It seems George Osborne may have made a bit of a boo-boo over Employment and Support Allowance in his Budget on Wednesday. Let’s lay it out and if anybody can shed light on the situation, please do.
It seems people with disabilities who are claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance now have an unfair financial advantage over those who are claiming ESA, because they receive the DLA-related disability premium, while those on ESA do not.
This cannot be fair.
In his Budget speech, Osborne said new applicants for ESA, who are put into the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), will now receive the same amount as people on the basic rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance. The extra money people receive for being on ESA will no longer be provided.
Having a disability doesn’t mean you are ill. so it is possible to be claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) concurrently.
It is also possible to be ill and have a disability, so it is possible to claim sickness benefit ESA and DLA at the same time.
DLA normally dispenses a disability premium into your main benefit (JSA or ESA) – a “top-up” amount to help people cope with the extra cost of living associated with disability.
Before Osborne opened his mouth on Wednesday, ESA attracted extra money automatically for people in the WRAG group – this is the cash that Osborne has cut.
Consider this: As DLA also dispenses extra money in the form of a premium, ESA would have attracted two pots of extra cash when it was originally devised in 2008. The government of the day – according to a Vox Political source – decided that ESA should only attract one pot of money so they ruled that the DLA premium would not be applied to people in the WRAG group of ESA .
Now George Osborne has declared that new claimants in the WRAG group will lose their extra money, leaving WRAG ESA claimants with no extra money at all.
This means people who are unemployed and disabled – but not sick – receive extra money from the DLA premium to cope with their disability, while people who are disabled and also sick receive no extra money from the DLA premium to cope with their disability.
This cannot be fair.
This blog invites readers with expertise in this matter to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, it may be time to write to your MP and demand fair treatment for WRAG ESA claimants.
* What does this mean for PIP – the Personal Independence Payment? Does this dispense premiums to people on ESA and JSA? If not – why not? Their needs are no different, just because they’re on the newer benefit. Vox Political invites comment on this, also.
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