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Employment and Support Allowance. Angela Toal CPAG in Scotland. Context and background. New deal for welfare – empowering people to work, January 2006: Reduce numbers on IB by one million Achieve 80% employment rate Welfare Reform Bill 2006 Welfare Reform Act, May 2007

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Employment and support allowance

Employment and Support Allowance

Angela Toal

CPAG in Scotland

Context and background
Context and background

  • New deal for welfare – empowering people to work, January 2006:

    • Reduce numbers on IB by one million

    • Achieve 80% employment rate

  • Welfare Reform Bill 2006

  • Welfare Reform Act, May 2007

  • Draft regulations, January 2007

What s changing

Incapacity benefit


Income support

Employment and Support Allowance:



contribution–based benefit

What’s changing

Esa first 13 weeks
ESA – first 13 weeks

Income based premiums/housing costs

Basic allowance

(Income-based or contributory)

Three assessments

To get ESA

To decide level

of benefit

To inform

action plan

Three Assessments

Revised PCA

Work-related activity/

support group


health assessment

Revised personal capability assessment
Revised personal capability assessment

  • Assessment of ‘limited capability for work’

  • Review of PCA

  • Some descriptors removed

  • Some new and revised descriptors

  • No exemption for severely disabled

Work related activity or support component
Work-related activity or support component?

  • Test of ‘limited capability for work-related activity’

  • Depends on ability to undertake work-related activity

  • Must satisfy one of the physical or mental descriptors

  • Some exemptions

Limited capability for work related activity

Physical descriptors

Can’t move more than 30m

Can’t rise from sitting or move from one seat to another

Can’t turn a tap or pick up £1 coin

Can’t bring food/drink to mouth, chew or swallow

Can’t be understood by speaking, writing, typing or sign language

Mental descriptors

Can’t wash, bring food or drink to mouth, chew or swallow without help or prompting

Can’t learn simple task, or complete task day after learning

Can’t plan, organise, solve problems, prioritise, switch tasks at all, or without prompting

Limited capability for work-related activity

Esa after 13 weeks
ESA – after 13 weeks

Income-based premiums/housing costs

Work-related component or support component

(Income-based or contributory)

Basic allowance

(Income-based or contributory)

Wra group what is expected

Work-focused health assessments

Looks at barriers to getting or keeping work, claimants aspirations and views

Report sent to personal adviser

Pathways to Work

Work-focused interviews, action plans

Work-related activity - ‘as resources allow’

WRA group – what is expected?

Work related activity
Work-related Activity

  • ‘Work tasters’ eg voluntary or permitted work

  • Condition Management Programmes eg NHS Expert Patients programmes

  • Improving employability eg basic skill programme, Jobcentre Plus or external training programmes

  • Jobsearch assistance, eg contact with NDDP, Disability Employment Advisers

  • Stabilising life eg cognitive behavioural therapy, assessing childcare options

Sanctions and safeguards

50% reduction of WRA component

100% reduction after four weeks

if do not fully comply in WFIs, WRHAs or WRA and cannot show good cause

Safeguards before sanctions applied

Sanctions and safeguards



Disability premium