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Employment and Support Allowance - how to claim

You can claim Employment and Support Allowance by telephone, textphone or by downloading a claim form. The easiest and quickest way is by telephone or textphone. Find out how to claim Employment and Support Allowance and how to report any changes to your circumstances.

Claiming by telephone or textphone

You can claim Employment and Support Allowance by telephone or textphone. An adviser at the contact centre will go though the application with you and fill in the form. You will not have to fill in any forms yourself.

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm except Thursday when they are open 10.00am to 5.00 pm.

Contact centre numbers:

  • Telephone 0800 085 6318
  • Textphone 0800 328 3419

Call charges

Calls to 0800 numbers are free from BT landlines and some mobile phone operators but you may have to pay if you:

  • use another phone company
  • use a mobile phone (except O2, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile)
  • are calling from abroad

Calls from mobile phones can cost up to 40p a minute, so check the cost of the calls with your service provider.  

Textphones

Textphones are for people who find it hard to speak or hear clearly. Textphones can only receive calls made from another textphone.

If you do not have a textphone of your own but need to use one, try your local library or an advice centre like the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Claiming online

You cannot claim online.

Complete an application form

Download the application form from the link below. There are guidance notes which you need to read before filling in the claim form.

You will need to print this form and post it to the Employment and Support Allowance Centre.

Employment and Support Allowance Centre
James House
2 - 4 Cromac Avenue
Belfast
BT7 2JA

What to do if your circumstances change

It's important to contact the Employment and Support Allowance if your circumstances change. You can do this by telephone - their number will be on letters they have sent to you and on the page linked to below.

For example if:

  • you do any work, including voluntary work
  • you start training and get a training allowance
  • you change your address
  • you have been in hospital for 52 weeks and part of your benefit is paid for someone else
  • you go abroad

How to appeal

If you are refused Employment and Support Allowance or if you have questions about your payment, you can ask Employment and Allowance to look again at their decision. If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal.

More useful links