Employment and Support Allowance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th March 2015.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the written statement by Lord Freud on 27 November 2014 (HLWS32), when they plan to bring forward the measure to prevent claimants being paid the Employment Support Allowance assessment rate if they have already been found fit for work but have made a repeat claim, and what consideration they have given to the implications this will have for disabled people and those with fluctuating conditions.

Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the scoring for Work Capability Assessment applicants with mental health problems has been loaded to make it more difficult for women to qualify for the support group than it is for men; and, if so, why.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Regulations that implement the measure making changes to how repeat claims for Employment and Support Allowance are dealt with were laid before Parliament on 5th March.

The Regulations can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2015/437.

The criteria for eligibility for the support group in Employment and Support Allowance remains the same for men and women.

The updated guidance for healthcare professionals on the assessment of risk in claimants with a Mental Health condition was developed with input from senior psychiatrists. It differentiates between men and women in relation to suicide risk because the suicide rate in men is significantly higher than in women.

The guidance makes clear that the assessment of risk needs to focus both on the claimant’s health and whether the claimant could cope with work-related activity.

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Jane Birkby
Posted on 13 Mar 2015 12:50 am (Report this annotation)

I do not trust Lord Freud to deliver a fair system of help for the people, because it is based primarily on saving money and not on allowing ill and disabled people to access the help they desperately need and have paid for.
Using private companies to do assessments etc. means they have no empathy or link with claimants, and can therefore be made to make discriminatory decisions without conscience.