Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tougher work tests for disabled

Tougher work tests for disabled
Fewer sick and disabled people will qualify for disability benefits for being unable to work after a new test is introduced from next year.
Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain says the changes will end what he calls "sick note Britain".

But campaigners from the Disability Alliance say they have grave reservations about the consequences of bringing in a tougher test.

The new disability test could cut the number of annual claimants by 20,000.

The new work capability assessment, published for the first time on Tuesday, is being introduced alongside the employment support allowance - which will replace incapacity benefits for new claimants from next autumn.

At the moment more than 60% of the people who apply for incapacity benefits are successful, but only 50% of people who take the new test are likely to pass it.

Those who fail will be expected to seek work.

Mr Hain says the new system will place greater emphasis on what sick and disabled people can do rather than what they cannot.

But Neil Betteridge, head of the charity Arthritis Care, says he is worried the new test will not take enough account of people whose conditions change from day to day.


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