Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Incapacity checks: '54% can work'

Employment Minister Mark Hoban says Government changes to benefits have created a fairer system

Over half of people being newly assessed for an allowance which replaced Incapacity Benefit were found to be able to do some form of work, according to Government figures.

The Department for Work and Pensions said new claims for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) showed that 54% of people assessed could do some work, while 46% were eligible for the benefit.

The figures, for the quarter to February, also showed that one in four of those assessed were put in a group given unconditional support as they were too ill or disabled to work.

Those found fit for work will be helped through initiatives like the Work Programme to find a job.

ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit in 2008.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: "We know that many people with disabilities or health conditions want to work and that the old Incapacity Benefit system simply wrote them off to a lifetime on benefits.

"We are determined to carry on improving the assessment so those who are too unwell to work get the financial support they need, while those who can work get the help they need to get a job.

"With annual independent reviews and by working with medical experts and charities, we have substantially improved the Work Capability Assessment process, which is resulting in a fairer system."

:: The DWP said the figures related to 81,800 claims starting between last December and February 2012.

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