The number of claimants receiving employment and support allowance (ESA) or incapacity benefit (IB) has fallen again, statistics released by the DWP this week reveal. However, the combined total of disability living allowance (DLA) and personal independence payment (PIP) claimants is at an all-time high.
The number of claimants in receipt of ESA/IB at August 2015 was 2,512,090. This represents a fall of just 9,000 since the last quarter.
The forced transfer of IB claimants to ESA, intended to greatly reduce the number of claimants, began in October 2010, when claimant totals stood at around 2,586,000. It is now almost complete.
This means that the reduction in the number of claims following the forced transfer is just 74,000 - or less than 3%. The process has almost certainly cost a great deal more than it saved.
Meanwhile, the DWP’s attempts to cut the number of people receiving disability benefits by replacing DLA with PIP for working age claimants is failing so far.
The combined number of claimants getting DLA/PIP now stands 3.57 million, an increase of 231,000 (7%) on the same quarter last year.
Although the number of DLA/PIP claims in payment dipped very slightly after PIP was introduced nationally in June 2013, it has been rising again since August 2014 and is now at an all-time high.
Little wonder that the DWP are now seeking to change the PIP rules on aids and appliances to try to get the numbers to start falling again.