Iain Duncan Smith Announces Plans for more Misery for Claimants as Mental Health Targeted.
IDS: Having as a Laugh at Claimants’ Expense.
Iain Duncan Smith is planning a shake-up of the rules on sickness benefit to encourage more people into work.
Announces the BBC.
The work and pensions secretary will argue in a speech that the current system is too “binary” – with claimants deemed either fit or unfit for work.
Instead, claimants should be made to take up any work they can, even if it is just a few hours, he will say.
Labour says cutting benefits for people who are not able to work is punishing the disabled for government failures.
But Mr Duncan Smith insists that the “most vulnerable people in our society” will be protected under his latest reforms.
His speech, in London, will not contain any policy announcements but aims instead to start a “conversation” about the next phase of welfare reform, according to DWP officials.
Mr Duncan Smith will be focusing on the Employment Support Allowance, which is paid to those unable to work on health grounds. Those who receive the payment have their fitness to work tested under the Work Capability Assessment.
He believes those assessments should be more personalised, so if someone is able to work for a few hours they are helped to do so.
“It is right that we look at how the system supports people who are sick,” he will say.
Mr Duncan Smith argues that instead of an “either or” assessment, what is needed is “a system focused on what a claimant can do and the support they’ll need, and not just on what they can’t.”
He will add: “Nearly 11 million adults in the UK have a common mental health condition and people are much more likely to fall out of work if they do.
“We also know that being out of work for four weeks or more can actually effect people’s mental health, even if the original reason for ill health was a physical one.”
These, the Independent observes, are 7 ways Iain Duncan Smith has “helped” the disabled so far.