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The DWP latest statistical release claims that the number of people getting an award of employment and support allowance (ESA) or incapacity benefit (IB) has begun to fall.

Figures released today show that claims reached a high of 2,533,220 in February 2015 but are estimated to have fallen to 2,495,000 by November 2015. Whilst a drop of 38,000 is a small one, well under 2%, the continuing fall in estimated numbers has been sustained for some months.

esa IB claims graphThe DWP do not attempt to give any explanation for why numbers are falling.

You can download the full document here.


+1 #2 apricot 2016-01-27 12:47
Maximus are reassessing people in Support Group due to poor mental health. I understand that they are only doing face-to-face reassessments. My experience is that at the start of the assessment the HCP insists repeatedly that 'your medical records' give a much shorter period of time over which mental and physical health problems have been experienced than is actually the case - many decades less. The HCP would not take my word for this, and it is something that could be checked in the NHS records. Why start an assessment of someone with mental illness like this? It is disturbing and disorientating, suggesting that reality is different from your own knowledge and that you are powerless, your word will not be accepted. I was also told I was not allowed to take notes. The assessment felt like a role-play in which the HCP slipped out of the role a couple of times by mistake. The HCP report revealed that the HCP did not record many things I said, and she frequently wrote things which were not true, either by ignoring my corrections, or by stating that I said things I did not say and which were the opposite of what I had written. She did not ask about my symptoms. She wrote what she wanted to about symptoms, ignoring all the written evidence from myself and the health professional who knows me best. She wrote that I said I had symptoms I don't have, and then repeatedly wrote that I didn't have those symptoms during the assessment. I believe Maximus is training HCPs to carry out assessments in this way. So I had to go through the Appeal process over the following 6 months. This was very damaging for my health, and very frightening. I won my Appeal. What was the point of going through all this? Appeals are costly. Why not do an honest and humane assessment? Why keep reassessing? Because people receiving no ESA during Appeal process 'improve' the statistics, and some people will give up, beg,or kill themselves. Hence less people on ESA.
+3 #1 carruthers 2016-01-26 13:25
There is one relatively un-sinister reason for the fall in claimant numbers. The last couple of years have seen the numbers of claims swollen by the movement of claimants from IB on to ESA. We may now be moving on to a "maintenance" level of claims.

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