06 April 2010
DWP plans to tackle “long-term worklessness”
The latest Government paper to set out the next steps in welfare reform is Building bridges to work: new approaches to tackling long-term worklessness.
The report by the Department for Work and Pensions summarises the key elements of the latest package as:
- improving the accuracy of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), giving appropriate consideration of people’s ability to adapt to their disability, as well as ensuring better recognition of mental health and fluctuating conditions
- assessing everyone on incapacity benefits over the next three years through the WCA, culminating in the abolition of incapacity benefits in April 2014
- providing extra support for people who are newly assessed as fit for work but may have spent a number of years on an incapacity benefit
- providing a personalised time-limited WCA reassessment and an individual programme of support with conditions for those who are currently unable to work but maybe able to in the future
- guaranteeing employment or work placements for jobseekers who do not find work after two years
- guaranteeing a place on a specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice, for those on
Employment and Support Allowance who want to work but do not find work after two years.
The paper says that following a personalised regime of support, “most people will be expected to move off Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) within two years.”
As part of its personalised support, the DWP will offer people who are found fit to work “a new programme to manage health conditions developed with the NHS.” While it will build on the Condition Management Programme offered through the current Pathways to Work scheme, the DWP says Pathways itself is not cost effective and “needs to be rethought as part of a comprehensive re-examination of our support arrangements for people with a health condition or disability” with an emphasis on more personalised support.
Action for M.E. will review the report in greater detail before making a response.