Review finds a third on benefits are fit to work
MORE than a third of people whose claims for incapacity benefit have been reassessed in South Wales have been found “fit for work,” new figures have revealed.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has so far reassessed 2,030 people in South Wales who have been claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA), or Income Support (IS) on the grounds of incapacity.
Following that review, they are either moved onto the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA), or found fit for work and expected to seek employment as part of the Government’s reform of the welfare system.
New DWP figures show that of the 830 claimants reassessed in Swansea, 37 per cent have been found fit for work.
In Neath Port Talbot, 39 per cent of the 580 people that have been reassessed were declared fit for work.
And in Carmarthenshire, 41 per cent of the 620 people that have been reassessed were found fit for work.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the figures justified their reassessment policy.
Mr Grayling said: “These figures show how much of a waste of human life the current system has been. Too many people have been left languishing on benefits for too long.
“We are providing support to those who need it, but it is right that those who are able to work should do so.
“It’s much better to help people on the journey back to work than to leave them on benefits for the rest of their lives.”
The DWP figures show that in Swansea, 63 per cent of those people who have already been assessed will continue to receive some form of incapacity benefit.
The majority — 35 per cent — have been placed in the Work- Related Activity Group, which means they will be expected to attend six work-focused interviews as part of the Pathways to Work scheme in order to qualify.
The remaining 28 per cent of people have been placed in the Support Group, which means that taking part in the Pathways to Work scheme is voluntary.
In Neath Port Talbot, 61 per cent of those already been assessed will continue to receive some form of incapacity benefit. Of those assessed, 41 per cent have been placed in the Work-Related Activity Group, and 20 per cent placed in the Support Group.
In Carmarthenshire, 59 per cent will continue to receive some form of incapacity benefit, 35 per cent have been placed in the Work- Related Activity Group, and 24 per cent have been placed in the Support Group.
Charities claim as many as 40 per cent of people who are assessed fit to work appeal against that verdict and 40 per cent of those appeals succeed.
Paul Farmer, of the mental health charity Mind, accused ministers of being misleading by omitting appeals from the figures.
He said: “The figures do not accurately reflect how many people are genuinely fit for work. The numbers are misleading as they do not show the full effect of the people who appeal the outcome of their assessment and the 40 per cent of these appeals which are successful.”
Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager
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