Posts Tagged ‘employment support allowance’

New claims for ESA

The latest figures on new claims for Employment and Support Allowance, which replaced incapacity benefit in 2008, have been released.

Here are some of the main findings:

Outcomes of completed initial assessments for claims started from March to May 2011 show:

  •  48 per cent of claimants have an outcome i.e. decisions have been made on

their claims;

  • 38 per cent of claimants had their claim closed before having a face to face

assessment; and

  • 14 per cent of claimants were still undergoing assessment.

Claimants with an outcome for their claim can be broken down as follows:


  • 43 per cent of claimants were entitled to the benefit. Within this –
  • 21 per cent of claimants were placed in the Work Related Activity Group

(WRAG), and

  • 22 per cent of claimants were placed in the Support Group (SG); and 57 per cent of claimants were assessed as Fit for Work (FFW) and are no longer eligible for ESA.

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Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


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Household benefits cap defeated in the Lords

The Welfare Reform Bill has completed its Commons stages and is now in the penultimate stage in the House of Lords. Ministers have already said a defeat in the Lords will be overturned in the Commons, but it seems that the bill will be subject to a ping-pong effect until an agreement is reached.

Most recently, the government has been defeated in the Lords in a vote on its plans for a £26,000-a-year household benefit cap.

This was an amendment that child benefits should not be included in the cap, and this was backed by 252 to 237 peers.

The government argued that the benefit cap will save £290m next year, with 67,000 families losing on average £83 a week.

Benefit cap proposals:

  • From April 2013, the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive will be capped so households on out-of-work benefits will not receive more than the average household weekly wage.
  • this applies to combined income from the main out-of-work benefits – Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment Support Allowance – and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Exemptions for households in receipt of Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance or its successor Personal Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance and war widows and widowers.
  • Forecast to save £290m in 2013-14 and £330m in 2014-15.

Read more on the current progress of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords.

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


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Recommendations to reduce the costs of sickness absence in the UK

Health and Business experts Dame Carol Black and David Frost have presented a report to the government of the results of an independent review aimed at reducing the cost of sickness to employers, taxpayers and the economy.

The review proposes a number of recommendations which aim to reduce the human and financial cost of sickness absence in the UK.

  • For employers tackling sickness absence a key barrier to getting people back to work is the fit notes. The Review recommends a new Independent Assessment Service (IAS) that employers and GPs can refer long-term sickness absence cases to


  •  The Review recommends that the State introduces a new Job Brokering Service for employees on long-term sickness absence who are unable to return to their current employer. This service could save the State up to £300m a year by reducing the benefits bill.


  • The Reviewers observed that the current benefits system fails claimants with ill-health by directing too many people to Employment and Support Allowance but subsequently declaring most fit for work after a long delay. The Review recommends the removal of the assessment phase for claimants of Employment and Support Allowance.

David Frost former Director General, British Chamber of Commerce said:

“Evidence clearly shows that the longer you are out of work the harder it becomes to get back in. But in many cases sickness absence is due to health conditions that are nonetheless compatible with work – and can often be improved by work.

“The current certification system does not provide employers with the advice they need to make informed decisions about their employees’ capability for work. The establishment of the Independent Assessment Service will provide practical support and help to allow employers to make informed judgements about a return to work for their staff.”

Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work said:

“Sickness absence from work can be unavoidable, but when unduly prolonged it is wasteful and damaging. We believe we have presented an urgent and compelling case to change the current system so that it unashamedly promotes work for those that can.

“If implemented these recommendations will ensure many more people with health conditions are able to enjoy the benefit of work; far fewer will needlessly lose work and fall into long-term benefit dependency.”

Welcoming the independent review today Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform said:

“The Government is committed to supporting more people with health conditions to work.  The economy loses £15bn in lost economic output each year due to sickness absence and we cannot continue to foot this bill. But even more important is the impact of needless inactivity on people’s lives; the damage to their aspirations and their health and the damage to their families and communities.

“The Government will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the Review’s findings and recommendations with the view to publishing a response during 2012.”

Click here to view the full recommendations


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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At this years Welfare to Work Conference concerns were raised with both Lord Freud and Chris Grayling MP about the WCA

But who is the company at the heart of the Work Capability Assessments?

The company is called Atos Healthcare and it is assessing IB claimants at around 50,000 per month.

According to reports Atos Healthcare is finding that only 5% of claimants are unfit to work.

A third of those being judged ‘Fit for Work’ are disputing the decision and 40% win their appeal.

This figure increases to 70% for those who have legal representation.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling MP has announced that there is a review of the WCA to ensure that the assessment is fair. But he added that the government would not be rolling back on their commitment to help people into work.

Atos Healthcare have outlined what claimants can expect in their;


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