In the past couple of years, those claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been required to be physically and mentally tested by the Department of Work and Pensions to prove that they don’t have the capacity to work in society. From October 2008 to November 2010, 1.3 million people were tested from all age ranges, economical backgrounds and moral views.
According to the TUC – the Trades Union Congress, a major representative of the working class – the study would cause a drop in benefit expenses, even if the study costs hundreds of thousands to conduct, as it would “take a large portion of benefit receivers out of government expense and into earning their own money” although did they did state that genuinely disabled people were not “trying it on”.
The ESA is the replacement for Incapacity Benefit, the former grant of money to those proven to be incapable of unassisted work. The results have been released by the agency and have some pretty surprising results…
- A mere 7% were fully incapable of work, those with life-crippling illnesses such as muscular deterioration and other diseased which often require a carer.
- 17% were shown to be fit for work, given the right support from help groups.
- A massive 39% were proven to be self-supportable workers and were sent to job centres with recommendations.
- An unnaturally high 36% dropped out of their application process, either finding work or giving up completely and relying on others’ help.
- 1% were currently undergoing review and were ineligible for the other categories.
“These figures show that many people are able to work with the right help. We have strengthened the support now available tailoring it to individual needs so they can overcome whatever barriers they face.” Minister for Work and Pensions Steve Webb stated.
Some people however are critical of the system, that it is just designed to be even tougher to exclude sometimes disabled patients from benefits they need. The TUC has had reports nationwide that the tests are unfair and ineffective. Many are calling for the return of a basic fitness test rather than a full biological “scan”.
I personally feel that these are helpful, as those with a genuine incapability will be granted a rightful income, whilst those simply too lazy wont. Both my mother and father have suffered with and beaten cancer, and their experiences have been different. My mother has also developed Lupus, a muscle-threatening illness which leaves her out of breath just walking to the postbox down the road. She went to her doctor who prescribed her appropriate medicine and repeats her incapacity statement so she can continue earning without damaging her already weakened body. My father was disabled for a few months and wished to return to his job. He went to a local institute who confirmed he was well enough to work and he leapt straight back into selling windows as he was fit enough to work.
What do you think? Is a tougher test right for those with a disability? Or should they be scrapped and replaced with a simpler equivalent? Leave your thoughts below!
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