Callous switch of disability benefit definition

One of the hidden and apparently subtle changes to the 1% uprating of benefits for the next three years is the definition of Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

The Government has stated that all disability related benefits are safe from the 1% uprating of benefits. However, look through the detail and you see that this is simply not the case.

Disabled People Against Cuts for The Atos Game...
Disabled People Against Cuts for The Atos Games Demo Birmingham (Photo credit: dis_ppl_protest)

Employment Support Allowance is the disability benefit that replaces the old Incapacity Benefit. Within this is the Work Related Activity Group which includes disabled people who are expected to go back to work. (Support group, people not expected to work, continues to get inflation uprating)

The Government itself in its own analysis recognises that all people by definition who receive ESA have an impairment. So… the big question is, is ESA now an employment benefit in line with Jobseeker’s Allowance or is it a benefit for disabled people to help them while they look for work?

Disability Rights UK provide a damning analysis of this change – LINK

On top of this, the Government has also introduced a 12 month time-limiting of Employment Support Allowance. Disabled people on contributory Employment Support Allowance (includes people who have contributed taxes) and find themselves out of work will lose this benefit if they haven’t found a job within 12 months.  This shows total lack of consideration to the effects of disability discrimination and the fact that those who have newly acquired an impairment will spend several of those first few months just adjusting their lives.

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