Can I Claim ESA if My Partner Works Full Time? (A guide to ESA)

In this brief guide, we will discuss the subject “Can I claim ESA if my partner works full time?”, as well as other queries people usually have about ESA benefits.

Can I Claim ESA if My Partner Works Full Time? 

Yes, you can claim ESA if your partner works full time, because the payment of ESA depends on whether the person has a disability or condition that keeps them from working, or on whether they have made adequate contributions to the National Insurance but are not able to work now.

ESA stands for Employment and Support Allowance, and it is a benefit awarded to people who are suffering from disabilities or conditions that keep them from working in a regular manner, and the process for ESA claims, therefore, also involves an assessment of the condition of the individual.

ESA is different from the other types of disability benefits because for one thing, it is a means-based benefit, and secondly, it also involves engaging the person in activities or conditions which may help the person eventually with getting a job and getting off the benefit.

Means Based benefits refer to those benefits that depend on the amount of income and capital the person has and they may be available to those who are able to demonstrate that their income and capital are below a certain level.

The eligibility for ESA depends on the following requirements:

  • Being under State Pension age
  • Having a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You can not only claim ESA if your partner works full time, but also when you are working, although in such a case there are some conditions on the kind of work one can do while receiving ESA, or how it does not meet their requirements of financial nature, and these conditions need to be considered carefully before one claims ESA.

Furthermore, a person cannot claim ESA if they are also receiving the following benefits:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

You can however claim ESA with other benefits like Universal Credit or Personal Independence payment (PIP).

How long does it take the DWP to make an ESA decision?

Decisions about ESA are usually made in about 12-13 weeks from the start of the claim, and usually the person may hear from the decision makers about 20 or so days after the work capability assessment has been done.

There are some cases where there may be changes in the time it takes for the DWP to make an ESA decision, but usually it is not much more.

Then there are also some circumstances in which instead of the person getting a letter about the ESA decision directly, they may get a phone call instead, and while this is not common, it is not entirely rare either.

Cases in which it is found that the person does not meet the criteria for Limited capacity according to the assessment done by Atos healthcare, the decision makers may call the claimant to ask if they have any other additional evidence of their disability that they would like to submit so that they may get an ESA decision in their favor.

The phone call from the DWP is only done after the ESA assessment has been completed, and it is meant to help the DWP figure out not only whether the person has limited capacity or if they need the benefits because they are not able to work, but also how much ESA they need and what group they need to be put in.

Once the work capacity assessment has been completed, the DWP will usually not require any more information, unless they find during the processing of your claim that there is a form missing or there are discrepancies between the circumstances you reported and the ones in the present.

After the ESA assessment has been done, the DWP assesses whether you truly have limited capacity to work, which is the last thing they check before making a decision about paying ESA.

In the context of the department of work and pensions (DWP) and the Employment and Support Allowance, limited capacity refers to difficulty you face while working because you’re sick or disabled, which are usually the reason ESA is awarded in the first place, and assessment and process exists to ensure that people don’t claim ESA when they don’t need it.

When the DWP gets information that would suggest that you don’t have a limited capacity, they may make the decision to stop the ESA payments, and they may reach out for clarification or further assessment, and should the person fail to respond they may not restart the payment till they get a response.

Contribution Based ESA

There are two main types of ESA, income based ESA and contribution based ESA.

While Income based ESA is the kind that is decided based on the needs of the person as well as their limited capacity to work, contribution based ESA also takes into account any and all payments the person may have made to the National Insurance in the past 2-3 years.

A person is entitled to contribution based ESA when they have a disability or injury that affects their ability to work, and when they have also made enough payments to their National insurance accounts over a two to three-year period.

Eligibility for the contribution based ESA also depends on if they are already getting, or are entitled to, severe disability premium or if they’ve previously gotten it or were entitled to it in the last month, and if any of these conditions apply the person may not get a contribution based ESA.

People who are currently receiving contribution based ESA can get free prescriptions as well, but that depends on their total household income and the condition that the prescription is supposed to treat.

Therefore, the availability of prescriptions under the contribution based ESA may depend on whether the person’s partner is working because family income is a factor in this case.

An individual can also receive contribution based ESA and universal credit at the same time but this does limit any other benefits that they may be entitled to, including access to mortgage assistance.

Income Related ESA: How much can Partner Earn?

Because income related ESA takes into account sources of income in the person’s life, it takes into account how much their partner earns as well, meaning that the amount someone’s partner earns will have an impact on how much EA the person may be entitled to.

If your partner is earning, the DWP will not count 20 pounds of the total income the partner is earning in the ESA that the person gets.

This means, that if someone is earning 80 pounds and their partner is claiming ESA, the DWP will deduct 60 pounds from their ESA, that is, 80-20.

There are also certain rules that need to be taken into account in relation to income related ESA if you are working, either full time or part-time.

For instance, the DWP will not take any money off your ESA if both of the following apply:

  • you earn £140 or less each week
  • you work less than 16 hours each week on average

These conditions for an income related ESA are known as ‘permitted work’.

If you earn more money or work more hours, you might not be able to get ESA so make sure you check what types of work you can do while getting ESA.


In this brief guide, we discussed the subject “Can I claim ESA if my partner works full time?”, as well as other queries people usually have about ESA benefits.

ESA benefits usually depend on the circumstances of the person as much as they do on the disability or health condition the person is suffering from, therefore, if there is ever a change in the living situation of the person or in the circumstances of those in the person’s life, the ESA payment can be stopped or changed.

If you have any more questions like “Can I claim ESA if my partner works full time?”, or any comments about what we discussed here, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can I claim ESA if my partner works full time?

Can I claim job seekers allowance if my partner works full time?

Yes, you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if your partner works full time, as Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit for those who are not working or only working part-time and who are actively seeking work. 

The 2 types of Jobseeker’s Allowance are contribution-based and income-based, and the payment of Jobseeker’s allowance does not depend on whether the person’s partner works or if they have savings.

How long does ESA last if in support group?

ESA in support group may last either up to three years or indefinitely, depending on which group the person is a part of.

Support Group customers include those who are severely ill or disabled which makes it unreasonable to require them to engage in work-related activity, in which case the ESA is usually awarded for long periods of time, whereas in the ESA support group with work-related activity, the ESA may be reviewed after 1 year or 3 years.

Is my ESA income or contribution based?

To know if your ESA is income based or contribution based, you need to check whether you have made any payments towards your National Insurance over the past 2-3 years, if you have, you may be on contribution based ESA, whereas if you have not and are only receiving the ESA based on what your current needs and ability to work are like, you may be receiving Income based ESA.

There are no income and savings test for contributory ESA and usually the contributory ESA is reduced by half the amount of any pension or permanent health insurance payment received in excess of £85.

Can you claim Universal Credit if your partner works?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if your partner works in any employment condition or is self-employed but you are on a relatively low income. 

If you are unsure about whether you might be eligible for universal credit, you can complete an online application form after which you might be asked more questions to check your eligibility when you make a claim for Universal Credit.

How much can your partner earn before it affects my Centrelink payment?

Your partner can earn up to $1,165 before it affects your Centrelink payment.

Additionally, if your partner gets Austudy or Youth Allowance, the income limit they can earn each fortnight is different.


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