Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
ESA: April 2017 Changes

  • The government has abolished the addition of the Work Related Activity Component in all new claims for ESA (either Contributory or Income-Related). The Amending Regulations can be found here.                 
    • Instead these claimants will generally be paid the same rate of benefit as a jobseeker (or less*) on JSA but will not be required to look for work.


    • The Support Group Component  ie for those found to have a limited capability for work related activities, is unaffected by this change.


    • ESA claimants already getting the Work Related Activity Component included in an ESA award will continue to do so until they are found fit for work#.

    • Anyone found fit after 3rd April 2017 whose Limited Capability for Work started before 3rd April 2017 should challenge that decision if there is a remote chance that they may win - we would always have advised this but now even more important! 

    • Those ESA claimants already getting the Support Component on an ESA claim prior to 3rd April 2017 who, on review, are placed in the Work Related Activity Group will receive the Work Related Activity Component ie a move from the Support Group to the WRAG group is not be treated as a new claim#.   
    • And those claimants already on ESA with a Work Related Activity component who move onto UC (eg. because they move into an area which has the digital service (or they become the partner of someone who is already on UC) should 'bring this entitlement with them', ie. the Limited Capability for Work Element should be included in their assessment as their period of limited capability for work started before 3rd April 2017. 
    • Anyone who made a new claim for ESA between 3rd April and 2nd July 2017 could try to get their ESA claim backdated to before 3rd April 2017 - click here.
    For the Government's Impact Assessment of this change - click here.

    * NOTE 1: Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance can include a disability, enhanced disability and/or severe disability premium if the claimant (or partner) is on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. Income-Related ESA does not include the Disability Premium, so claimants who get DLA or PIP and are unlikely to be put in the Support Group may be significantly better off claiming Jobseekers Allowance and asking that their claimant commitment take account of their health problems, rather than claiming ESA.

    #NOTE 2: Confirmed in a written question in Parliament - see Hansard

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