The ESA assessment rate (Guide)

The ESA assessment rate

In this blog post, titled “The ESA assessment rate” we are going to find out what are the ESA rates both the work-related activity group and the support group.

What is an ESA assessment

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An ESA assessment is a medical evaluation carried out by a Healthcare professional, that will look at the effects of any health condition or disability on your ability to carry out a range of everyday activities. 

In order to get an ESA assessment, you have to check for what type of ESA you are eligible for.

Currently, the is the “New Style ESA” and the “Income-related ESA and contribution-based ESA”. 

The New style ESA

To be eligible for the “new style ESA” you need to have both worked as an employee or been self-employed, and paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years.

You have to have a health condition that makes it difficult or impossible to work and you’re not old enough to get the State Pension.

In the case where you are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium (SDP), you are not eligible and you will not be awarded the “New-Style” ESA.

It is similar if you are already claiming Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

To be eligible for Income-related ESA you should not still be receiving the benefit for a severe disability premium (SDP).

You can claim Income-related ESA instead of SDP or Universal Credit.

The condition is to claim Income-related ESA within a month of your old benefit stopping. 

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:

  • Money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work
  • Support to get back into work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

How much is the ESA rate

After your ESA assessment, someone from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will look at the recommendation made by the healthcare assessor and use it to decide if you are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance.

Truth is, it can take several weeks or months before you receive an official letter with the  DWP’s decision.

So if you haven’t heard from them, don’t worry too much.

You could always call them and ask how much more time is it going to take, but don’t expect an exact answer.  

ESA rates during the assessment stage

If you’re claiming ESA after being found fit for work

If you are claiming ESA after being found fit for work, your ESA payments will be stopped firsthand.

Unless you can prove your condition got worse, you will not be entitled to ESA.

If you haven’t been found fit for work before

  • If you have not been found fit for work and you are aged 25 or over, during the assessment stage you will receive up to  £73.10 per week. 
  • If you’re aged 24 or less, you’ll get up to £57.90 per week. 
  • If you’re a carer or have a severe disability, you could get an extra amount (called a premium).
  • If you apply for income-related ESA and you’re in a couple, the standard amount you’ll get will be £114.85. If you’re in a couple and one of you is under 18 you’ll get less than the standard amount for couples aged over 18.

What might affect your ESA rate

What might affect your ESA rate is a private pension worth more than £85 per week may affect how much you can get, as well as your household income and savings worth £6,000 or more. 

You also have to take into consideration your savings or your partner’s income.

These will affect how much ‘new style’ ESA or contribution-based ESA you’re paid.

The decision letter – You are going to get ESA

People who get ESA are part of either: 

  1. The work-related activity group (WRAG)

If you are placed in the WRAG, it means that work-related activities like going to meetings with work advisers or group sessions to help improve your chances of getting work in future are mandatory if you wish to continue getting ESA payments.

  1. The support group 

If you are placed in the Support group,  work-related activity is not mandatory to keep getting your ESA.

Your payments will be ongoing. 

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

How will you be paid

In most cases, ESA is paid every 2 weeks.

All benefits are paid as electronic transfers into the claimant’s bank, building society or credit union account.

How long you get ESA for

How long you get ESA for depends on a series of factors.

First,  it matters if you are in the work-related activity group and get contribution-based ESA or if you were placed in the support group. 

If you are in the WRAG you will get ESA payments up to a year.

After a year, you will be reassessed and the decision-maker will decide whether you should be still receiving ESA.

If your disability gets worse and you would qualify for the support group, you will be put in the support group and will receive ESA as an ongoing payment.

If you’re in the support group or getting income-related ESA, your award payments will be ongoing.

Besides, the DWP might decide they won’t need to re-assess you in the future, like they reassessed the claimants in the WRAG. 

The DWP will let you know what their decision is through an official letter.

If your condition is unlikely to improve, you will be placed and remain in the support group.  

What to do If you disagree with the DWP?

If you disagree with the decision maker, you should apply for a “mandatory reconsideration”.

This is your opportunity to have the decision looked again and provide more and better evidence that sustains your case.

A mandatory reconsideration should be asked for within a month of the official decision letter.

Try not to exceed this deadline, as the DWP has the right to reject you request if you don’t have a good reason for being late. 


In this blog post, titled “The ESA assessment rate” we showed you what could be the rates for both the work-related activity group and the support group.

Before applying for ESA, remember to check what type of Employment and Support Allowance you are eligible for. 

Also, pay attention to what might affect your ESA rate, like monthly pension, that you might not think it’s that important. 

Do you have any insights you could give us in the ESA assessment procedure, rates, working while you claim or other tips?

Let them in the comment section below.

We’d be happy if you would like to share this information with us. 

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FAQ about ESA assessments

How much is ESA after an assessment?

After you’re assessed for ESA, you can get up to £73.10 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group.

Or up to £111.65 a week if you’re in the support group.

How often are ESA assessments?

ESA assessments are repeating every 1, 2 of 3 years.

The goal is to re-assess your abilities and make sure you are still not fit to work.

If you are in the support group or getting income-related ESA, however, your claim will be ongoing. 

How many points do you need to be in the support group for ESA?

In order to be in the support group for ESA, you have to score 15 points or more.

In this case, you are thought to have limited capability for work and are entitled to ESA.

How long does support group ESA last?

ESA support group lasts over one year, this being the time limit on payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people in the Work-Related Activity Group.

What qualifies you for the ESA support group?

To qualify for ESA Support Group people have to be severely ill or disabled, as it is unreasonable to require them to engage in work-related activity as a condition for receiving ESA.

Support Group customers will have periodical medical assessment reviews (every three years at a maximum).

What is considered a severe disability?

A severe disability refers to a deficit in one or more areas of functioning that significantly limits an individual’s performance of major life activities.


  1. Employment and Support Allowance: A Guide to ESA for People with a Disability or Long Term Health Condition, Their Families, Carers and Advisors 
  2. Positive Behavior Supports for Adults with Disabilities in Employment, Community, and Residential Settings
  3. Providing Employment Support for People With Long-Term Mental Illness: Choices, Resources, and Practical Strategies
  4. Limited Capability – The Support Group (Social Insecurity Book 5
  5. The Unemployment Guide: How a Setback Can Launch Your Career
  6. Investigation into errors in Employment and Support Allowance


  1. Getting your ESA decision after the assessment – Citizen Advice
  2. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – GOV.UK
  3. How much ESA you can get – Citizen Advice

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