FOR thirteen years, as the economy grew and jobs were created, at the highest point, some 2.6 million people sat at home on incapacity benefits.
Not all could have worked but a substantial proportion should have been helped back into work.
We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.
From today we begin the process of helping those who can work to find the right opportunity for them.
We will be re-examining the cases of around 1.6 million people across the country, around 2,070 on Incapacity Benefit in Horsham.
Claimants will go through the Work Capability Assessment which we have improved so it’s no longer the only part of the decision making process. We will place greater emphasis on other evidence and we’ll keep in touch by phone.
People who are too sick or disabled will continue to receive our unconditional support. We will not expect anyone who is too ill to attend a Work Capability Assessment and those who qualify for state retirement pension in the next three years will be exempt.
We recently launched the Work Programme to provide IB claimants access to specialist back to work support.
My message is simple. We will provide unconditional support to those whose health means they cannot possibly work. But we will put real effort into trying to help the others find a better role in life.
Minister for Employment
House of Commons