It’s a summary of these statistics from the DWP.
The statistics show that of those who applied for ESA, 39% were declared fit for work. 36% had their claim closed before the assessment was completed, and at the time the statistics were gathered, 3% of claims were still in progress. This means that only 22% of applicants were awarded ESA and of those, only 6% were put into the Support group – the other 16% were placed in the Work Related Activity Group.
People are placed in the Support Group for one of these reasons:
- Chemotherapy – people receiving certain types of chemotherapy automatically qualify
- Physical or mental health risk – if, in “exceptional circumstances”, it would cause serious harm to the person’s mental or physical health if they were found fit for work
- Pregnancy risk – if a woman is pregnant and working would harm her or her unborn child
- Severe functional disability – if the person meets certain critieria regarding their mental or physical capacity. This is laid out in legislation and uses a scoring system to work out if someone qualifies. This is done with a face to face assessment
- Terminally ill – someone who is not expected to live for more than 6 months
Other people will be put in the Work Related Activity Group or classed fit to work.
There is also a breakdown of which conditions were put in each group. It shows that people most likely to be put in the support group are those with neoplasms (e.g. cancer), or congenital malformations / deformations (such as Down’s syndrome or spina bifida). Over 50% of applicants with these conditions were placed in the Support Group.
After that, a few groups were more likely than others to be placed in the support group – 16% of people with diseases of the nervous system (like Motor Neurone disease, cerebral palsy, Huntingdon’s disease) but most groups had fewer than 10% of claimants being placed in the support group. And if you have a disease of the musculoskeltal system and connective tissue – such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus or arthritis – you have a 49% chance of being found fit for work. Yet I know from my own experience of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome how limiting it can be.
I find it shocking that of those applying for ESA only 6% were placed in the Support group but, as I have a friend who struggles to move and breathe yet was declared fit for work earlier this year, very little surprises me anymore.
You will need to have a subscription to Benefits and Work to see the full article, which is here: http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/members-only-news/1300-revealed-which-health-conditions-get-into-the-support-group although the DWP’s statistics are online here: