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Incapacity Benefit Reassessment Latest Data

DWP have today released the latest statistics for incapacity benefit reassessment. The data covers claims reassessed between December 2011 and February 2012. The delay in producing the data is to allow time for decisions to be made and data to be sourced.

In the three month period covered by the latest release:

  • 139,200 people were identified for reassessment
  • 126,600 functional assessments were completed
  • 3,700 cases were closed before reassessment
  • 8,900 cases are still in progress (6.4%)

Of the 126,600 completed assessments:

  • 36% were found fit for work
  • 64% were eligible for Employment and Support Allowance - 25% in the support group and 39% in the Work Related Activity Group.

The reassessment of incapacity benefit began nationally in April 2011 following a pilot in October 2010, and is expected to take three years to complete. Over 400,000 benefit claimants have been reassessed since the orignal pilot.  To date 34% have been found fit for work, 26% moved into the ESA support group and 41% into ESA WRAG.  3.7% of all cases are still in progress, some dating back to April 2011.

Click here to download the full data tables which include a breakdown by local authority area.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, acknowledged that many ex-incapacity benefit claimants face a difficult journey back into employment and that this may take time. He highlighted the support that the Work Programme can offer those found fit for work and in the ESA WRA group.  

The release of this data coincides with a DWP push to refer more ESA claimants to the Work Programme. In the year to March 2012, the number of ESA claimants mandated to the Work Programme was significantly lower than expected.  As a result DWP have already started to mandate ESA claimants that are due another Work Capability Assessment three or six months from their last assessment.  From mid-November they are working towards extending this to all ESA claimants who anticipate a further Work Capability Assessment within the next 12 months.  While this may increase ESA referrals providers may find that these new participants are in a much more difficult to help category than anticipated.  Will this action solve one problem, but cause another? 

The next set of Work Programme data is due on November 2012.

6 November 2012

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