Employment and Support Allowance: the case for change

Document type
Pickles, Charlotte; Holmes, Ed; Titley, Hannah
Date of publication
1 December 2015
Reform welfare
Social Policy, Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This briefing paper looks at who is claiming out-of-work incapacity-related benefits, and how this has changed in the last five years.

This is the first of three publications. The next paper will look at the structure of the out-of-work incapacity-related benefit system, and what opportunities emerge from the transition between working-age benefits and Universal Credit (UC). The final paper will look at reforming employment support in order to help claimants.

This document considers the key UK trends in characteristics of out-of-work incapacity-related benefit claimants, and compares the challenges faced in the UK to other OECD countries.

Each chapter considers a different aspect in depth:

  • Sustaining the cost with a high caseload.
  • Claimant characteristics over different regions.
  • The shift in age towards younger claimants.
  • The proportion of claimants with mental health problems.

This paper delivers a comprehensive study of the challenges faced, and offers a strong case for reform.

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