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If you are too ill to work or are self-isolating and do not qualify for Sick Pay (for example because you are self-employed or your income is below £118/week) you may be eligible for contributory Employment & Support Allowance (sometimes called "new-style" ESA).
In order to qualify, you will need to have paid sufficient National Insurance (N.I.) contributions in the financial years 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 and 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. During this period you will have needed to have worked and paid Class 1 or Class 2 contributions in one of the years AND have paid, or been credited, 50 weeks worth of contributions over the two years.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is usually paid at the rate of £73.10/week.
You can receive contributory ESA even if you have a partner who is working or if you have savings over £16,000.
If you think you may be eligible you should claim as soon as possible as your award will date from the day of your claim. There are special rules relating to Covid 19 outbreak which means you won’t need to have a Work Capability Assessment to qualify for support. Depending on your household income, you may be able to receive Universal Credit and Council Tax Support (or Rate Rebate in Northern Ireland) in addition to ESA. You can use the Benefits Calculator to see if this is the case.
More information here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-and-benefits.
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