So, the latest figures have been released for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which represents the States Incapacity Benefit.
Unfortunately these figures continued to highlight just how difficult it is to gain assistance from the State when suffering from disability (consisting of sickness or injury).
Very Limited Success for ESA Claims
Of all applications made from October 2008 to May 2010 only 22 per cent of applicants were granted any form of ESA benefit.
Only 6 per cent were allowed to enter the ‘Support Group’ were claimants are paid the full benefit entitlement and are not expected to look for work.
The remaining 16 per cent entered the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ where the full benefit is paid but claimants are required to engage with Pathways to Work, with the intention of transitioning these claimants back to work when possible.
Of the remaining applications 39 per cent were deemed ‘Fit for Work’ and 36 per cent closed their claim before their assessment (this figure includes those individuals who died before their claim could be assessed).
Taking out applications that failed to result in an assessment only 10 per cent were admitted to the Support Group and 25 per cent were allocated to the Work Related Activity Group, leaving 65 per cent of applications being rejected outright.
The work capability assessments carried out by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have been widely labeled as far too strict and insensitive.
In fact, the Citizens Advice Bureau has seen a massive increase in the number of complaints about the assessments and the Job Centre have become concerned over the number of individuals having to undertake work focused interviews with medical conditions.
Income Insurance Provides True Protection
The limited funding available for individuals who are accepted to receive ESA combined with the difficulty in actually being accepted onto the benefit acts to highlight that personal income insurance is the only real source of protection.
With income protection insurance, claim payout rates are usually in excess of 90 per cent for insurers that release claims statistics. The majority of declined claims are for non-disclosure reasons where people have withheld information or lied on their application.
With an income protection plan it is also possible to insure between 50 to 65 per cent of gross income, thus allowing living standards to be broadly maintained whilst incapacitated.
For more information on the statistics used in this article please see: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca/esa_wca_25012011.pdf