ESA is a benefit for people who have a health condition which means they would struggle to work.
Universal Credit is replacing Income-Related ESA. This means that it is no longer possible for most people to make a new claim for Income-Related ESA (with the exception of claimants with 3 or more children who make their claim before 1.2.19 and claimants who are subject to the Severe Disability Premium ’gateway condition’ from 16.1.19 onwards).
Contributory ESA is not being replaced by Universal Credit. It is still possible to make a claim for Contributory ESA.
Anyone making a new claim will need a fit note (ie sick note) from their GP, but the DWP apply their own test, called the Work Capability Assessment, to determine whether someone will remain on ESA.
Most claimants who are already receiving ESA will need to have review medical assessments, to check that they still fit the criteria for their award to continue / continue at the existing rate.
Find out more about the Work Capability Assessment by clicking on the links below.