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Friday 21st October 2016

Government reforms begin with fitness for work assessments

11th October 2010

The first big phase of the government’s radical welfare reform programme starts today, as long-term incapacity benefit claimants in Burnley and Aberdeen will be the first across the country to be reassessed for their ability to work.

The reassessment is designed to end the one-size-fits all approach to those with health conditions and disabilities which has led to 2.1 million people being trapped on benefits.

With so many people abandoned on long-term sickness benefits, Ministers are determined to reform the welfare system and help those who have been previously written off get back to work and regain their independence.

Incapacity benefit claimants in Burnley and Aberdeen will have a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which determines what a person can do, not simply what they cannot.

Ministers are clear that the most severely disabled and people who are terminally ill will not be expected to look for work and will get extra help through Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

However, those people who are reassessed and found fit for work will move onto Jobseekers Allowance and will be expected to look for work like other jobseekers. Those who could work but need extra help and support to become work ready will move onto Employment and Support Allowance and receive tailored support to get back to work.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said:

"It’s unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits and today marks the start of the journey back to work for thousands who have been cast aside.

"We know that many of the people trapped on incapacity benefits could and do want to work, but the current system doesn’t allow them to.

"That’s why we’ll be reassessing everyone claiming incapacity benefits, starting in Burnley and Aberdeen today and the rest of the country from spring next year.

"Everyone who can work will get the help and support they need to get a job. Those found too sick or disabled to work won’t be expected to and will continue to receive help and support to lead fulfilling lives."


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