UK: Disability benefits (UC, ESA and PIP) - news and updates 2023 (including government plans to scrap the work capability assessment)

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by Shadrach Loom, Jan 10, 2023.

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  1. Shadrach Loom

    Shadrach Loom Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Split from the 2021-2 thread

    From today’s Politico newsletter:

    Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth will deliver a speech to the Center for Social Justice think tank this morning, pledging reforms to out-of-work support. The Labour plans involve allowing people on sickness benefits to return to the same welfare regime if a job doesn’t work out, rather than undergoing reassessment, in order to give people the confidence to take a role without the threat of losing their funding if it isn’t right for them.

    This sounds as if it could be quite useful for some pwME.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2023
  2. RedFox

    RedFox Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    We've done that in the US for a long time. If you're receiving SSDI and you return to work, you continue receiving full benefits for 9 months. If you stop working after less than 3 years, your benefits are reinstated immediately and if it's under 5 years, you need to reapply, but under a simpler procedure.
     
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  3. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    LOL there's no way it will be like that here! if you got paid just £2 a wk they'd still deduct it from yr measely benefit amount.

    From what i've read elsewhere (sorry no energy to go back find links now) it will be for 1yr - so if you start work & then cant continue within a yr, then you wouldnt have to be reassessed again. But you can bet it wont be that simple. I mean it sounds good - at this point if you started work for a couple of months & couldnt manage to continue you'd have to start again from scratch.

    In any case this is only a proposal from a party that isnt even in power, so i take it all with a pinch of salt.
     
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  4. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It would have been very useful for me. Doing part time fixed-term contracts could have meant I was able to stay in work longer, using a system of working for a few months and then claiming ESA during the obligatory recovery period before starting the next one.

    The trouble was that if I was off the ESA allowance for more than 13 weeks, I'd be bumped down onto the assessment rate when I claimed again, which wasn't liveable-on (for example, using the current rates, it would pay £77.00 per week instead of £204.75).

    If it's the commission I'm thinking of, I submitted evidence when these recommendations were being formulated. It's bizarre that people are forced onto benefits full-time because the rules mean it's not feasible for them to work. Even if I could only have managed five months a year, that's still five months that I wasn't claiming living costs and was able to pay a bit back into the system in income taxes.

    There are no negatives in enabling disabled people to do what work they can, when they can. But given the ingrained attitudes now present in the Department for Work & Pensions, even if it were set up, interventions would creep in where people were pressured to work more weeks per year, or more hours per week. Which would quickly take the whole thing right back to square 1.
     
  5. Shadrach Loom

    Shadrach Loom Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Absolutely.

    I’ve worked at the intersection of HMG largesse and industry beneficiaries for a while, though, and I’m getting heavy deja vu from 2009, when public affairs professionals had far more interest in the opposition than in the government of the day. So I’m more interested in what Labour say than the current incumbents - although, of course, in 2010 all of us were blindsided by the coalition!
     
  6. RedFox

    RedFox Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In the US, if you earn above a certain amount, your benefits eventually stop. But your earnings never reduce your benefit amount. (This is for people who are receiving disability benefits based on their work history. For people who didn't/couldn't build up a career before becoming disabled, there's a different program with different rules)
     
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  7. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Budget policies aim to get carers, disabled people and retirees back into work


    Budget policies aim to get carers, disabled people and retirees back into work (msn.com)
     
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  8. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    That looks worrying. It looks like it's aimed at people too sick to work like pwME, long covid and serious mental illnesses.
     
  9. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Its terrifying. i'd give so much to be well enough to work again, i find being too ill to work really distressing, but no amount of 'carrot or stick' is going to change my abilities.

    The WCA is an abomination, but replacing it will only mean something worse I'm afraid
     
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  10. CRG

    CRG Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Full details will be released by Gov. on Wednesday a.m, these half trails released to media are often very misleading. Big question will be how quickly changes to ill health benefits can in reality be introduced - on past experience new rules will apply only to new claimants - it's not clear what the new review regime will be if the WCA goes - suggestion in some quarters is that PIP assessments will replace WCA and reassessment will follow PIP model.
     
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  11. RedFox

    RedFox Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I find it odd that the UK is making two major changes in just a decade. (The previous one was the phaseout of ESA?) Disability benefits haven't been reshuffled in the US in decades. Social Security began paying benefits to older disabled workers in 1956 and younger ones in 1960. SSI (for people who didn't work enough to earn SSDI) started in 1974.
     
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  12. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A commentator on the Benefits and Work site wrote -

     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2023
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  13. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    the models for reassessments/review is pretty much the same anyway so that doesnt really make sense to me.
    initially. eventually everyone gets moved across. Although it takes a crazy amount of time, the major overhaul which introduced the WCA from the old Incapacity Benefit, which started 10-15yrs ago isnt even complete yet! with (as i understand it) some people still waiting to be transferred to ESA, which is now UC, which will now become....

    They are just continually trying to reduce the welfare bill under cover of demonisation of claimants. Last time it was ministers saying there was "massive fraud in the benefits system" even while the DWP's own figures showed only 0.3% of claims were fraudulent. 0.3%
    This time it's all about "saving the economy" by getting the inactive back into work.
    So first we were a bunch of malingering scroungers & now we're being scapegoated for the country's economic problems. Sorry but i think its utterly shameful.

    I hope that doesnt break the political forum rules, i cant even remember which party it was so i'm not trying to be political about it, but i accept if mods feel it needs to be removed.
     
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  14. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm not going to comment to avoid party po1itics, but I think it is re1evant to mention the fact that the Hea1th Disparities White Paper was she1ved 1ess than 2 months ago. This seems significant as it wou1d have high1ighted the 1ink between hea1th and poverty.

    https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-...-paper-disappearing-shows-a-dangerous-pattern

    I actua11y fee1 sickened and very fearfu1 for the 1ong term by this 1atest announcement, even if it might take some years for any change to be imp1emented or effect me as a 1ong term ESA c1aimant in the support group.
     
  15. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    yes me too
     
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  16. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2023
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  17. Sean

    Sean Moderator Staff Member

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    Mr Hunt’s move to scrap the Work Capability Assessment, touted as “the biggest reform to the welfare system in a decade”, is intended to allow disabled people to work without losing their benefits.

    On the face of it that is a good idea. One of the big issues the disabled face is how punitive and irrational social security systems are to those who can only work sometimes, and especially unpredictably.

    But the devil is in the detail, and as we all know from long bitter experience it is rarely, if ever, done in a way genuinely designed to actually help people do what they can with what they have.

    So excuse me if I agree with those who think this is just to work around established case law, and try to sweep the LC epidemic under the carpet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2023
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  18. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    What worries me, and is of particu1ar concern for PWME, is that the DWP may decide that on1y those who meet the criteria for not being reassessed for the current WCA wi11 be protected from things 1ike conditionality etc.

    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/...-capability-assessment-reassessment-published

    In 2017 any new c1aimant put in the 1imited capacity for work (as opposed to the 'support group') 1ost their disabi1ity premium (i.e. their out of work benefit is reduced to the same as hea1thy c1aimants). This was done to 'incentivise' c1aimants p1aced in this group (which was touted as for those with time 1imited hea1th conditions, a1though that isn't the rea1ity) back into work!

    It's very hard to score the maximum points on any sing1e criteria in the WCA (which passports a c1aimant into the 'support group') - there is no 'rea1 wor1d' test to judge if work is appropriate for a c1aimant. I think it's around 50% of ESA/UC c1aimants are put into the support group based on the 'exceptiona1 circumstances ru1e' (the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work).

    https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/universal-credit-uc/uc-faq/limited-capability-for-work

    So I wou1dn't be surprised if the u1timate goa1 of scrapping of the WCA is to reduce the rate of UC/ESA to a sing1e rate, with no disab1ity premium. Or maybe to on1y give the premium to those deemed to have a 'Severe Condition' (using the DWP criteria).

    This is why it's so important that ME is recognised as potentia11y a progressive and permanent condition with no current1y effective treatments or cure.
     
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  19. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wouldn't surprise me either. Two-thirds of ESA claimants qualify for the support group, and I dare say they'll want to get that down.
     
  20. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This was partly IDS idea behind UC. But its still a bit of a catch 22.

    TBH I've lost track of what's what with regards to ESA.

    They supposedly scrapped Income related ESA (although a lot of the recent help with cost of living, heating etc is only claimable for those on income related ESA) , to be replaced with UC, but it was also replaced with 'New Style ESA' which according to the gov website:

    "You may be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance with, or instead of Universal Credit, depending on your National Insurance record."
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance

    Which is also in practice a bit of a nonsense, as that is the old 'contribution based ESA' which isn't really based on NI contributions.:confused:
     
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