Tests by the Department for Work and Pensions find many claiming sickness benefits are fit to work
By Matthew Barrett
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Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions has released figures today showing claimants of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) - which is to replace Incapacity Benefit - are, in many cases, fit to work.
The new ESA benefit requires a test to see if claimants are able to undertake work. Figures from the Department showed that of those who took the test, 75% could work. More detailed figures show:
- One in 14 applicants is unable to do any work in the long-term
- 39% were “fit for work” and moved on to job-seekers’ allowance
- 17% were awarded ESA but classified as able to work in the longer-term
- 7% were deemed incapable of any work
- However, 36% of claims were closed before the assessment stage and 1% are still in progress
"For too long in this country we have left people on welfare for year after year when those people, with help and with assistance, could work, and so we’re producing a much better system where we really put people through their paces and say that if you can work, you should work"
The Prime Minister then emphasised the virtue of working:
"The rest are able to work and we’re going to help them to get jobs. That will be good for them, good for their families and good for our economy."