UK – Benefit reform ‘helping disabled Brits get back to work’

Reforms in the Work Capability Assessment are helping more ill individuals get back to work.

The introduction of the Work Capability Assessment has resulted in helping more individuals who are disabled and suffering from illness to get back into gainful employment over the last year, new figures have shown.

Data provided by the Department for Work and Pensions has revealed that by May last year, the number of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and incapacity benefits across the UK was at its lowest since 1996.

According to employment minister Chris Grayling, the figures show that for the majority of new claimants the system is helping them to get back into work faster and this is a positive outcome both for the individual and for society in general.

He commented: “These reforms are changing the landscape of our country. By concentrating on what people can do, we will help people back into work and out of the trap of benefits that has blighted communities.

“We want to help everyone who can be in work to get there, not just for themselves but for their children.”

During March to May 2011, the data shows that 21 per cent of claimants were found to have sufficient capabilities to carry out work with the right help and support, while just 22 per cent were allocated unconditional financial support.

However, the figures are not all positive, as they still show that 2.6 million Brits are claiming ESA, with more than 916,000 people having been in receipt of incapacity benefits for more than a decade.

The reforms came about through the introduction of the Work Capability Assessment, which requires all individuals hoping to claim ESA to fill in a questionnaire outlining how their disability impacts on their daily lives.

This is then supported by independent medical examinations carried out by ESA-trained professionals to determine the extent of a person’s disability and their capabilities in their present condition.

Taylor Vinters

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