Belfast Telegraph

Most benefit recipients 'can work'

More than two thirds of people receiving Incapacity Benefit in Northern Ireland are capable of doing at least some work, new government figures have indicated.

Around 76,000 recipients are currently undergoing assessment to gauge their ability to return to work.

Of the 9,328 people assessed so far, 2,202 were found to be capable of work and 4,262 were deemed to have some capability of work.

Around 30% - 2,864 - were found to be not capable of any work, primarily due to ill health or learning difficulties.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said the reassessment of Incapacity Benefit recipients was making a real difference to the lives of people who would otherwise have been left trapped in the benefits system.

"The reassessment of Incapacity Benefit customers is vitally important," he said.

"It ensures that we do not allow people to languish on a life of benefits, with no opportunity or support to move back into employment.

"It's well recognised that having a job is both good for the individual and for the community, the old Incapacity Benefit regime, however, ensured that this was not an option for people; it consigned many of those who received it to a life of economic inactivity and focussed on how their illness limited their ability to work.

"This reassessment process, however, is focussing on what people can do, and giving them the support they need to take the necessary steps, for the first time in a long time, towards getting back to work."

Those found capable of work will no longer get the benefit and move to Jobseekers Allowance in a bid to find employment.


From Belfast Telegraph