The latest broken promise by this government relates to Incapacity Benefit. In the past, if you have been on Incapacity Benefit, you were able to return to work – and if your health failed again, you could go back on benefit at the same rate under the “104 week linking rule”.
This is about to change; from the end of this month, people who are still on Incapacity Benefit will be unable to return to it (if they try going back to work, but find they are still too ill to manage, or become sick again thereafter). Instead they will have to make a fresh claim, for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Worse still, the first 13 weeks of ESA would be paid at a lower rate than you could expect under the linking rule for Incapacity Benefit. And of course, it will mean going through one of those frightening ESA medicals – frightening because of the number of people who are passed fit for work when they are not capable of doing a job.
More information is available on the Benefits and Work website.
This may have the opposite of the desired effect: instead of going back to try working as soon as they think they may be able to manage, people on Incapacity Benefit may well opt to stay at home until they are certain that they can manage the duties of their job again. It's another example of the short-sighted unfairness typical of this government.