Claiming benefits


There are two benefits that you may be eligible to apply for. The first is Universal Credit (UC) and the second is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income or out of work. 

You need to be between 18 (with some exceptions for 16-17 year olds) and the state pension age, in a low income job or out of work and have less than £16,000 in savings between you and your partner.

You’ll get a monthly standard allowance of the following:

• Single and under 25 – £251.77
• Single and 25 or over – £317.82
• In a couple and you’re both under 25 – £395.20 (for you both)
• In a couple and either of you are 25 or over – £498.89 (for you both)

Yes. If you have 1 or 2 children, you’ll get an extra amount for each child.

You’ll get the following: 
• For your first child – £277.08 (born before 6 April 2017) or £231.67 (born on or after 6 April 2017)
• For your second child and any other eligible children – £231.67 per child
• If you have a disabled or severely disabled child, you are entitled to an additional £126.11 or £392.08 

If you need help with childcare costs, UC can cover up to 85% of your costs. Childcare will need to be provided by an ‘approved’ childcare provider, and you will be able to claim up to £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for 2 or more children. However, childcare costs need to be claimed — rather than being provided prior to use — and so you may have to pay childcare costs up front.

If you have 3 or more children, you’ll get an extra amount for at least 2 children. You can only get an extra amount for more children if your children were born before 6 April 2017 AND you were already claiming for 3 or more children before 6 April 2017.

Yes, you could get up to an extra £336.20 a month but you will have to undergo a work capability assessment. 

If you are staying at home on Government advice or have been diagnosed with coronavirus, you will not be sanctioned and your Claimant Commitment will be reviewed to make sure it is still reasonable.

If you are staying at home because you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, your mandatory work search and availability requirements will be removed for the period of sickness.

If you provide care for at least 35 hours a week for a severely disabled person who receives a disability-related benefit you will get an extra £160.20 a month. 

The rules around the minimum income floor will be relaxed for the government determined duration of the outbreak of coronavirus, so you should still try and claim even if you’re not earning. For the duration of the outbreak, the minimum income floor won’t apply to anyone.

If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance.

The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment, and you will have to pay the advance back. If at all possible, it is best to avoid applying for an advance. The repayments are deducted from your future UC payments.

You should report this via the online journal and contact your work coach via your online journal or by calling the Universal Credit helpline

If you are sick or have a disability and cannot attend a reassessment for PIP, ESA or UC, you will continue to receive your payments whilst your assessment is rearranged.

No, not for your period of sickness if you have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

No, you do not need to produce a Fit note. 

You can find more information about Universal Credit here and here.

Employment and Support Allowance

ESA gives you money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work due to a disability or health condition.

While your application is being assessed, which normally takes up to 13 weeks, you’ll get:
• up to £57.90 a week if you’re aged under 25
• up to £73.10 a week if you’re aged 25 or over

Once your application has been assessed you’ll be placed into one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA. If you’re able to get back into work, you’ll be put into the work-related activity group. Otherwise, you’ll be put into the support group.

You’ll get:
• up to £73.10 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group
• up to £111.65 a week if you’re in the support group

You may also be entitled to a Disability Premium payment.

If you’ve paid enough National Insurance Contributions, you might be able to claim new style ESA. If you can claim new style ESA, you’ll get paid from the first day, rather than after eight days.

You can call 0800 328 5644. Translators available.

More info on ESA can be found here.

I can't find an answer to my question


Stay up to date with our latest news, campaigns, trainings and events