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The DWP has begun telephoning claimants whose employment and support allowance (ESA) is due to end because of the time-limiting of contribution-based ESA for claimants in the work-related activity group (WRAG). Payments will cease for some claimants from 30 April 2012.

Claimants are now only entitled to 365 days of contribution-based ESA if they are in the WRAG. Time spent in the assessment phase which is immediately followed by being placed in the WRAG counts towards the 365 days. The new rules are retrospective, meaning that people who have already spent a year in the WRAG on contribution-based ESA will lose their benefit from 30 April unless they are entitled to income-related ESA.

Claimants in the support group will not be affected and payments of income-related ESA will also not be stopped.

The first payments are due to end on 30 April and the DWP have begun telephoning claimants whose payments are expected to end between 30 April and 3 June. They are being informed of the ending of their payment and asked if they wish to apply for income-related ESA.

Claimants whose payments are due to end after 3 June will be given eight weeks’​ notice.

Income-related ESA is means-tested. Claimants who have too much income (depending on their circumstances), capital of £​16,000 or more or whose partner works for 24 hours a week or more are unlikely to qualify for income-related ESA.

The DWP claim that around 60% of those affected by the changes will be entitled to some income-related ESA.

Claimants whose condition has worsened may be able to ask for their award to be looked at again if they consider they should now be in the support group, where the time limit does not apply.

More details from the DWP website

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