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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2010): Social security - UK

Benefit claimants declared fit to work

H. Wallop

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 1st 2010, p. 2

More than two thirds of disability benefits claimants tested since October 2008 have been declared fit to work. The government introduced a stringent test for claimants in an attempt to cut costs and end the culture of long-term sick leave. The test was designed to distinguish those genuinely too sick to work from those who could take a job. The Department for Work and Pensions hopes to save 500m over three years by reducing the number of people on Incapacity Benefit from 2.7 million to 1.7 million.

Challenging Britain's benefits system

S. Brien

Public Policy Research, Sept.-Nov. 2009, p. 169-173

Britain's benefits system discourages work, promotes dependency, penalises couples and low-income home owners, and is overly complex. The author presents dynamic economic modelling as the key to better benefits design, balancing poverty reduction, financial viability and household employment levels. Dynamic modelling predicts how every household will change its behaviour in response to changes in the tax and benefits system.

Direct pressure

R. Stares

Roof, Jan./Feb. 2010, p. 32-33

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which replaced housing benefit for private renters and housing association tenants in 2008, is paid to the tenant and not directly to the landlord. Many are spending the money on other urgent needs and falling into rent arrears. When an LHA recipient falls into arrears, the council can arrange to have payments sent directly to the landlord following a review. However, the tenant has to accumulate eight weeks of arrears before a review takes place.

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