Employment minister Chris Grayling has this week refused to rule out the possibility that employment and support allowance claimants will have their benefit stopped whilst they appeal against a decision that they are capable of work.

Currently claimants receive the assessment rate of ESA whilst they appeal a decision that they are capable of work. However, allegations have been made in national newspapers, including the Times, that ministers are considering stopping such payments, obliging claimants to attempt to claim jobseeker’​s allowance (JSA) whilst they appeal. JSA is a very poor alternative for many claimants, who may struggle to meet the job seeking requirements involved and end up having their JSA sanctioned.

Grayling was asked by labour MP Stephen Timms “​what discussions he has had within his Department about stopping the assessment rate of employment and support allowance for claimants appealing against a decision.”​

In a written reply, Grayling responded that:

“​We are in the process of considering appeals—​as a consequence of the provisions in the Welfare Reform Bill, including universal credit and the requirement to undertake a reconsideration before appealing. However, no decisions have yet been made.”​

The fact that Grayling failed to categorically deny that the assessment rate may not be paid to appellants, 40% of whom go on to win their case, will be a major concern both to claimants to advisors.

You can read Grayling’​s full answer at They Work for You


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