I suspect this recently published DWP research will come as no surprise to anyone here:-

https://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2011-2012/rrep774.pdf

Return to work
Relatively few claimants had returned to work a year to 18 months after their initial claim, regardless of their employment origins. Just over one-quarter (26 per cent) of people in employment prior to their claim who were allowed ESA (those who were in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) or Support Group) had returned to work by the time of the follow-up survey, compared to only nine per cent of those who were not in employment prior to claiming.

Health and health beliefs are central to return to work. Early recovery was a strong predictor of a return to employment. Change in health status was also important: for men, improved health was strongly associated with an increased likelihood of entering employment;‚Äč for women, deteriorating health reduced the likelihood of being in work. Among claimants who were in work before their claim, the belief that work improves health was associated with a higher likelihood of work resumption.

Qualifications also play a role. For claimants who had been in work immediately before claiming ESA, having qualifications was a significant predictor of return to work.

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