Incapacity benefits shake-up

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THOUSANDS of Calderdale benefits claimants are to have their cases reassessed under a radical shake-up of the welfare system.

Around 6,800 people in the area are currently receiving long-term incapacity benefits due to illness, disability or mental health issues.

Letters were being sent to all of them from yesterday, asking them to complete a work capability assessment to see what work, if any, they may be able to do.

Those declared fit to work will be put on to jobseekers’ allowance and expected to look for employment.

Those who could work, but who need extra help to do so, will move onto employment and support allowance and receive tailored support to help them back into a job.

Anyone still deemed unable to work will be entitled to the highest rate of employment and support allowance.

The cases of around 1.6 million people will be re-examined nationwide over the next three years.

They will be asked to provide written information and evidence from their doctor about their condition, and go through a reassessment exercise.

Those who qualify for a state retirement pension in the next three years, or who are too ill to attend an assessment, will be exempt from the process.

Chris Grayling, minister for employment, said: “We will provide unconditional support to those whose health means they cannot possibly work. But we will put real effort into trying to help the others find a better role in life.”

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