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Incapacity benefits 2008 changes to ESA

Discussion in 'Social Security / Disability Benefits' started by wheeliefab, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. wheeliefab

    wheeliefab Registered

    Hi everyone I found some links about the recent changes (announced in 2008 budget) that are being made to Incapacity Benefit (IB), and thought they would be useful.
    At the moment the changes are for new claims but eventually all people currently on IB will move over to the new system.

    As far as I can tell a new benefit called "Employment and Support allowance" (ESA) will be paid to people whose ability to work is limited by ill health or disability instead of the current "Incapacity benefit".

    The disability alliance web site has some info & fact sheets about the changes being made. It's web site says -

    ESA is intended to replace both incapacity benefit (IB) and income support (IS) paid on the grounds of incapacity. It will come into force for new claimants from October 2008 and for existing IB/IS claimants at a later date.
    ESA will be a single benefit with both contributory and means tested rates of pay.
    It will also feature a new medical test. ESA will place a greater emphasis on assessing a sick or disabled person’s ability to work.

    see and also try other info on this site eg the fact sheet on the medical tests

    It looks as if ESA will be paid at two rates; a "Work related activity component" for people judged able to move towards work;
    and a "Support component" for people judged unable to work.

    The "Work related activity component" is meant to be for people judged able to move towards work and apparently will be paid at a higher rate than the current long-term rate of Incapacity Benefit. However, claimants will have to undertake compulsory "Work Focused Interviews" or risk losing benefit.

    The "Support component" of ESA will be given only those people with "the most severe disabilities and health conditions", who are assessed as unable to work.
    If you get the "support ESA" you will not be expected to engage in work-focused activity (although you will be given the opportunity to if you wish). The "Support" component of ESA, apparently will also be paid at a higher rate than the current long-term rate of Incapacity Benefit, and, if I understand correctly, at a higher rate than the "Work related activity component".

    As far as I understand that there will be changes to the current test (the PCA as it is now) for getting Incapacity Benefit, so that it identifies the capacity that people have to move towards work, rather than just looking at their incapacity to work as it does now.

    As well as the PCA, there will be a new assessment called the "Work-focused health-related assessment". This will take place after the PCA (for people judged able to move towards work) and will look at what skills and abilities the claimant has, as well as identifying equipment or adaptations that would help them move towards work.
    After this claimants will be expected to produce Action Plans setting out the work-related activity (training, courses, rehabilitation or voluntary work) that they will undertake. The Bill gives the government powers to make it compulsory in the future to undertake this activity.

    I'm only guessing but I think that people with "mild" and "moderate" lupus may be included in the group regarded as being able to move towards work and placed on the "Work related" ESA.

    The DWP web site also has some down-loadable info guides on benefits ( including info about DLA)

    In particular DWP site has a link that gives details about the welfare reforms
    This is a long document but see page 23 onwards for the Annex which gives a draft version of the revised physical and mental function assessments. This annex to the booklet was only the proposed criteria but I expect the actual medical tests they give will be roughly the same as these proposals and it actually shows the proposed scores for different activities that will be assessed.

    I don't like to be cynical and hopefully these government changes will actually help anyone with lupus who is unable to work get the benefits they are entitled to, yet also support those who would like to work but are currently "off sick" and on IB.
    The changes are meant to make things simpler and be more supportive for people with disabilities, but I am aware that the government is trying to get 1million people off benefit and into work.
    I suspect that the rules for entitlement to benefit are going to be a lot tighter, and the changes to how your condition and abilities are assessed may not actually be helpful for conditions like lupus.
    I'm a bit concerned that the new tests designed to see what you are capable (or incapable) of doing may make it a "battle" for those with "mild" or "moderate" lupus to get the benefits they should be entitled to, as only those with "the most severe disabilities and health conditions", who are assessed as unable to work will get the "Support" part of ESA.
    Also it looks as if some of the old style "points" system used for assessing your capabilities will be changed, and the cynical part of me is thinking
    that many of us currently getting long term IB who are not really capable of working will not be judged to be "severe" enough, and thus would only get "work related ESA" and will be forced to start seeking work in order to qualify for any benefit.

    Lets hope the "think the best of everything/everyone" part of me rather than the cynical part is correct. Anyway I hope this has been useful info
  2. Clare.T

    Clare.T Registered

    Thank you very much indeed for this most helpful post :) I am sure it will be a great help.
    All the best
  3. Salopsally

    Salopsally Registered

    Thanks for that. Cant see I will get any help. Always had to look afer myself cant see that changing. Didnt get DLA when I couldnt even get out of bed to go to the loo.
    Oh well.. there ya go.
    Good job Im a survivor.
    Sal x
  4. Marshmellow

    Marshmellow Registered

    yeah that post is great, really informative, must admit I tend to worry :( about it but what will be will be and worry wont change it!!!:worried:
  5. somerset

    somerset Guest

    I don't visit the message boards very often as I feel a bit of a fraud with my Lupus as it is not affecting my internal organs as yet, only slight kidney worries with protein/leukocytes and high BP. It is just to reassuring to know there are other UK lupus sufferers out there. I tried for DLA but was turned down because I opened the door for the interviewer myself!!!! I live alone.. work that one out.:rotfl: . To pay my mortgage I work 30 hours a week in a pharmacy which allows me a tax credit payment which has kept me financially afloat. My colleagues know of my health problems/pain/fatigue and are great but I am living on a knife edge in fear I will lose this job as I know I can get no disability benefits and I cannot find other work due to my weekly/monthly/three monthly medical appointments. What exactly do you have to have to obtain any support on health grounds? Sorry to moan but I just wondered how others cope with their bills.
  6. D.l.a Payments

    Hi to you all.
    I'v not been around much for a while, have been not well again, bit better now though.
    As for your website, thats very interesting, although like many i don't think they will pay out to most people who have 'mild' lupus.
    I must say though, you must fight for the payment of d.l.a, i was turned down 4 times for mine, then i went to court to challenge them and i won my case.
    I now have to have carers in to look after me 7 days per week, and with out this payment wouldn't have been able to afford any of it.
    So my advice is keep cliaming and if they say 'no' then go to court to appeal the case, many of them win, although not many people know how the system works with all there questions, you have to fill them out as if you are having your worst days.
    Hope that you can sort it out.
    Take care
    Debbi ;)
  7. carol5

    carol5 Registered

    hi what great info about benefits, i have been on incapacity for 9yrs and have been recently turned down for dla twice, i have just received a book of questions to fill out for incapacity for work questionnaire, and its a nightmare like, how do i answer can yo bend or kneel? well, yes i can some days but not on other days also can you use your hands, again, yes on some days but others i wake and they are so swollen i cant lift a cup!! i'm so worried that if i asswer as if its my worst days and someone spies on me as they have been known to do to catch benefit cheats that they will see me rambling along and then i will be in trouble! any advice , ? anyone? carol 5 x
  8. cemc

    cemc Registered

    Carol, and others filling out these kind of forms: the best thing here is to make an appointment with the disability advisor at your local CAB and get them to help you find the right words for your answers. They know exactly what you should write, and more importantly what you shouldn't say. It is very hard knowing how to write the answers when your condition fluctuates, but again the CAB people really do know their stuff and will help you get what you are entitled to. One piece of advice I got for filling in that kind of form was to disregard the space they gave you for answering, and just write down anything and everything, around the edges of the pages if necessary. Of course even this can go wrong, if you inadvertently write something that the decision maker interprets as meaning that you can actually cope.

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