Welfare Reform Bill

Memorandum submitted by Gareth Morris (WR 54)


My concerns relate to the proposal to time limit Contribution Based Employment & Support Allowance if placed into the WRAG to one year and what happens after the one year should you develop further illnesses.

My main concerns regarding the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 is the proposal to time limit Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA) to one year if you are placed into the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).

My concerns are:-

(1) What happens if during their one year on CB ESA their condition deteriorates (or they develop a secondary condition) will they be able to apply for the Support Group if they feel that they are eligible?

(2) What happens if the [medical] condition of the sick/disabled person after they are removed from [WRAG] CB ESA deteriorates such that they believe that they may now be eligible for the Support Group of ESA and have not been able to find suitable employment.   Also what happens if the person develops a different/additional condition which they believe may be eligible for the Support Group of ESA.  Will they be able to submit another claim for (CB) ESA despite not having been able to find a suitable job and thus not been able to pay the required amount of National Insurance Contributions and/or not meeting the means test for Income Based ESA?

(3)  It has been suggested by the DWP that as a result of the time limiting of [WRAG] CB ESA the number of appeals of being placed into the WRAG of ESA rather than the Support Group of ESA will increase, given that the backlog of ESA appeals is currently very high what happens if the appeal of a disabled person on [WRAG] CB ESA takes longer than a year to hear.  Will the disabled person continue to receive the [WRAG] CB ESA up until the outcome of their appeal even if the appeal takes over a year to hear?

April 2011