This coming Monday, the Employment and Support Allowance will replace the existing Incapacity Benefit and Income Support for people unable to work because of impaired health. All new claimants will have to complete an assessment considering their capability to work. Current
incapacity benefit claimants will have to take this test as from April 2010.
Back in March this year, charities expressed concern about the test. The then Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Danny Alexander said:
“Disabled people are understandably cynical about proposals from a government that continually emphasises tough measures against benefit claimants, when what is needed is targeted support to get the millions of disabled people who want to work into jobs.
“Undergoing the assessment could deliver benefits but it will not change the fact that many claimants need specialist help to overcome mental health problems and disabilities, which is still severely lacking.
“The Government should focus on providing more personalised support for claimants to get them back into long-term work.”
None of these concerns have been addressed, and the voluntary sector, especially mental health charity MIND, is very worried.