The government has announced that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants with certain severe chronic illnesses will not need to be reassessed to keep their payments.
The testing process, which can include reassessments of conditions, has come under intense criticism for failing some of the most seriously ill and disabled. The criteria will be drawn up with health professionals but illnesses such as severe Huntingdon's, autism or a congenital heart condition, are among those that are likely to qualify for continuous payments without reassessment.
Work and Pensions Secretary Damien Green said: "We are building a country that works for everyone - not just the privileged few. A key part of that is making sure that all those who are able to work are given the support and the opportunity to do so. But it also means ensuring that we give full and proper support to those who can’t.
"That includes sweeping away any unnecessary stress and bureaucracy - particularly for the most vulnerable in society. If someone has a disease which can only get worse then it doesn't make sense to ask them to turn up for repeated appointments. If their condition is not going to improve, it is not right to ask them to be tested time after time. So we will stop it.”
Turn2us Chief Executive Simon Hopkins said: “We are delighted that the government has listened to the many concerns raised about the reassessment process and decided to end this very stressful and costly practice.
“Our own research found that one in four people with disabilities felt the recent benefit changes made it difficult to apply so this announcement will be a great relief. Anything that brings greater certainty and practical simplicity is welcome”
If you have an illness or disability, the ‘Ill, Injured or Disabled' section of our website has useful information on the benefits, grants and other forms of support that may be available to you.
If you are struggling financially, you can use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances and needs.
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