to claim it. 


  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 5,314 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2021
    You cannot apply for ESA if you are working. If you obtain a Fit Note from your GP and present this to your employer (keep a copy) you will then go on sick leave, Your employer will have to pay you Statutory Sick Pay for 28 weeks (your contract may entitle you to additional occupational  sick pay). You cannot receive ESA until this period of SSP entitlement has ended or you leave your job. 

    You may however be able to receive Universal Credit while on sick leave. If you have a partner you would both have to claim and cannot claim If you have savings over £16,000. You can assess entitlement using a benefit calculator If claiming UC you should declare a health condition and provide a Fit Note. You will then have a Work Capability Assessment.

    There is lots of information on both ESA and UC on the Citizens Advice website
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • charlie79
    charlie79 Member Posts: 239 Pioneering
    If its UC element your claiming for you cant have more than £4,000 in savings. Its the old style benefits which was £16,000. The old style does not exist and claimants on this like myself are waiting to be migrated by the DWP onto new style benefits. I would definitely contact the Citizens advice who can advise what steps to take
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Hi @charlie79, this isn't quite accurate. For UC and legacy benefits (with the exception of tax credits) the savings/capital limit is £16,000. If you have over £6,000 and under £16,000 you can still claim UC but there is a deduction based on the assumed yield of your savings. 
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  • Broreb1981
    Broreb1981 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    If I quit work because I can no longer cope can I clain esa straight away
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,288 Disability Gamechanger

    If you quit work this could affect your eligibility to claim certain benefits 

    I would never advise anyone to just quit on medical grounds but to follow the company policy for long term ill health 

    You could be missing out on company sick pay and any compensation they may have in place for dismissal on medical grounds 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,270 Disability Gamechanger
    You could, but as Statuary Sick Pay (SSP) is more than ESA (until you have an assessment, which may increase the amount), it's better to go the sick leave route. You can put in a claim for ESA  up to 12 weeks before your SSP ends, but as mentioned above you cannot get SSP & ESA at the same time, rather after your SSP has ended. Please see:

  • Broreb1981
    Broreb1981 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    If you work in the support group it's says you can earn £140 is that before or after tax
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 5,314 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s net earnings. Note that the calculation of net earnings may be different to the actual amount received. For ESA purposes net earnings means
    V4027 Net earnings are gross earnings less
    1. income tax and
    2. Class 1 NI contributions and
    3. half of any sum paid by the employee, towards an occupational or personalpension scheme.
    This means that if a deduction is made for pension half of the pension contribution will be counted towards the earnings figure. In most cases there will be no income tax or NI deductions at this level of earnings

    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.


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