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Getting your ESA decision after the assessment

This advice applies to England

After your assessment, someone from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will look at the recommendation made by the assessor and use it to decide if you can get ESA.

It can take several weeks or months for the DWP to make a decision. If you haven't heard anything after 8 weeks, you could contact them to ask why you haven't had a decision letter yet.

If you’re going to get ESA, you’ll be put into one of these 2 groups:

  • the work-related activity group (WRAG) - this means that to keep getting ESA, you’ll have to do work-related activity like go to meetings with work advisers or group sessions to help improve your chances of getting work in future
  • the support group - this means you won’t have to do any work-related activity to keep getting your ESA

You’ll get this information when the DWP writes to you with the result of your claim. This is called a decision letter.

You can find out more about the two groups and what to do if you think you’ve been put into the wrong group.

ESA rates after getting your decision

Once you’ve been assessed, your ESA payment should increase from the assessment rate to the full rate. There are different rates of ESA, depending on:

  • which group you’re put into
  • whether you get income-related ESA and qualify for an additional premium
ESA groups and amounts paidContribution-based ESA Income-related ESA
Support group £111.65 up to £111.65
Work-related activity group £73.10 up to £73.10

Read more about ESA rates and premiums.

How long you get ESA for

If you’re in the work-related activity group and get contribution-based ESA, you’ll only get it for up to a year. This includes time before your medical assessment. If your disability or illness gets worse and you would qualify for the support group, you can ask the DWP to re-assess you even after the year’s finished.

If you’re in the support group or getting income-related ESA, your claim will be ongoing.

Find out more about the ESA groups.

The DWP will usually re-assess your ability to work every 1, 2 or 3 years to make sure you’re still not fit to work.

If you’re in the support group, the DWP might decide they won’t need to re-assess you in future - they’ll tell you in the decision letter they send you. They’ll only do this if your condition’s unlikely to improve much in the future, and this means you’ll always be in the support group.

If you disagree with the DWP's decision

If you disagree with the decision in your letter, you can ask for it to be looked at again. This is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. You need to ask for this within a month of getting your decision letter. If you miss the deadline, you can make a late request, but you have to show that you had a good reason for being late.

We can help you understand what a mandatory reconsideration is and how to ask for one.

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