Can I do any work while on higher rate ESA? — Scope | Disability forum
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Can I do any work while on higher rate ESA?

Pegs11 Member Posts: 1 Listener
Hi, been struggling to find the info I need online... hope someone here can help me. 

I’m on higher rate ESA, as I was judged to be unable to work now (and likely not in the foreseeable future).

However, recently I have started new treatment, which is allowing me a little more energy and dexterity. I have always been an industrious person, and I would like to try and do a little bit of work from home, maybe set up my own little cottage industry (I have put together a business plan).

I foresee myself only being able to manage a few hours (maybe 5-10 hours a week) and the work would be done only when I feel up to it. It might not work out, I might find it’s too much for me... But I really want to give it a go. Maybe I will continue to improve and eventually have a sustainable business/ be able to come off my benefits. (That’s what I’d like to happen... I would really like to be able to support myself.)

I am wondering if DWP will support me as I have a go at doing this, and continue to pay my higher rate ESA. I am very worried that they will immediately move me off higher rate ESA the minute I try to do a bit of work (and I’m not entitled to any other type of employment support as my husband works).

I can’t afford to come off my benefits for the sake of a tiny bit of work from home... I can’t foresee myself earning more than about £50-£100 a month from it. 

I’m scared to even mention the idea of it to DWP, as I just don’t know how they will receive it.

Does anyone know the answer to this? In short... is there any permitted work I can do while receiving HIGHER RATE employment support allowance...?

Thank you! 


  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,234 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there 

    I presume you mean you are in the support group 

    There is permitted work in  this group no more than 16 hours per week and earnings less than £143 per week  (2020) 

    You must inform dwp of your intention to work 

    Also bear in mind this could trigger a reassessment though they can reassess at any time 
    Here to help with my experience in hunan resources and employment rights 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,994 Disability Gamechanger
    Guidance to support what janer has said is here
    Permitted work: factsheet - GOV.UK (

    If the work you do contradicts the reason you have been put in Support group that could prompt an earlier reassessment.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 5,996

    Scope community team

    Welcome to the community @Pegs11 :) I hope that the above replies have been helpful. Please do let us know if you have any further questions.

    Just to let you know, I've moved your post into our ESA category.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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