I claim ESA, and have done for the past three and half months.
Its basically for people who do not get SSP (like you), and it can be income related. So, as I dont get SSP from my job (as Im self employed), I am entitled to it. I am a single parent, so my daughter and I were really in dire straights financially when I applied for it. I phoned them up, and about 3 weeks later it was granted, and the money was in the bank (Phew!!). It gets paid to me on a Tuesday every other week. I get £71 a week as its income related (and I am very poor at the moment!!). I have to send in sick certs every month so need to see the dr to get them (which is fine as I seem to be at the drs every week at the moment!). My dr has now signed me off for two months (until I see neuro for diagnosis).
Its easy to apply for, so make the call asap. I waited to make the call, but then wondered why as its easy… you basically just answer the questions they ask. Then they send you the form to sign, so check that, sign it and send it back quickly. About 2 weeks later money was in the bank
Its a horrible time for us all who are having tests, seeing neuros, waiting for diagnosis, and worrying about money is something we shouldnt do. The money I get is hardly enough to live on, but when you get ESA, you should also be eligible to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, which should also take some presuure off you. My daughter and I are now in a situation where we have to be really careful with money, but we are surviving and eating well etc.
I have never claimed anything before, and it does feel strange being dependant on the Government, but as the only earner (my daughter is at school still) we would be starving and homeless without these benefits - ESA, HB and CTB. So while I dont like claiming, I feel that as I am actually ill (rather than people who claim and are fine!) I will claim everything I am entitled to, and I try not to feel horrible about it. I have also put in a claim for Disability Living Allowance now (as my GP told me to!).
Hopefully that helps Sam Good luck