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IB To ESA Transfer Stats

November 27, 2014

Many thanks to Benefits And Work.

Statistics released today by the DWP show that only 7% of incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants were found capable of work in 2013, with almost 60% being placed in the support group. The figures raise a huge question mark over what the transfer process has achieved, other than causing enormous hardship, distress and, in some cases, the death of claimants.

The figures also show that decision makers are now ten times more likely to disagree with Atos health professionals who find a claimant fit for work than they were in 2009. Decision makers overruled Atos one in every five times that a claimant was considered fit for work by Atos in 2013. When reconsideration decisions and appeal decisions are also taken into account, the level of error by Atos begins to look colossal.

The figures also show a big increase in the proportion of ESA claimants getting into the support group on mental health grounds. There has also been a major rise in the proportion of claimants who do not have to have a face to face assessment before being place in the support group.

The DWP released the statistics to coincide with the fifth independent review of the work capability assessment.

Apart from the first section on IB to ESA transfers, all the figures below relate to initial claims for ESA. They don’t include repeat assessments or incapacity benefit to ESA transfers.

Comparison of initial claims, IB to ESA claims and reassessments
When the effect of appeals is taken into account, there is a big difference between initial claims, incapacity benefit to ESA claims and ESA reassessments.

In 2013, for initial claims:

  • 39% were placed in the support group
  • 26% were placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG)
  • 34% were found fit for work

For ESA reassessments, the percentages were:

  • 53% were placed in the support group
  • 35% were placed in the WRAG
  • 12% were found fit for work

For IB to ESA transfers, the percentages were:

  • 59% were placed in the support group
  • 34% were placed in the WRAG
  • 7% were found fit for work

The figures for IB to ESA reassessment raise a big question mark over whether the whole expensive and deeply distressing process has been worthwhile, when only 7% of transferred claimants in 2013 were found to be fit for work.

Atos versus decision makers

There has been a big increase in the percentage of occasions on which the ESA decision maker (DM) has overruled an Atos finding on initial claims, almost always to the advantage of the claimant.

In 2009, where Atos said the claimant was fit for work the DM agreed in 98% of cases and placed the other 2% in the WRAG.

By 2013 where Atos said the claimant was fit for work the DM agreed in only 80% of cases and placed 17% in the WRAG and 4% in the support group. (Percentages don’t agree due to rounding)

In 2009, where Atos said the claimant should be in the WRAG, the DM agreed in 98% of cases and placed the other 2% in the support group.

By 2013 where Atos said the claimant should be in the WRAG, the DM agreed in 96% of cases and placed 4% in the support group.

In 2009 where Atos said the claimant should be in the support group, the DM agreed in 99% of cases and put 1% in the support group.

By 2013 the decision maker agreed in 100% of cases.

Support group awards

The total number of claimants placed in the support group on initial claim has risen from 31,000 in 2009 to 141,000 in 2013

Mental health awards

There has been a big increase in the proportion of claimants assigned to the support group on initial claim because of mental health. The percentage is up from 25% of those in the support group to 48% of those in the support group.

The proportion of claimants with a mental health condition getting into either group on initial claim has risen from 37% in 2009 to 45% in 2013.

By far the most common reason for an award of ESA on mental health grounds is a depressive episode, accounting for 50% of all awards.

Other anxiety disorders accounts for 18% of the total.

Age

Age can make a big difference to outcomes, with young people aged 16-24 being more likely to be placed in the support group.

In 2009 of claims by 16-24 year olds:

  • 16% went into the support group
  • 32% went into the WRAG and
  • 52% were found fit for work.

There were a total of 39,000 claimants in this group.

By 2013

  • 49% went into the support group,
  • 23% went into the WRAG and
  • 27% were found fit for work.

There were a total of 45,000 claimants in this group, down from 58,000 in 2012.

For claimants aged 25 and over in 2009:

  • 11% went into the support group,
  • 35% went into the WRAG and
  • 54% were found it for work.

There were a total of 260,000 claimants in this age group.

By 2013:

  • 38% went into the support group,
  • 27% went into the WRAG and
  • 35% were found fit for work.

There were a total of 320,000 claimants in this age group, down from a high of 290,000 in 2012.

Paper based assessments

There has been a huge increase in reliance on paper-based assessments for initial claims. These are up from 6% in 2009 to 28% in 2013. These are claimants who are assigned to the support group based on a review of the documents, without needing to have a face to face assessment from Atos.

Regulation 35, physical or mental health risk

Those being placed in the support group because of the exceptional circumstances rules – that there would be a risk to their health or the health of someone else if they were not found to be incapable of work-related activities – has more than doubled from 17% to 38% between 2009 and 2013.

In 2009 47% of these regulation 35 decisions were because of a face to face assessment and 53% were paper based. By 2013 the face to face assessments had fallen to 34% and paper based increased to 66%. These figures have remained similar since 2010.

You can download all of the statistics from the .gov.uk website

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2014 1:29 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. david pearce permalink
    November 27, 2014 8:14 pm

    ‘In 2009 where Atos said the claimant should be in the support group, the DM agreed in 99% of cases and put 1% in the support group.’
    don’t know if I’ve read this right. But to me it says that although the DM agreed with 99% of cases direct to support group – only 1% were put in support group

  3. jeffrey davies permalink
    November 27, 2014 8:29 pm

    i wonder did they give right figures out has wife hasnt passed through hum i wonder more porkies jeff3

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