Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or are on a low or no income. Universal Credit will replace all benefits such as Job seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and housing benefit. Changes are being gradually introduced into the benefit system.

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is the widely recognised benefit for people of working age, who are out of work, or work less than 16 hours a week on average; JSA is for people who are ready and willing to work.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is the successor of incapacity benefit; it is paid to individuals who have an illness or disability with the aim of supporting them back into work. You may get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if your illness or disability affects your ability to work and you are:

  • under State pension age
  • not getting Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay and you have not gone back to work
  • not getting Jobseeker’s Allowance