Photo of Joan Walley

Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that no cancer patients lose their contributory employment and support allowance until planned changes to the way cancer patients are assessed for that benefit have been fully implemented.

Photo of Chris Grayling

Chris Grayling (The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative)

From April 2012 onwards, claimants of contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) in the Work Related Activity Group will have their contributory benefit subjected to a time limit of 12 months. People in the Support Group will not have their benefit time-limited because they have the most severe health conditions or impairments and are the least likely to move into work. People receiving income-related ESA will not have their benefit time-limited.

Entitlement to ESA is not based on a person's health condition or disability, but rather on the way their health condition or disability limits their functional capability. We are committed to ensuring that cancer patients receive their full entitlement. Our informal consultation on accounting for the effects of cancer treatment in the work capability assessment closes on 9 March 2012. We will publish a consultation response in due course which will outline our proposals.

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