Why Has My ESA Not Been Paid? (4 Reasons Why)

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “Why has my ESA not been paid?”, 4 reasons why ESA typically takes time to process or get paid, and other things related to ESA payments.

Why Has My ESA Not Been Paid? (4 Reasons Why)

Your ESA may not have been paid because of these 4 reasons:

  • Lack of disability of claimant
  • Reception of ESA for 1 year 
  • Recalculation of ESA
  • Suspension of ESA

One of the most common cases why the ESA has not been paid is when the Department of Work and Pensions learns that you don’t have limited capability for work, and therefore they stop the payment to reassess the situation.

In the context of the department of work and pensions and the Employment and Support Allowance, limited capacity refers to difficulty working because you’re sick or disabled, which are usually the reason ESA is awarded in the first place, and this avenue of action 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 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.

Unless you are getting a new Style of contribution based ESA, ESA may also stop because you’ve been getting ESA for 1 year.

Sometimes the Department of Work and Pensions also recalculates ESA based on the needs of the individual and other eligibility criteria, or other benefits they may be receiving, and in this case ESA may also stop because the DWP have recalculated your ESA.

When the DWP recalculates ESA it may not be paid till they are able to reflect the change in the revised amount, and usually they do this when the person’s circumstances have changed.

A change of circumstances may lead to the ESA not being paid because they may affect how the person both spends the money (because that is directly related to how much thy have claimed), as well as how much they need it.

An example of such a change in circumstance may include a partner moving in with the person or them moving out of wherever they had been living.

Another reason why ESA may not have been paid is when the DWp has suspended the ESA for some reason, and usually this happens when they are unsure of some information in the claim and they are not able to reach the person for clarification.

In some cases ESA might also get suspended because of clerical errors or other minor problems, so don’t worry till you get it cleared up, which can be done over the phone or via post.

Sometimes ESA might not be paid because they may have paid some benefits in advance or overpaid somehow on one of the previous payments, which they then deduct in the form of the current ESA, although this may often lead to reduced payments rather than ESA not being paid at all.

Lastly, the DWP can also stop the ESA payment because you have been sanctioned for some reason.

What to do when the ESA has not been paid?

When your ESA has not been paid, here are the first two things you should do:

  • Check any letters the DWP have sent you because they normally explain what has happened.
  • Call the DWP’s Benefit Enquiry Line and ask what is happening.

The numbers you can contact when your ESA payment has been reduced or stopped are:

Telephone: 0800 169 0310

Textphone: 0800 169 0314

NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310

Welsh language: 0800 328 1744

You can call these numbers from Monday to Friday between 8am to 6pm.

When you call the numbers given above and ask about the ESA being stopped, they may tell you about the problem, and if they give either of the following two reasons, you should reach out to the nearest Citizens Advice location:

  • There’s a third party deduction from your ESA, meaning the DWP has sent the payments straight from your ESA to someone whom you owe money.
  • You’ve been disqualified from ESA, in which case ESA could be stopped for up to 6 weeks

Based on the reasons provided above for why ESA might be stopped, you can tackle the problem in different ways, as enumerated below.

Lack of Disability of Claimant

Sometimes the the DWP stops your ESA because they ascertain that you don’t have limited capacity, or a disability, in which case they may have stopped the ESA because:

  • You failed to go a work capability assessment
  • You went to a work capability assessment but the DWP decided you’re able to work.
  • You didn’t send the ESA50 questionnaire on time

If any of these things have happened, they can be rectified.

For instance if your ESA has been stopped because you did not send your ESA50 questionnaire in on time, you can challenge the decision to stop your ESA if you can prove that you had a good reason for not being able to do so, like being ill or having an emergency at home. 

This type of challenge must be started within 1 month of the decision.

Even if you are not able to challenge the decision, you can still try to make a new claim, which will involve completing and sending the ESA50 questionnaire with your new claim. This also ensures that you will get the ESA straight away when the new claim starts.

On the other hand, if you have missed a Work capability assessment, you can also challenge the decision, based on the same principle as mentioned above, and as long as you can show why you missed the assessment and if it was for a justifiable reason, you may be able to get the problem resolved.

If for some reason you are not able to get it resolved, you can still start a new claim but if the claim is made less than 6 months after your ESA stopped, the payment of ESA may not happen straight away and you may get the payment only after you go to another work capability assessment which tends to be about 3 months after the claim. 

Lastly, if the ESA has decided that you are able to work and that is why your ESA has not been paid, you can challenge the decision to stop your ESA, and this challenge must also be made within 1 month of the decision.

In case challenging the decision is not an option for any reason, you might be able to make a new claim but you can only make a new claim if these circumstances are applicable to you and have been since the DWP’s decision:

  • Your condition has gotten worse
  • You’ve got a new condition

Recalculation of ESA

If the DWp has recalculated your ESA and this is the reason your ESA has stopped, chances are it may have happened because your circumstances have changed.

If your circumstances have in fact changed, the DWP might decide you’ll get a different amount of ESA and stop the ESA in the process of this recalculation.

To fix this situation, you need to check if you’re getting the right amount of ESA and if the DWP gives you the wrong amount, you can challenge the decision.

Suspension of ESA

Sometimes the DWp suspends a person’s ESA when they are trying to reprocess what amount of benefit is applicable to the person and if they should even receive an ESA, for example, they may suspend your ESA if:

  • They have doubts about your sickness
  • They didn’t receive some information or documents they asked for, in which case you usually have 14 days to send anything to them
  • They received a report of a change of circumstances and they are working out how much ESA you’ll get again
  • You can’t challenge the DWP’s decision to suspend your claim.

If the DWP asks for any information or documents, you need to send them as soon as possible, and if you don’t hear from the DWP, call them to check what they’re waiting for.

Taking back an Advance Payment

If you accidentally or intentionally received an advance payment when you applied for ESA, the DWP can reduce your ESA until you’ve paid it back and this decision is not open to challenge, as the DWP needs to recover your advance payment.

If the DWP says you’ve had an overpayment, it means you’ve been paid too much ESA. If you don’t think you were overpaid, you can challenge the DWP’s decision to reduce your ESA. You should start your challenge within 1 month of the decision, and some rules regarding the ESA overpayment also depend on the type of ESA you get.


In this brief guide, we discussed the question “Why has my ESA not been paid?”, 4 reasons why ESA typically takes time to process or get paid, and other things related to ESA payments.

ESA allows a great deal of help to individuals who need it, and when it doesn’t work smoothly it can cause just as much problem, because it can be hard to go through the process of getting things moving when you are not feeling well to begin with.

If you have any questions or comments like “Why has my ESA not been paid?” please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why Has My ESA Not Been Paid? (4 Reasons why)

Can I get my ESA paid early?

Yes, you can get your ESA paid early, if you are due to receive a payment, and other benefits that you may also be able to receive early are Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or a Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Why has my ESA payment changed to JSA?

ESA payments sometimes get included within the Jobseeker’s allowance when both are being claimed by the single person because there isn’t a separate system for the two.

When the ESA and JSA payments get clumped together, the manual form of payment will appear as JSA on the reference.

Can DWP stop benefits without warning?

Yes, DWP can stop benefits without warning if there is a lack of information in any way or if the DWP needs to verify some information.

The DWP may also not state why they have stopped the benefits and they may also not restart the payments till a claimant has provided information without need.

Why have my benefits been stopped?

Your benefits may have stopped because of many reasons, like when you don’t report a change in circumstances like your partner moving in with you or if the DWP learns that you’re earning more than you told them. Another reason your benefits may stop is because you didn’t reply when the DWP wrote to check certain details of your claim.





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