Changes to benefits for those who are ill or disabled
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a social security benefit for people who are unable to work because of an illness or disability.
For new claimants this replaces Incapacity Benefit (IB) but those already receiving IB will move over to ESA at some point.
There are a number of differences betwee ESA and IB.
The majority of people claiming ESA will need to attend interviews with Jobcentre Plus advisers and draw up a list of activities that they will undertake to help get them back into work.
The test to decide whether someone can continue to get ESA is points-based and claimants will answer a number of questions about their disability and how it restricts them.
In general, if a claimant scores enough points they will be found incapable of some, or all, work.
If not they will be found fit for work and not entitled to receive ESA.
The changeover from Incapacity Benefit to ESA will begin from February 2011.
The Department for Work and Pensions says that 1.5 million people will be affected nationwide and that they expect many current IB recipients will be found fit for work under the new and tougher test.
These people may move onto another benefit or may stop being entitled to benefit altogether.
Claimants who are affected by the changes may have appeal rights and can gain advice at the Hull Community Legal Advice Centre, Essex House, Hull.
For more information phone 317 420.