Changes to the benefits system: the migration from incapacity benefits to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Document type
Briefing
Corporate author(s)
Royal Mencap Society
Publisher
Mencap
Date of publication
1 February 2012
Subject(s)
Disabled people, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This briefing provides information on the migration process from Incapacity Benefit, Income Support (claimed because of a disability) and Severe Disability Allowance, to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). To be eligible for ESA, a person will usually have to undergo a face to face assessment with a healthcare professional. The introduction of ESA in 2008 was initially limited to new claimants. All existing incapacity benefit claimants are now being reassessed under the work capability assessment. The process will last until 2014 with around 1.5 million people being reassessed.

There are two parts of ESA: a work-related activity component and a support component. If individuals are assessed as being able to take part in work-related activity (i.e. activity which could be done to help the individual move towards work) they will receive the work-related activity component of ESA. If claimants are deemed as having a particularly severe health condition or disability, whose capability for work is limited to the extent that it is not reasonable to require them to engage in work-related activity, they will be placed in the support group (and receive a higher level of ESA).

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