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Sickness benefits

What you can claim for if you are ill or disabled

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You can apply for it whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

Universal Credit is replacing most means-tested benefits.

You can find out more on our Universal Credit page.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA offers financial support if you're ill or disabled and unable to work.

There are two types of ESA:

  • contribution-based ESA (usually you'll get this if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions)
  • means tested ESA (usually you'll get this if you have a low income)

Whilst on ESA you won't have to actively seek work. However, you may have to take part in work preparation activities, and you could be sanctioned if you don't.

Means tested ESA is being replaced with Universal Credit.

For more information see Employment and Support Allowance on GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you're an employee and too ill to work you may get SSP. It's paid by your employer and can be paid for up to 28 weeks.

For more information see Statutory Sick Pay on GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Other benefits

You may also be entitled to: