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Last updated:
13/11/2017

Am I eligible for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)?

What is the Work Programme?

  1. Overview
  2. What is ESA?
  3. How can I claim?
  4. What is the Work Capability Assessment?
  5. What are the groups of ESA?
  6. What is the Work Programme?
  7. What work am I permitted to do on ESA?
  8. Can I appeal if I think the decision about ESA is wrong?
  9. Next steps

If you have been struggling with mental health issues, the Work Programme is here to provide support to help you get into work. If you are in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), you may have to take part but if you are in the support group, taking part is your choice.

Different organisations run the Work Programme in different areas but these organisations are all called ‘providers’.

If you are going to the Work Programme, you will have meetings with one of these providers to discuss what will help you get into work and you can ask for support with:

  • Basic skills for maths or writing,
  • Confidence building,
  • How to produce a CV, and
  • Managing a mental illness in the workplace.

The provider will know about work and training opportunities in your area. Therefore, they will be in the best possible position to help you.

What will happen if I don’t go to an interview?

If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asks you to go to a work-focused interview or the Work Programme, you have to go. If you don’t, your ESA may be reduced – this is called a sanction.

If you have a good reason for not being able to go to a meeting, make sure that you tell the DWP as soon as you know you will not be able to make it. If you do not tell the DWP about a missed appointment, they will contact you.

You have five working days to tell the DWP by post why you could not go before they reduce your ESA. It can be less than five days if:

  • The DWP can contact you by phone or face to face, or
  • You have agreed to be contacted by text or email.

Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is ESA?
  3. How can I claim?
  4. What is the Work Capability Assessment?
  5. What are the groups of ESA?
  6. What is the Work Programme?
  7. What work am I permitted to do on ESA?
  8. Can I appeal if I think the decision about ESA is wrong?
  9. Next steps

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