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Government Plans To Make ESA Support Group Claimants Do Work Related Activity

November 1, 2016

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.


The government has launched a consultation on changes to the work capability assessment which they say is aimed at putting “an end to the binary ‘can work/can’t work’ groups.” One of the aims of the green paper appears to be to oblige many claimants in the support group to undertake work-related activities.

The government’s green paper proposes a number of measures, including:

  • a review of Statutory Sick Pay and GP fit notes to support workers back into their jobs faster, and for longer;
  • encouraging Jobcentre Plus work coaches to signpost claimants to therapy;
  • the launch of a consultation on Work Capability Assessment reform;
  • encouraging employers to work with their employees with long-term health conditions to stop them from falling out of work;
  • to extending fit notes from doctors to other healthcare professionals to help ensure people receive more tailored support;
  • developing large scale trials on how health-led services and support can help get disabled people and those with long-term conditions back into work – with a specific focus on mental health and musculoskeletal conditions;
  • a wide-ranging debate about recognising the value of work as a health outcome.

However, it is the following passages which will be of most concern to ESA claimants:

“131. Instead, it ought to be possible to build a more effective approach to assessing entitlement to financial and employment support. For instance, establishing entitlement to financial support could still be decided by an assessment, but that assessment could be used solely to determine whether an individual should get additional financial support. Decisions on whether someone should engage with Jobcentre Plus or specialist programmes could then be made through a separate process. This would avoid the current situation where someone’s entitlement to additional financial support can also result in them being given no employment support.

“132. For instance, trained work coaches could have discretion to make case-by-case decisions about the type of employment support a person is able to engage with. To do this effectively, they would work closely with the person, building on information gathered at early discussions such as the Health and Work Conversation to ensure they are signposted to help that is appropriate to their needs. Work coaches will be able to draw on additional advice where needed, from Disability Employment Advisers and Community Partners, and could access specialist advice such as occupational health and Jobcentre Plus work psychologists where individuals have more complex health conditions.

“133. That important relationship with a work coach would then continue beyond the assessment, ensuring those assessed as needing the most financial support can still access the holistic health and employment support and signposting offered by and through Jobcentre Plus. Work coaches could have full discretion to tailor any employment support to each individual claimant. This approach would be truly responsive, allowing the work coach to adjust requirements and goals dependent on changes in a person’s condition or circumstances. This is particularly important for people with fluctuating health conditions, as the support available would always be reflective of their needs.

“134. This would mean that people are really offered a personalised service that takes appropriate account of their needs while still receiving the same financial support as under the current system – rather than having the offer of employment support determined by a fixed category. We would of course put safeguards in place to ensure that work coaches do not require someone to attend an appointment where this would not be reasonable.”

The aim appears to be to place claimants in the support group, allowing them the additional income that being in this group provides, but then leaving it up to work coaches to decide whether the claimant must undertake work-related activities.

The closing date for the consultation is 17 February 2017.

You can download the full consultation document from this link.

You can take part in the consultation from this link.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2016 12:35 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. November 1, 2016 1:10 pm

    How the Hell they expect my severely disabled and brain damaged daughter to do any work when she can’t feed herself, wash or dress herself or even use the toilet is beyond a joke.She can’t even talk, read or write. She has Epilepsy too and has had as many as 163 seizures in one day. She has them every single day. It’s a joke. This country stinks and it makes me ashamed to be British when our most vulnerable citizens are treated in this way by the bunch of idiots running the conservative party.

  3. peter mcdade permalink
    November 1, 2016 1:52 pm

    Work coaches with what clinical qualifications ? Health care professionals over ruling doctors ? Insurance companies are also in on this too, they get to assess work environments suitability for people with disabilities. No doubt Maximus/Remploy “partnership” will be on turbo drive.. This is the packaging off of the welfare state to the insurance industry, make no mistake about it. This green paper was signed off by Hunt & Green. They’re signing away the social contract which used to be health and social security. If you can get out of the U.K while you still have a European Passport then I’d do it.

    • Existential Angst permalink
      November 3, 2016 9:33 pm

      You are absolutely right, Peter. I’m only sorry that I’m now too old to be considered for emigration. After 2 generations of out-of-control capitalism, the population of this country are now the most selfish, self-interested, greedy, compassion-less and intellectually-challenged in Europe. I’d say God help us all – were I not an atheist. I’m just thankful I’m not a teenager with 50 years of this madness ahead of me. Suicide will be a blessed relief.

  4. November 1, 2016 4:52 pm

    Appears to me they have just invented yet another assessment, hoop for us to jump through.

    I have no intention of allowing myself to be coerced, manipulated, put down, by a DWP work Coach. Or coerced into some kind of state therapy. I would rather be dead.

    Seems they just dont listen or care.

    People in the support group are afraid of the DWP and its minions.

    So what do they intend! forcing us to undergo constant assessment with them.

    This is Cruelty and Abuse of Power……..

  5. November 1, 2016 7:40 pm

    This piece is interesting….in that certain motives are exposed by it. We all know the government motive, yes people will be working but although it will be Living Wage monies achieved by the people on the scheme may be less due to external factors (transport, support and all). Under this benefit JCP have failed miserably to get me into any kind of work OR Training, instead throwing the net to me to continue with therapy at the centre I go to and volunteer work at a Museum 1-3 shifts a week. If a work coach comes in – they’d better be prepared tp read up before making any snap decisions…the last “Work Support” was a disaster.

    • Sally permalink
      November 2, 2016 10:10 am

      There is no genuine support for ill/disabled Tories scrapped disabled access to work fund/Independent living fund and have swiped mobility vehicles away from people with disabilities who were in work but now can’t get there…Its all one big lie its all one big game of mental cruelty and it is discrimination on a mass scale against the most vulnerable DISCRIMINATION is against the laws of this Country but no one uses it as a point of law…We haven’t got the money/we can’t afford it says everyone on fb CONSTANTLY. CROWDFUND = FEE=LAWYER=THROWING A MASSIVE SPOTLIGHT ON GOVERNMENTS AGENDA ON VULNERABLE PEOPLE…OR ARE YOU ALL JUST GOING TO SIT AROUND AND WAIT TO BE KILLED OFF.

  6. November 1, 2016 8:43 pm

    Reblogged this on campertess.

  7. Ray permalink
    November 1, 2016 11:46 pm

    Government using the Nazi handbook part two.

  8. Sally permalink
    November 2, 2016 9:54 am

    I did say right from the start that those people in the support group should be on their guard because it really didn’t mean much and that being put in the support group only means that you have been put on the sadistic Tories back burner…no one listens…these things need to be nipped in the bud… feeling frustrated and upset that no one listens to me and takes action and now its too late again…

  9. jib permalink
    November 2, 2016 6:52 pm

    Sally you are correct but people in SG are too ill in main to fight this. Suicide will be my only option as a completely housebound and most of the time bed bound person

  10. mili68 permalink
    November 16, 2016 6:50 pm

    Tweeted @melissacade68

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