Severe Disablement Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance explained

The old Severe Disablement Allowance has been replaced with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for most people. This means that Jobcentre Plus need to access you in order to work out if you’re eligible for ESA or if you’re capable of working.
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State pension age

If you reached retirement age before 6 April 2014, you can’t be re-assessed. If not, Job Centre Plus can access your eligibility. They’ll send you a questionnaire that basically asks about your history of illnesses and disabilities, the sorts of things that affect your ability to complete everyday tasks.

What you have to do

Your first task is to complete the questionnaire and then return it by the deadline. You’ll need to include original medical reports or letters from your doctors that support the information you’re provided in the form. Don’t worry, you’ll get those back. When they receive the paperwork, Jobcentre Plus will access it. They’ll be in touch if they need a face to face meeting with you. This meeting, which is known as the Work Capability Assessment, is mandatory. You won’t get any benefits if you don’t attend.


If the assessment shows that you’re capable of working and you’re already claiming Severe Disablement Allowance, it will stop. If that’s the case, Jobcentre Plus representatives will discuss your options with you. Perhaps you’ll be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or other forms of benefit. Again, this will be accessed by Jobcentre Plus. If the assessment shows that you’re unable to work, you’ll be transferred automatically onto ESA.

The benefit cap

The benefit cap is something you should be aware of. This limits the amount of benefit that most 16 to 64 year olds can claim.

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