Under new DWP proposals more people with cancer will be placed in the support group for employment and support allowance (ESA). The revised proposals are the result of an informal consultation exercise conducted by the government in response to Professor Harrington'​s second independent review of the work capability assessment (WCA), and have taken account of comments from Macmillan and other cancer charities, and from people with cancer and their families.

The revised proposals expand the categories of cancer treatments under which claimants can be placed in the support group for ESA. The proposals mean that more claimants waiting for, receiving or recovering from chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are likely to be placed in the support group. There will be a presumption that such claimants will be placed in the support group and the debilitating effects of treatment will be the determining factor when deciding entitlement to ESA. The condition that treatment must be continuous for a period of six months will be removed.

A new ‘​light touch’​ simple pro forma is being developed by the DWP in consultation with Macmillan and the Royal College of Radiologists which will be completed by the relevant healthcare professional and will be attached to the ESA50 form. Claimants will not then have to complete the whole ESA50 questionnaire, and decisions will be made without the need for face-to-face assessments as far as possible.

The DWP estimates that an additional 10% of claimants with cancer currently in the work-related activity group (WRAG) for ESA will be moved to the support group and that the changes will impact on around an additional 600 claimants a year.

The revised proposals are expected to be implemented by early 2013.

You can download the full DWP report on the consultation exercise and the revised proposals.


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