Why has my ESA not been paid? (4 reasons why)

In this blog post, we talked about the reason why has your ESA not been paid and what you should do in each case in order to get your payments back. 

Reasons why your ESA has not been paid

ESA is paid every two weeks into a bank, building society or credit union account. 

There may be a number of reasons why you have not received your benefit (s) payment (or they have been reduced or stopped).

These could include:

  • You have been sanctioned
  • You made a mistake when applying
  • DWP have made a mistake when processing
  • You or a member of your family have been admitted to hospital
  1. If you have been sanctioned

There may be a number of different reasons why you have had your benefits sanctioned.

Benefit sanctions can be applied to Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Universal Credit.

Each person who receives one of these benefits will have either signed a claimant commitment contract OR will have had their activities recorded in a Job Seekers Agreement.

If it is decided an individual is not fulfilling the tasks they agreed to then they could face being sanctioned.

If you have been sanctioned it is imperative that you plan your income and expenditure so you can ensure you can still meet essential payments.

You should make a list of all outgoings and the date on which you need to pay them.

If possible, try and make savings and look for better deals where available. Focus on being able to pay essentials such as rent, energy and food. 

If you are concerned about falling behind with payments it is always best to speak to the person/organisation with which you owe the money to.

For example, if you think you won’t be able to afford your rent, tell your Landlord in advance, rather than getting into arrears without letting him/her know.

Equally, speak to your energy provider if you are struggling to pay your bill, as they have processes in place to deal with customers in a similar situation.

You can get more support and advice at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

How to appeal a benefit sanction

If you feel the decision to sanction your benefit was unfair you have the right to ask JobCentre Plus to reconsider their decision. 

  • You feel they should not have sanctioned you
  • You feel you have received the incorrect level of sanction
  • You feel they have miscalculated the reduction amount
  • You feel they have reduced your benefit for the wrong length of time

This step is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration, read more about Mandatory Reconsideration for ESA here.

How to avoid being sanctioned

Being sanctioned can bring additional financial hardship so it is best to try and avoid this occurring, to begin with.

Here are some tips to help avoid benefit sanctions:

  • If you cannot make an appointment, give notice as soon as you can
  • Keep a diary of all benefit related activities
  • Tell the JobCentre if you cannot fulfil any required tasks
  • Keep a copy of all paperwork you are sent in relation to benefit claims
  1. You made a mistake when applying

If you think the reason you have not received your benefit payment was because you made a mistake when applying you should contact the DWP immediately.

Incorrect details such as submitting the wrong bank details could result in you not receiving your benefit payment (s).

You should also contact the DWP immediately if you believe you are receiving too much or too little with regard to each benefit you are claiming.

  1. DWP made a mistake when processing

If you believe you are not getting your benefit payment because the DWP have made a mistake then you should contact them without delay.

If there is a reason why you are not receiving your payment (such as being sanctioned or losing an appeal) then the DWP will always give written notification of this.

  1. You or a family member have been admitted to hospital

In most cases if you have been in hospital for more than 28 days you will stop receiving payments for the following benefits:

Although there are some exceptions, check with the relevant department of the DWP.

There are also a number of benefits that will continue even whilst you are in hospital. 

These include:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Basic State Pension
  • New State Pension
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay

Those who claim contributions based Employment and Support Allowance will get payments for up to 12 months.

Those who claim contributions based Jobseeker’s Allowance will find it stops after two weeks or more of not being able to look for employment – but you could instead potentially claim ESA if this is the case.

Those who claim Child Benefit will see their payments stopping if their dependent child is hospitalised for more than 84 days.

What to do if your ESA has not been paid?

If you are facing financial hardship due to not receiving a benefit payment (even if they have been stopped), then you can apply for Emergency Assistance.

If you require emergency financial assistance there are a number of options open to you, depending on your individual situation. 

Here are some of the options open to anyone seeking emergency financial assistance:

  • Hardship Payments
  • Short-Term Advance Payments
  • Budgeting Loans
  • Local Welfare Assistance
  • Food Banks

Here is a list of Charities that can help in times of financial hardship


  • Shelter
  • Crisis
  • Homeless Link
  • Emmaus
  • Mungos
  • Barnardos


  • MyMoneySteps
  • StepChange
  • National Debtline
  • Debt Support Trust
  • Debt Advice Foundation
  • The Money Charity
  • Mental health
  • Mind
  • The Samaritans
  • Rethink
  • Heads Together
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Sane
  • Young Minds

Your local council may be able to help in times of emergency, for example, if you have been injured or you have a disability. They can also help carers.

You may also want to seek their help if you have experienced a fire, flooding, or domestic violence.

If your ESA has not been paid You need to ring ESA ASAP, where they should be able to sort it out for you with or without the need for a call back from them :

THE ESA PHONE NUMBER DWP: 0345 608 8545 Press Option 3 for ESA. (Open 8 AM-6 PM. Mon-Fri.)


There could be lots of reasons why they haven’t paid you your money, or it could even be your bank just being later than usually paying you.

Payments made on a Saturday are only usually made on that day because your bank has processed the payment earlier than they should and the payment day should be a Monday.

If you have been found fit for work then payments can be stopped before a letter is received, as is often the case. 

If your ESA has been stopped because you failed a medical assessment you will either need to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance or make an appeal.

FAQ about ESA not been paid

Can your ESA be stopped without notice?

ometimes yes, your ESA can be stopped without notice.

This may happen if the DWP needs further evidence regarding your case.

You shall be informed of what is the reason for stopping your payments. 

What time do ESA payments go into bank?

ESA payments go into the bank at midnight, or in the early hours following.

But these 
Depends on which bank you are with. 

What happens when my ESA stops?

When you ESA stops the DWP will usually tell the council and the council may stop your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.

This is because they might think you’ve got other income now, for example, that you might have started a job.

Can I claim ESA if I am on half-pay?

Yes, you can claim if you are getting half-pay. In this case, you will be entitled to contribution-based ESA or new style ESA if in a full-service Universal Credit area.

Any money paid by employer due to illness is disregarded.

Can I get benefits if I leave my job due to ill health?

If you leave your job due to ill health, you could claim employment and support allowance.

You could also claim housing benefit to help with your rent.

Being too ill to work will usually be accepted as a good reason for claiming ESA.

Will my ESA go up if I get PIP?

No, your ESA will not go up or be affected in any way by your PIP award.

PIP is a totally different “Benefit”, and it is not liable to Tax, nor is it classed as income for the purposes of a means test for Income Related (IR) ESA of other IR benefits.


  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. Providing Employment Support for People With Long-Term Mental Illness: Choices, Resources, and Practical Strategies
  3. Positive Behavior Supports for Adults with Disabilities in Employment, Community, and Residential Settings
  4. An investigation into errors in Employment and Support Allowance
  5. Guide to Government Benefits: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Disability