ESA Support Group Help

Hi all,

I have secondary progressive MS & have been placed in the support group for ESA for the last 6 months (which, believe me, was a real battle!)

Anyway, I got a letter today from the Job Centre asking my wife to go and find work. However, my wife works 24hrs per week. We are terrified that there has been confusion (even though we always stated that my wife worked).

Can anyone clarify what the eligibility is for support group esa? Are we entitled to it if my wife works? What is the criteria?

thanks folks! X

Hi Tomcat

There are a few online benefits calculators which may help:


Also the Citizens Advice Bureau would be able to help.

It depends on the type of ESA. If you are on contribution based ESA based on National Insurance contributions it doesn’t matter if your wife works or not because it is not means tested. Being in the support group means that if you start on contribution based ESA you stay on it beyond the 12 month limit imposed on people in the WRAG. If however you are on income based ESA then all the money coming into the household is considered, partners earnings, savings etc. if your income is too high then you would not be paid any money although you would still be technically eligible for ESA.

How to know if you are on contribution or income based? It should have said on your original award letter but who keeps them? What were your circumstances prior to getting ESA? did you go straight onto it from a long period of full time work? If so you are likely on contribution based. But the fact that you mention telling them that your wife works gives me pause, they would have no reason to ask about your partners circumstances if they were basing your eligibility on NI.

As Lenney suggests CAB will be able to give you clarification.


Just give the job centre a ring and ask if they realise that your wife works 24 hours a week.

Quite often the they will just have a chat on the phone. It sounds as if your wife is included in your claim which means they are required to attend or have a chat over the phone.