Welfare News - Permitted work for those in receipt of ESA

29th July 2015

Did you know that even though you receive Employment Support Allowance (ESA), you can apply to do permitted work and earn extra income? 

There are certain types of work that an ESA claimant can do that will not result in her/him being treated as capable of work.  One of these categories is “exempt work.”

Exempt work is work that can be done without affecting entitlement to ESA. The categories of exempt work include:-

• permitted work (see next paragraph)

• work done whilst test trading as aself-employed earner

• work for which the claimant gets no earnings for a charity, voluntary organisation or as a volunteer

• work done on a government-approved work placement. A work-placement is practical work experience with an employer which is neither paid nor done in expectation of payment.

Permitted work

Permitted work is work that can be done without affecting entitlement to ESA. It can be work of any kind but is subject to certain restrictions.  The two key things with permitted work is that you must work less than 16 hours per week, and your earnings must not be any more than £104 per week nett (it may increase in October 2015).  The work can be for an employer or net profit if self-employed. 

Some ESA claimants may be concerned that permitted work may affect their ESA claim, but the Decision Maker will not take into account permitted work when a case is reassessed under the work capability test.  Nor is information on permitted work passed to Medical Services.  It is kept completely separate- which is reassuring for clients. In fact the office which deals with “Permitted work” is separate from the ESA Department.  Also permitted work earnings are ignored as income for the purposes of income based benefits including income based ESA, and Housing Benefit. 

Work with nett earnings up to £104 p/w nett is limited to 52 weeks for those in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA but there is no time limit for those in the Support Group. There is no time limit for earnings of up to £20 per week under the permitted work rules.  Trying out work with a disability is a challenge but can be therapeutic and a valuable tester or  stepping stone back to work.

Interested?  Contact Annette at WAVE at 02837511599 for more information or telephone the Permitted Work Tea m 028-95605013, who will send you a form to complete about details of work start date and hours and earnings.  You must do this before starting any type of work.