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Latest ESA figures – long delays and high failure rates

29 April 2010

The DWP has published its most recent statistic on how many people are getting awards of employment and support allowance. 

An average of over 50,000 people a month are applying for ESA.  Of these, around 20,000 close their claim before being medically assessed, many because they had a short-term condition which has now improved.

Of those who complete the assessment, an average of 9% per month are placed in the support group whilst 23% go into the work-related activity group.  Around 68% of all those who are assessed are found to be capable of work.

The percentage of claimants who appeal a decision that they are capable of work is uncertain because the DWP only list appeals that have actually been heard, rather than including those lodged but not yet decided.  But it appears that between one in three and one in four people found capable of work are challenging the decision via an appeal.

The success rate for these appeals is currently running at 39% or almost one in four.

The figures for assessments still in progress only cover claims made to August of 2009. These show that more than one in ten people who made a claim for ESA last August are still waiting for a decision, five months after their three month assessment phase should have ended.

So, the overall picture is one of a stable, but very low, number of claimants being placed in the work-related activity group and the support group and an appeal success rate that has also remained stable at around four out of ten.  The backlog of  people whose claim is not dealt with in the supposed 13 week assessment phase is clearly growing ever larger, however.

You can download a copy of Employment and support allowance: work capability assessment: official statistics April 2010.