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Social Security Benefits: Disability

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) incapacity benefit, (b) disability living allowance and (c) employment support allowance benefit claims there were subsequently proved to be unsubstantiated in the last year for which figures are available.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Please note that incapacity benefit was replaced by employment and support allowance (ESA) for new claims from October 2008. The reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants for eligibility for employment and support allowance started in April 2011 and is expected to end in 2014.

Information on the number of incapacity benefits claimants being reassessed for ESA using the work capability assessment (WCA) is not available. Due to the overall length of the incapacity benefits reassessment process, information on the process including the final outcomes, subsequent destinations of claimants being reassessed and appeals is not yet available. Individual level data are being collected, but it will take time to complete because of the overall length of the reassessment process. The Department plans to publish data on the outcomes of the reassessment process but only once they have been quality assured and are considered robust.

The number of disability living allowance (DLA) new claim decisions made from April 2010 to March 2011 was 453,000 and 257,000 (57%) were rejected. The total rejected on medical grounds was 256,000 and 1,000 were rejected because the DLA eligibility criteria was not satisfied.

The Department regularly publishes information on employment support allowance and the work capability assessment. The latest report was published in October 2011 and can be found on the departmental website here:


Table 2 in the above publication shows that there were 447,500 new ESA claims that underwent an initial WCA between June 2010 and May 2011 (the latest data available), of these 265,000 (59%) were found fit for work.


1. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest percentage point and numbers of cases have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

2. Disability living allowance data are sourced from Department for Work and Pensions, RDA60209 and RDA60205 reports—DLA Management Information Statistics.

3. Employment and support allowance data are sourced from Atos Healthcare and DWP departmental administrative data.

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