MORE than 200,000 people are missing out on thousands of pounds a year in disability or health benefits.
The latest figures show that 220,000 people who are eligible for employment and support allowance don’t claim.
The benefit is in place to support people who are unable to work due to a disability or health condition.
During the pandemic, some workers who had to self-isolate or shield were also entitled to claim the extra cash.
The unclaimed benefits payments total around £1bn a year, according to MoneySavingExpert.
Can you claim?
Most people under the State Pension age that have a disability or health condition that affects if or how much they earn are eligible to apply for ESA.
You also need to have either worked as an employee or been self-employed previously and paid enough National Insurance over the past two to three years.
It is also possible to claim Universal Credit alongside ESA, but you can’t receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay at the same time.
Employees who have been claiming Statutory Sick Pay are able to apply for ESA up to three months before SSP stops, but it won’t start paying out until after the period of sick leave ends.
It is possible to claim ESA if you have a job, but there are limits on how much you can work and earn.
In order to be eligible for ESA you must work less than 16 hours and earn no more than £143 a week.
During the pandemic the government said people who needed to self-isolate, shield or were sick with Covid could claim ESA.
You can apply for ESA online through the government website.
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To claim ESA you will need your National Insurance number, your bank or building society account number and sort code and your doctor’s name and contact details.
If you are still working, you will need to provide details of your income and if you are claiming Statutory Sick Pay you will need to confirm when it ends.
It is also possible to apply by phone.