7 December 2010

Details of how the 12 month limit for receiving contribution-based employment and support allowance will work have been published by the DWP, confirming claimants’ worst fears.

The 12 month time limit will be imposed from April 2012, but it will be retrospective.  This means that claimants who have already been getting contribution-based ESA for 12 months will have their payments stopped immediately. 

Time spent in the assessment phase will be included in the calculation of the twelve months.

Where a claimant is transferred from incapacity benefit to contribution-based ESA, the twelve months will begin to run from the date of their transfer to ESA.

The time limit does not apply to claimants in the support group or to claimants who are receiving income-related ESA. 

The DWP estimate that by 2016/17 around one million people will have been affected by the changes.  Some will be able to claim some income-related ESA but around two thirds will lose over £90 per week of their ESA payments. Final losses to these claimants, after increases in other benefits such as housing benefit have been taken into account, will average around £50 a week.


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