Ben­e­fits boost for peo­ple with se­vere ill­ness

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS -

ments for em­ploy­ment and sup­port al­lowance (ESA).

Cam­paign­ers called the move “a big step in the right di­rec­tion” and “a long-awaited step to­wards mak­ing the wel­fare sys­tem make sense”.

How­ever, shadow work and pen­sions sec­re­tary Deb­bie Abra­hams said: “This is an out­ra­geous bro­ken prom­ise.

“Sick and dis­abled peo­ple have been wait­ing for the UK Gov­ern­ment to an­nounce spe­cific con­di­tions that would be ex­empt from puni­tive re­assess­ments, fi­nally pro­vid­ing the cer­tainty many have been wait­ing for. In­stead, they have been of­fered a vague state­ment with no spe­cific guar­an­tees at all.”

Ap­pli­cants for ESA have to un­dergo a work ca­pa­bil­ity as­sess­ment to find out if they are el­i­gi­ble and they are retested to en­sure their con­di­tion has not changed.

Some are retested every three months and oth­ers up to two years later.

Un­der the gov­ern­ment’s change, those who are deemed un­fit for work and with con­di­tions that will not im­prove will no longer face retest­ing.

A Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions spokesman said: “This pos­i­tive change en­sures that the right pro­tec­tions are in place.

“Peo­ple with se­vere health con­di­tions or dis­abil­i­ties that are not go­ing to im­prove will no longer need to at­tend rou­tine as­sess­ments.”

Some 2.4mil­lion peo­ple claim ESA across the UK, which pays claimants on av­er­age £118 a week.

Phil Reynolds, se­nior pol­icy and cam­paigns ad­viser at Parkin­son’s UK, said: “These new cri­te­ria are a big step in the right di­rec­tion but it is still not clear how many peo­ple with Parkin­son’s this will now ben­e­fit.

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