Updated 5 April 2013
Incapacity benefits – reassessing claims
Between October 2010 and Spring 2014 customers who receive Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support paid on the grounds of illness or disability will be assessed for Employment and Support Allowance.
The following benefits are being phased out:
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support paid because of an illness or disability
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
Customers who receive these benefits will be reviewed to see if they are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance.
- People who are capable of work will move onto Jobseeker’s Allowance where they satisfy the conditions of entitlement for that benefit.
- People who need more support while they prepare for work will get that help on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- Those people who are most disabled or terminally ill will not be expected to look for work and will get the extra support they need on ESA.
The change will not affect:
- people who are already being paid Employment and Support Allowance
- people who reach state pension age before 6 April 2014.
- Incapacity benefits – the reassessment process – explains how we will contact customers, how we will reassess their claims and what happens afterwards.
Reassessment of everyone on incapacity benefits to see if they are ready and fit for work began on the 11 October 2010 with two trials in Aberdeen and Burnley.
On 25 January 2011 the Minister for Employment announced details of the next steps in the Government’s plans to reassess customers claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB) to see how ready for work they might be. At the end of February, Jobcentre Plus will begin a limited introductory phase before moving to full national reassessment from April:
- from the 28 February, letters will be sent to 1,000 customers a week nationally
- in April, we will increase the number of cases to around 7,000 a week and from May, we will be processing around 11,000 cases a week.
This steady increase in activity will ensure that Jobcentre Plus and its partners are ready for and can deal with customers effectively as the volumes build.
Communications for advisers
We have produced a range of information products to help advisers support customers who are being reassessed. These have been developed in response to feedback given during our stakeholder engagement. Key Customer Representative Groups that DWP work with have also reviewed these products:
A fact sheet explaining reassessment that can be issued to customers by stakeholders.
- Customer factsheet – incapacity benefits reassessment (56KB) – updated 25 February 2011
- Welsh Customer factsheet – incapacity benefits reassessment (114KB) – updated 25 February 2011
Customers with additional communication and support needs
A factsheet explaining the support Jobcentre Plus provides for customers with additional communication and support needs.
- Additional support – incapacity benefits reassessment (68KB) – updated 25 February 2011
Stakeholder information pack
An information pack for stakeholders providing an overview and introduction to the reassessment.
- Stakeholder information – incapacity benefits reassessment (130KB) – updated 5 April 2013
Information to reuse
Some material which external organisations are free to use in their own publications and products when letting people know about reassessment.
- Information for reuse – incapacity benefits reassessment (160KB) Rich Text Format – updated 25 February 2011
Q and A
A question and answer log based on questions that have been asked by stakeholders during our discussions and engagement.
- Question and answer log (83KB) – updated 1 August 2011
Transitional additions – Protecting benefit rates at the point of change
An information pack for stakeholders explaining "transitional additions", including examples of how these are calculated.
- Protecting benefit rates at the point of change – incapacity benefits reassessment (105KB) (added 12/04/11)
Overseas customer factsheet
A factsheet for stakeholders explaining reassessment for customers living overseas.
- Overseas customers – incapacity benefits reassessment (48KB) (added 12/04/11)
Engagement with advisers
Discussions have taken place with external stakeholders and customer representative groups to make them aware of the changes and to seek their views on how we can best support people through this change.
Two events were held in July, bringing together our external stakeholders with staff from both Jobcentre Plus, who will be implementing the changes, and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) policy officials.
- On 7 July, over 140 front-line advisers and other professionals who work with DWP customers attended three workshops on IB Reassessment at the DWP Annual Forum.
Delegates were talked through the changes and we explained the journey that customers will go through as they are reassessed. Delegates were asked to provide their views on what the sorts of information and communications they would like to help them understand the changes and support their customers. They were also asked for ideas on how best to access and support the smaller support groups that play a key role in the lives of many of our customers.
- On 20 July, another event was attended by 26 representatives of key national customer organisations. As well as talking stakeholders through the customer journey and obtaining their input into DWP communications plans, there was also a discussion of the Work Capability Assessment and the changes that are planned for ESA.
Both events generated lively discussion and a lot of really helpful information and insight that have been fed into the project and used to inform our communications. Questions from the delegates were also taken away and have been used to produce the question and answer log above.
Moving forward from these events we have been providing regular updates at the Jobcentre Plus Customer Representative Group Forum and via our stakeholder bulletins, Touchbase e-zine and In Touch. Further updates will also be available in these bulletins.