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Employment and Support Allowance: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 34408, tabled on 24 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that employment support allowance and new style employment support allowance applications (a) can be made online and (b) are processed urgently during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

21 April 2020

On average we are processing ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (NSESA) claims in 2.2 days but we recognise people will have found it difficult to speak to us given the volume of traffic, and so we have fast-tracked the development of an online application process for NSESA, which went live on 20 April. This will allow the majority of people who need to claim this benefit to do so online. The NSESA claim phone lines are still available for people who do not have access to, or who cannot, use the online system. DWP have prioritised the clearance of all benefit claims by moving colleagues to front line processing roles, which has significantly increased our capacity and we are endeavouring to clear claims received as quickly as possible.

ESA is now closed as a means-tested benefit for new claimants in the majority of cases and working-age claimants with a disability or health condition should now make a claim to Universal Credit.