ESA benefit payments: Re-tests axed for chronically ill claimants

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ESA benefit payments: Re-tests axed for chronically ill claimants

Post by eddie on Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:05 am

ESA benefit payments: Re-tests axed for chronically ill claimants

Tens of thousands of people claiming the main benefit for long-term sickness will no longer face repeated medical assessments to keep their payments.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said it was pointless to re-test recipients of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with severe conditions and no prospect of getting better.

More than two million people receive ESA, which is worth up to £109 a week.

The move has been welcomed by charities supporting those with severe illness.

Michelle Mitchell, head of the MS Society, described it as a "victory for common sense".

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said it was "a welcome U-turn" by the government, but "the devil was in the detail".

"What about mental health conditions, conditions that are fluctuating, conditions that may not necessarily have a physical manifestation?" she said.

'Unnecessary stress'

Applicants for ESA have to undergo a work capability assessment to find out if they are eligible and they are re-tested to ensure their condition has not changed. Some are re-tested every three months and others up to two years later.

Under the government's change, those who are deemed unfit for work and with conditions that will not improve will no longer face re-testing.

Illnesses such as severe Huntington's, autism or a congenital heart condition are among those that are likely to qualify for continuous payments without reassessment. The criteria will be drawn up with health professionals.

Mr Green said a "key part" of making sure those who were unable to work received "full and proper support" included "sweeping away any unnecessary stress and bureaucracy".

The measure will be formally unveiled at the four-day Conservative Party conference, which begins in Birmingham on Sunday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37526324


This is simply about time.

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