Under new ruling, if recipients are deemed unfit to work as their medical conditions will not improve (e.g. Huntingdon’s, autism, congenital heart conditions), they will continue receiving ESA with no further assessments. The government are consulting health professionals to define criteria which will allow people to fall into this category.
Here at Freedom we have seen many recipients of this benefit walk through our doors, so it is close to our heart that this ruling has changed. Currently, claimants have a work capability assessment from every 3 months to every 2 years.
Damian Green, the Work and Pensions secretary has stated that it is pointless retesting claimants of ESA who suffer from severe conditions who have no prospect of getting better. He has explained that he wants a “personalised” way to help more disabled people find jobs. Green has also explained that he feels he has a duty to change mindset of businesses in that “we want them to realise that there’s a huge pool of talented people who are disabled and want to work and can contribute fully in the workplace.”
Scope chief executive Mark Atkinson has said: “The current fit-for-work test doesn’t accurately identify the barriers disabled people face in entering or staying in work. An assessment should be the first step to getting support, and should be separate from determining benefits entitlement.”
Although Michelle Mitchell has said that this is a “victory for common sense”, there are still some criticisms. The fact that this doesn’t consider mental health issues and other conditions that can fluctuate rapidly shows that the government still has a way to go on benefit assessments.
However, it can only be argued that this is a positive step taken by the government in regards to the welfare system and the care of communities, as this rule will relieve unnecessary stress caused to those who are already some of the most vulnerable people in our society.