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Statutory Sick Pay is paid via an employer, which means that self-employed workers aren’t eligible to claim. If you become sick or injured whilst running your business, you might be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), instead. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about ESA.

Who is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for?

ESA is a benefit for anyone who has an illness or injury which restricts their ability to work. The good news for self-employed workers is that receiving ESA doesn’t have to mean putting your business on hold.

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If your illness allows you to continue work, but restricts or reduces your ability to do so, you may still be eligible.

I’m self-employed. Am I eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

You may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you work for yourself. Self-employed workers, people working for an employer, and even unemployed people can apply for ESA.

What are the criteria for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

Applicants for ESA must be younger than State Pension age, and over the age of 16. There are some benefits which are not compatible with ESA. If you already get Statutory Sick Pay, or Jobseeker’s Allowance, for example, you will not be able to get ESA at the same time.

Learn more about who is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance>

How do I apply for Employment and Support Allowance?

Applying for ESA starts with completing a form, and attending a New Claim Appointment at your nearest Jobcentre. The form, with the rather catchy name NSESAF1, can be downloaded through the GOV.UK site.

If your health condition makes it difficult or impossible to travel for an appointment, let your local Jobcentre know! Find your nearest job centre using the local office search tool on the Department for Work & Pensions website.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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