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DWP Scraps ESA Six-Monthly Reassessments For ‘Chronically Ill’ Claimants

October 1, 2016

Same Difference warmly welcomes this news. We also fully agree with the words of the MS Society below- we would like to see reassessments also stopped for chronically ill claimants on PIP or DLA at the Government’s earliest opportunity. We also agree with respected campaigner Jayne Linney who would like to see the full list of conditions this change will apply to released as soon as possible.

Chronically sick benefit claimants will no longer be required to prove they are still ill every six months, the work and pensions secretary has announced.

The testing process, which includes reassessing conditions every six months, has come under intense criticism for failing some of the most seriously ill and disabled.

The move was welcomed by the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who said he resigned over concerns he could not push the reforms through.

Green said the change was being made because it was pointless to repeatedly test claimants who are not going to get better. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “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.”

Green said it would be a retrograde move to scrap the tests for all ESA claimants, because for the “vast majority of people, work actually helps them”.

But the reforms will help end the anxiety and financial insecurity that claimants may have felt, said Green, who will unveil the plans at the Conservative party conference.

The criteria will be drawn up with health professionals but illnesses such as severe Huntington’s, autism or a congenital heart condition, are among those that are likely to qualify for continuous payments without reassessment.

Green said: “We are building a country that works for everyone – not just the privileged few. A key part of that is making sure that all those who are able to work are given the support and the opportunity to do so. But it also means ensuring that we give full and proper support to those who can’t.

“That includes sweeping away any unnecessary stress and bureaucracy – particularly for the most vulnerable in society.

“If someone has a disease which can only get worse then it doesn’t make sense to ask them to turn up for repeated appointments. If their condition is not going to improve, it is not right to ask them to be tested time after time. So we will stop it.”

The reform will be unveiled at the four-day Conservative party conference, which begins in Birmingham on Sunday.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “This is a victory for common sense. Frequent reassessments for people with progressive conditions such as MS are too often a waste of time and money. They can leave people with uncertainty and fear of having their support taken away.

“We are therefore delighted that the government have listened to our concerns and have agreed to stop reassessments – albeit for only some ESA claimants.

“This is good news, but there’s still a lot more to do for people with MS, including improving the assessment for ESA and calling for inappropriate reassessments to stop for other vital benefits, like PIP.”

Duncan Smith, whose resignation from the role of work and pensions secretary was seen as an attack on the-then leadership of David Cameron and George Osborne, told the Today programme he completely agreed with the changes.

“We worked to change this process, it was one we inherited and it just functioned badly on this area,” he said.

Smith said he hoped the change formed one part of wider reforms that would see the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health collaborate.

“The reason I resigned… was because I felt the disability demand that was in the budget would have absolutely punched a hole straight through what would have been quite a progressive reform, so I welcome this announcement, I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said: “In the short term this will be a welcome change for some disabled people, and it’s good to see the government recognising that the work capability assessment needs wider reform.

“We’d like to see the government going much further and starting a consultation with disabled people on the wholesale reform of the fitness-for-work test.

“Disabled people are pushing hard to get jobs but still face many barriers to find work and thrive in employment. The test should be the first step in identifying those barriers so the right support can be put in place to help people get back to work.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2016 2:10 pm

    A small move – but don’t be fooled – the Tories are still for the rich.

  2. Sarah Davis permalink
    October 1, 2016 2:13 pm

    The Job Centre doesn’t actually provide support any more. I just received an appointment letter from them as my ESA WRAG programme has finished and the letter is basically 3 pages of ways they can sanction me. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and just going out is mostly beyond me. They’ve not exactly put my mind at ease. Last time I had to go there I was told to pull myself together!

  3. October 1, 2016 2:42 pm

    Are they crumbling under pressure? MS is a condition that can be terminal or not it can depend on how your GP uses medication, some seem to not prescribe a medication because of cost while other GP’S do what is best for the patient. I reported my fathers GP and the nurse to the GMC and NMC, this was nearly 30 years ago, nothing happened, but some medication another MS sufferer gave him gave a marked improvement in his condition but his GP wouldn’t prescribe them. when he died I reported them for failing to provide the best possible service to a patient and the nurse for causing death by failing to respond to calls to come out and sort out a blocked catheter and due to their inaction at the beginning causing death of a patient. They swept it under the carpet

  4. October 1, 2016 2:53 pm

    Meanwhile those with severe and enduring mental illness continue to be hounded into deeper insanity and death. Important to be hard headed though isn’t it? I mean we can’t just take it for granted that the vast majority of people want to live a more fulfilled and productive life when clearly they are all just on the take after all. They choose to be useless and we have the right to hound them into oblivion right?

  5. jaypot2012 permalink
    October 1, 2016 6:44 pm

    The tories will never give up on persecuting the disabled and long-term sick – there has to be something else going on…
    PIP claims need to be done in the same way, if you are not going to be able to get around without help then you need the higher rate for life – same with care, if you need it and its not going to change then you need the higher rate and then just left alone.
    I think we’ll be seeing a GE coming soon and that this is a way of trying to achieve the “softer caring tory party”. They also have the UN on their backs so are looking to step back a wee bit…

  6. October 2, 2016 1:12 am

    >”Green said the change was being made because it was pointless
    >to repeatedly test claimants who are not going to get better.”

    Misconduct in Public Office –

    “Examples of behaviour that have in the past fallen within the offence include:
    wilful neglect of a public duty;
    intentional infliction of bodily harm, imprisonment, or

    “It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”


    >”constant reassessment is pointless and which does increase
    >their stress and anxiety levels.”
    Abuse of Vulnerable Adults –

    >”Green said it would be a retrograde move to scrap the tests for all
    >ESA claimants, because for the “vast majority of people, work
    >actually helps them”.

    I saw Labours Debbie Abrahams on C4 news actually use the word “Deaths” today.
    Why only now???

    Homicide: Murder and Manslaughter

    So what are the Labour parties Police and Crime Commissioners, Local and Regional Governments, Unison Cops and Unison Social Workers and Unison NHS and MPs
    Doing about all those “Deaths”???


  1. DWP Scraps ESA Six-Monthly Reassessments For ‘Chronically Ill’ Claimants — Same Difference | Benefit tales
  2. DWP Scraps ESA Six-Monthly Reassessments For ‘Chronically Ill’ Claimants | Same Difference | Jay's Journal

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