New statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that more incapacity benefit (IB), severe disablement allowance (SDA), and income support (IS) claimants who are reassessed for employment and support allowance (ESA) are found to be eligible for ESA than claimants submitting a new claim for the benefit.

The statistics cover reassessment claims for the period December 2011 to February 2012 and rely on either the decision-makers decision, or a recommendation by an Atos healthcare professional (HCP) where a decision-makers decision is not available. They show that 64% of claimants were entitled to ESA following reassessment.

Of the 64%, 39% of claimants were placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG), and 25% were placed in the support group. A significant proportion of claimants, 36%, were found fit the work. The authors of the report suggest that a possible explanation for the difference in the proportion of claimants awarded ESA when moving from incapacity benefits to those making a new claim for ESA is the fact that IB, SDA, and IS claimants have longer-term multiple health problems.

The report shows there are a smaller number of reassessed claims still in progress than for new claims, and a lower proportion of claims closed before assessment than for new ESA claims. No explanation is given for closed claims, other than reference to a piece of research published by the DWP that investigated why new ESA claims are closed before assessment. The research found that “​An important reason why ESA claims in this sample were withdrawn or closed before they were fully assessed was because the person recovered and either returned to work, or claimed a benefit more appropriate to their situation.”​

The report provides statistics for the outcomes of reassessments by geographic area for the period from October 2010 to February 2012. Although the variations between regions are slight, the statistics show that claimants in the Midlands and Wales are more likely to be found fit for work than claimants living elsewhere in the UK.

The DWP report “​Employment and Support Allowance –​ Incapacity Benefits Reassessments: Outcomes of Work Capability Assessments, Great Britain”​ can be found here.


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