Thursday 20 January 2011

Incapacity Benefit: Watch out if you go back to work!

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.


  1. Please seek permission from the author of a blog post before reproducing it elsewhere..

    This can add hours/days to getting a piece finished. It will stop a lot of over-worked hacks like me from re-using your work. *badkarma*

  2. HI can I join this group as a contributor or is it full? I have a good eye for detail/regulations (that's what 20 as a local gov officer does to you amongst other things....)

  3. I wouldn't say it was bad karma to ask permission to reproduce someone's work, it would in fact be good manners.

    Linking, quoting a sentence or two, are all fine. But just republishing someone's entire post without asking permission is not.

  4. Oh! Heaven's To Betsy! CCANCND 3 "You may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that restrict the terms of this License or the ability of the recipient of the Work to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License."

  5. It's a balancing act, we want the word to get out, but we want to have the right to stop it being twisted against us should that become necessary.

    There was a case a few years ago on Ouch! where a hack from one of the Tory rags cherry-picked comments there to use against disabled people, so it is a real concern.

  6. "Reasonable use" quotes are of course allowed. If you put something on a blog it has to be considered in the public domain and is therefore quotable.

    However reproducing entire blog posts and passing them off as your own is plagiarism. There may be certain cases in which the author might consent to a post being reproduced (perhaps, as an example, in a disability organisation's offline newsletter). But consent must be sought and proper credit given.

  7. @yetanotherdisabledblog:

    I had a look at your blog and as yet there's only one post on it. And at the moment that's simply not enough information for us to make a decision about whether or not you'd be a good "fit" for us.

    But do please ask again once you've written a bit more so we've got more information to go on.

  8. As you say this is going to have completely the opposite effect to the desired one.

    I'm still on IB. I'm working 8 hours a week under the permitted work rules. I've been offered a job that would be an additional 15 hours thus taking me off incapacity benefit. Previously I could have taken the job with a safety net if it didn't work out because of my ill health - I'd just go back on IB (104 week linking rules).

    Now it's like jumping off a cliff. I honestly don't know if I can do this job and right now I think I'm going to have to turn it down. If I had the safety net I might give it a try confident that if it turned out I wasn't well enough I could go back on IB.

    Better off in work? Don't make me laugh!

    1. That's me aswell, I'd love to TRY to go back to work but like you said it's like jumping off a cliff.

      You would have thought the Government would have foreseen this.