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Over half of all initial claimants for employment and support allowance (ESA) are placed in the support group, but claims are taking longer to decide, according to figures released by the DWP last week.

For initial claims to the quarter to March 2019:

  • 53% were placed in the support group. This is an increase of 5% since the previous quarter.
  • 21% were placed in the work-related activity group, down 1%.
  • 26% were found fit for work, down 5% since the last quarter.

The vast majority of work capability assessments are now repeat assessments for existing claimants rather than initial claims, however.

The number of initial assessments decreased in the quarter to March 2019 from 59,000 to 41,000.

Completed repeat assessments increased from 160,000 to 190,000. This represents a huge increase from December 2015 when there were just 35,000 ESA reassessments. The DWP’s explanation is that for almost two years, up to December 2015, they were focusing on initial assessments.

The proportion of ESA repeat assessments placed in the support group has increased from 72% last quarter to 75% this quarter, while the proportion with a fit for work outcome has decreased from 11% last quarter to 9% this quarter. 16% were placed in the WRAG.

The time taken to complete a WCA, from initial contact with the claimant to decision, increased from 15 weeks in December 2018 to 20 weeks in March 2019.

However, the time taken for a mandatory reconsideration to be completed fell from 15 days in December 2018 to 8 days in June 2019.

35% of mandatory reconsiderations result in a change in the decision.

The number of ESA mandatory reconsiderations has fallen dramatically, however, from a high of 22,000 in March 2017 to 4,700 in July 2019.

You can download the latest ESA statistics from this link.


+1 #4 Rachael 2019-09-18 18:19
I would like to share my horrendous experience of the pip medical recently, if only to vent my sheer frustration and anger at a system not fit for purpose. After being awarded lifetime dla, i now had to apply for pip. This is a stress in itself and a complete waste of time as i'm pretty sure they don't read it. At the assessment my appointment was one and a half hours late and the assessor was so cold and uncaring (once again, no experience with mental health) i would have received more warmth and compassion from a psychopath.
When i told her i was self harming and was seriously depressed she never batted an eyelid or advised me to seek help.
She then asked me stupid, inane questions that to me, had nothing to do with my mental health. To discuss your intimate mental health problems with a stranger is just so humiliating and traumatic. And for what? They have now told me i am not entitled to pip as i scored 0 points! I will post more on this another time.
+3 #3 Rachael 2019-09-18 17:52
I am due to be reassessed for my esa and i agree it's a total shambles. I have been through this mental merry go round twice and am due a third assessment any time now.
I would like to know the true cost to a person's mental heath because mine has seriously deteriorated.
The assessments are a joke. You are interrogated (sorry, interviewed) by people who have no experience regarding mental health problems (what sort of system is it that allows psysiotherapist s to pass judgement on those with mental health problems)? If you go to the medical they say you must be ok and stop your money. If you can't go, they stop your money. It's a system that's been built on bullying and threats.
+5 #2 killathered 2019-09-18 12:00
They continue to reassess in the hope we give up and dont claim
+6 #1 mrfibrospondodysthmatic 2019-09-17 15:07
This just goes to show, that the claimants in the S.G are being repeatedly re-assessed only to find they are still too ill and disabled to not be placed in any other group. Common sense would be for the DWP to cancel all further ESA SG reassessments.

It's totally ludicrous, time wasting, and a waste of public monies, recalling claimants fully knowing they will not ever work again, and no employer will employ them knowing fully well they are too ill to be employed by an employer. Hence there's no jobs out there for the ill sick disabled claimants in the ESA SG Group whatsoever.

Apart from this, this fiasco of re-assessment can only cause the claimants endless stress, which will and only exacerbates their already illnesses.

Its criminal that claimants continuously have to keep going through this. There sub group which they have implemented as in regards for people not being re-called up for re-assessments, is a sham.

Basically you need to be dying or die before you can get into the group.

This Tory government are hell bent on making sure sick ill disabled peoples life's are made to be a misery more than they already are. And hopefully they want you not to live to collect state pensions.

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