Working welfare: a radically new approach to sickness and disability benefits

Document type
Pickles, Charlotte; Holmes, Ed; Titley, Hannah
Date of publication
1 February 2016
Reform welfare
Social Policy, Disabled people, Mental health services, Employment
Social welfare
Material type

Download (385KB )

The UK working-age benefits system is complex and confusing. Successive governments have made piecemeal reforms which have left a complicated picture of multiple benefits, each with different eligibility criteria, application processes and interactions with the labour market.

The package of financial reforms detailed in this report, create a vision for a simpler, more effective out-of-work benefit system for people with health conditions. This is not about savings, but about creating a better system.

These structural reforms must be matched by an equally effective system of employment support services, and Reform’s vision for this will be the subject of a third and final report in this series.

Key recommendations:

  • A single out-of-work allowance should be established, removing all out-of-work disability-related premiums.
  • The savings from moving to a single out-of-work allowance should be reinvested into increased rates for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and increased provision of support programmes to help claimants move back into work.
  • Universal Credit should be assessed through a single, online gateway made up of three components: an administrative assessment, Proximity to the Labour Market Diagnostic, and health questionnaire.

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