'New Style' Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA if you’re unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay and one of the following applies to you (or your child):

  • You might have coronavirus or you’re recovering from it
  • You are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
  • You’ve been advised by your doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery
  • You’ve been advised to ‘shield’ because you’re a vulnerable person or at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

From the start of your claim, you will be treated as having limited capability for work. You will need to give evidence to support your claim. Once your application has gone through, expect to be contacted by telephone where you will be told when to give the evidence and where to send it.

Proof if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus

If, due to coronavirus, you or your child are self-isolating and you cannot work because of this, you can get an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111 if you’ve been off work for 7 or more days. You do not have to go to your doctor or a hospital.

If you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus, your notification is proof.

If you are going into hospital for a surgery, and have been advise by your doctor to self-isolate beforehand, your letter confirming the date of your procedure is proof.

Proof if you’re shielding because of coronavirus

If you are an individual that is shielding, then you should receive a letter from your doctor/health authority if both or one of the following applies to you:

  • You live in an area with localised restrictions that include advice to shield
  • You’ve been advised to shield (take extra precautions to reduce contact with others) because you’re a vulnerable person/very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

You should contact your doctor if you do not have a letter but think you should have one.

The letter will include the period you or your child should shield for. This is proof your eligibility for ESA for days away from work in that period.

Please note: you may get more than one letter covering more than one shielding period.

If you work, but do not live, in an area with local restrictions that include advice to shield, you can apply for a shielding note if all of the following are true:

  • You cannot work from home or anywhere else outside of the area with local restrictions
  • You’ve previously been advised to shield (take extra precautions to reduce contact with others) because you’re a vulnerable person/very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
  • Your shielding note will be valid for 3 weeks from the date you apply. If the note expires and you still need to shield, you’ll need to apply for another note.

Please note: your shielding note will no longer be valid if local restrictions are lifted in the area you work in.