ESA Reassessment Rules ‘Relaxed’
The Department for Work and Pensions is to relax the rules regarding reassessment of the employment support allowance (ESA), which was taking place every six months for those with severe and/or lifelong conditions.
Damian Green, work and pensions secretary, has said that the ESA will continue automatically for people who do have such conditions and don’t have any prospects of improvement where their health is concerned, the Guardian reports.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today show, Mr Green said: “I believe in a welfare state where you have got to be hard-headed, but you shouldn’t be hard-hearted. We want the welfare state to work for everyone, just as we want the economy to work for everyone, and there are a group of people for whom constant reassessment is pointless and which does increase their stress and anxiety levels.”
Chief executive at disability charity Scope Mark Atkinson welcomed the development, saying that this will certainly be good news for some people over the short term, adding that it’s also good that the government has now recognised that the Work Capability Assessment scheme does need to be reformed.
He went on to note, however, that Scope would also like to see Whitehall taking this further and launching a consultation with disabled people about the reform of the tests in place to see if people are fit to work. This must take place in order for the government to achieve its goal of halving the disability employment gap by the year 2020, Mr Green added.
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