Just a technical question about ESA really. I am on JSA at the moment but I think I should maybe be on ESA but I'm not sure.

Just looking for some general info and people's experience with it


I know only a little about this, but as no one else has answered... (!)


ESA is for people who are currently unable to work. There are two levels: work-related and support group (or words to that effect). The work group have to reapply after 12 months and have to attend interviews and stuff like that. The support group is for people who are unable to work; it's the equivalent of the old Incapacity Benefit I think, and people in this group aren't expected to look for work.


The process is full of loopholes and can be very unpleasant. I've helped one friend to complete the forms and get into the support group, but he was put into the work group at first even though I had made 100% sure that the answers we put would put him straight into the support group. Very naively, we didn't include supporting letters from medical professionals (they aren't asked for, but I should have known better!). Anyway, we filled in the appeals form and attached letters and he was moved into the support group without any more hassle. The moral of that story is that you have to get supporting documents from your neuro/GP/nurse/physio/OT...


The questionnaire is apparently straightforward, but it is not. There are loads of extra criteria that the assessors use, but that they don't tell you about. I suggest you joint the benefitsandwork website to get the inside story. (That's what I did.)


You may have to attend a medical. I don't know anything about this as I haven't had one, but I've read loads of horror stories on here and elsewhere. The benefitsandwork website will fill you in on it though, I think.


If you are rejected, you have to appeal and possibly go to tribunal. The whole process can take months :-(


I'm sure I'll have missed stuff, and probably have got things wrong(!), but I hth.

Karen x

If you are not fit to work then the benefit you need is ESA.

Applying for ESA is not easy. There is a great website, Benefits and Work which has lots of info and help. It cost about £20.00 to join but is well worth it.
They have an ESA test that you could take as a guide to your eligibility. You don't have to join to take the test.

It would take ages for me to type all the details of ESA and the pitfalls so it would be better if you read up about it at Benefits and Work or and then asked specific questions if you have any.

I'm sorry to be lazy but my fatigue is not good today and lots of typing will finih me off.



Thank you for taking the time to reply. Very helpful info Karen. If you are in the work group does that mean you can work part-time hours? I am in the position where I can do some work but would likely struggle with full time hours.


Thanks again x



No not really. There is something called “permitted work” which is a very woolly area but it doesn’t mean that you can work part time.

If you are able to work (even part time) you will probably not get ESA because it is unlikely that you will get the required points. The Work Related Group is for people who are currently unfit but may be able to return to the grindstone in the future. It’s an ironic one for pwMS because we don’t expect to get better in the way someone with an injury or who has had corrective surgery would and yet MSers are still put in the work Related Group.

If you feel that part time work is a possibility I would suggest that you look into Working Tax Credits.They are a way to top up part time earnings. If you are disabled you need only work 16 hours per week.
However if you are part of a couple and your partner works you will probably not be eligible.
Take a look at