ESA: Demand set to rise in light of 2nd lockdown – how to claim for the effects of COVID

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ESA under the new style can be claimed for if a person has been affected by coronavirus. This can include a claimant catching the disease or needing to self-isolate but evidence will need to be presented along with their claim.

New style ESA can be claimed for if a person is not able to get statutory sick pay and one of the following applies:

  • they or their child might have corteronavirus or are recovering from it
  • they or their child are self-isolating because they came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
  • they’ve been advised by their doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery
  • they’ve been advised to ‘shield’ (take extra precautions to reduce contact with others) because they’re at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

If any of these apply, a claimant will need to give evidence to support their claim.

Should the claimant or their child need to self-isolate, they can get an isolation note online from NHS 111 if they’ve been off work for a week or more.

Additionally, a notification from the NHS or other authorities that a claimant has come into contact with someone who has coronavirus also counts as proof.

Letters and instructions from doctors will also help with a claim.

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Most claims for ESA are now put through for the new style and to qualify for it, a claimant must have been working as an employee or been self-employed and paid a certain amount of National Insurance.

Unlike other state benefits, claiming new style ESA will not impact Universal Credit and they can both be received at the same time.

It will not be possible to get ESA if a claimant is already getting (or is entitled to) the severe disability premium.

Demand for new style ESA could rise in the coming weeks as coronavirus cases rose in England recently, forcing the government to place the country into a second lockdown.

On October 31, Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown would be introduced in England this month, forcing workers across the country to stay at home and potentially see their income affected.

As the Prime Minister detailed: “And so now is the time to take action because there is no alternative. From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home.

“You may only leave home for specific reasons, including: For education; For work, say if you cannot work from home; For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household; For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; To shop for food and essentials; And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

“I’m afraid non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed – though click and collect services can continue and essential shops will remain open, so there is no need to stock up. Pubs, bars, restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery services.

“Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.”

For those who will need to apply for ESA as a result of these rules, they’ll receive payments of up to £74.35 or £113.55 per week.

This could be on top of Universal Credit payments which can stretch into several hundred pounds a month.

To put through an initial claim online, applicants will need any relevant information on how coronavirus has impacted them as well as:

  • their National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society account details
  • Doctor’s details
  • Details on income if they’re working
  • The date the claimant’s statutory sick pay ends if they’re claiming it

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