Chronic Illness Sufferers To Avoid Re-Tests For ESA Payments


The Law Of... receiving financial support for chronic pain conditions

The government have announced plans to change the amount of re-tests chronic illness sufferers need to undergo when claiming ESA payments.

The Law Of... receiving financial support for chronic pain conditions

Explaining ESA payments Melanie Burden – Head of General Personal Injury for Simpson Millar – details how these changes could affect sufferers of long-term illness.

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) Benefits

ESA benefit payments are for those who cannot work because of sickness or disability and are not receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

For those who are injured or fall ill while at work SSP will be paid for 28 weeks by an employer, after this period the claimant can move over to ESA payments, which is supplied by the government.

ESA payments are designed to help with the cost of living for those who are unable to work and are typically used to cover basic daily expenses such as food, heating, and clothes.

Claimants can receive payments of up to £109.30 a week, however they have to undergo work capability assessments to ensure that their injury, illness, or condition is prohibiting them from working.

Currently, claimants have to undergo a reassessment every 3 months, or every 2 years if their condition is considered severe, to ensure that their situation has not changed and they are still unable to work.

Removing Reassessments

In a move that was unveiled at the Conservative Party conference, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green announced that those with severe conditions that have no prospect of getting better will no longer have to undergo reassessments to receive their ESA payments.

It is expected that, of the two million claimants of ESA, tens of thousands will no longer have to undergo continued work capability assessments.

Campaigners have said that for the sufferers of long-term chronic conditions, removing the stress and uncertainty related to continued assessments is a "victory for common sense".

Some of the chronic conditions that are expected to be eligible for continued payments without reassessment include Huntington's disease, autism, and congenital heart conditions; however it is possible that the likelihood of a claimant recovering will be assessed on an individual basis, with anyone that is unlikely to recover and return to work celigible for continued payments.

Reacting to the announcement, Melanie Burden said:

"This is likely to remove stress and uncertainty to tens of thousands of ESA claimants who will sadly never recover from their chronic condition to return to work."

"When we represent clients that suffer from chronic pain or a long-term illness as a result of an accident we always advise on the financial support they can receive."

"ESA is a crucial lifeline for those who are unable to work and helps millions of people avoid financial hardship."

"The psychological effects of chronic pain, and mental hardship suffered by those with long-term conditions, should not be understated and this simple policy change could help prolonged sufferers feel financially safe and secure."

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