Your applicable amount is worked out by adding together your personal allowances, premiums, the component that applies to you in the main phase and any eligible housing costs. It is usually possible to find out what the new rates will be from the beginning of December. Check the DWP website at gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions for a press release on social security uprating. The rates below are from April 2020.
Your personal allowance is paid at either the single, lone parent or couple rate depending on your situation. The amount depends on your age and whether you are in the assessment phase or the main phase (see here
25 or over
18 or over
Both under 18 (higher rate)
Both under 18 (not eligible for higher rate)
One under 18, one 18 or over (higher rate)
One under 18, one 18–24 (not eligible for higher rate)
One under 18, one 25 or over (not eligible for higher rate)
Both 18 or over
If you are both under 18, you get the higher rate if:
•one of you is responsible for a child; or
•you and your partner would both be eligible to claim income-related ESA if you were single; or
•your partner would qualify for income support (IS) if s/he were single; or
•your partner would qualify for income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) or severe hardship payments of JSA.
If one of you is under 18 and the other is 18 or over, you get the higher rate if the younger partner would:
•qualify for IS or income-related ESA if s/he were single; or
•qualify for income-based JSA or severe hardship payments of JSA.
Qualifying for premiums depends on your circumstances. You can qualify for the following.
You or your partner must have reached pension age (see here
). If you are in a couple and one of you is over pension age and one of you is under pension age, you get £148.40. In the main phase, these amounts are reduced by the amount of the work-related activity component (if applicable) or support component for which you qualify.
. The qualifying conditions are the same as for IS (see here
•Enhanced disability premium. You qualify for this if you or your partner get the highest rate of the disability living allowance (DLA) care component, the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP or if you get the support component of ESA. You get £17.10, or £24.50 if you are a couple.
•Severe disability premium. This is for severely disabled people who live alone, or who can be treated as living alone. You qualify if you get the middle or highest rate of the DLA care component or the daily living component of PIP paid at either rate, and no one gets carer’s allowance for looking after you. You do not get the premium if you live with another person aged 18 or over (eg, a friend or parent), unless s/he is separately liable for rent, you only share a bathroom or hallway, or in some other circumstances. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details. If you have a partner, you do not qualify unless your partner also qualifies in her/his own right or is certified as severely sight impaired or blind. If you both qualify, you get two premiums. The rate of the premium is £66.95.
In the main phase (see here
), you receive either the
support component or, if your claim began before 3 April 2017, the
work-related activity component (see here
). The work-related activity component is £29.55. The support component is £39.20.
ESA can include help with certain service charges and some other housing payments, after a waiting period. Usually help only starts once you have been getting ESA for 39 weeks, although there are some exceptions to this.
If you own your own home, the DWP may offer you a loan to help with the cost of your mortgage interest payments.
Normally you have to live in the home you own to get a loan, but there are exceptions for full-time students (and some others). You can still get a loan for mortgage interest if you have moved elsewhere to study but are not paying rent or a mortgage at the term-time address. If you pay for both places, you can get a loan for both if you are a couple and it is unavoidable that you live in two separate homes. Otherwise, you can get a loan if you are away from your home temporarily and have not let it out and are not likely to be away for more than 52 weeks.1Sch 3 para 4 LMI Regs Note:
these loans are not part of your ESA.
If you have rent to pay, you must usually claim UC (or sometimes HB) for help (see Chapter 11
or Chapter 6
). For full details, see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook