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ESA re-assessments

In response to the recent announcement that some claimants will be spared the repeat work capability assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), FMA UK is pleased that the benefits system is being changed to reduce the distress on those claimants who are already dealing with their chronic health condition(s).

On the 10th October, Damian Green stated that only claimants “who have already been placed in the ESA Support Group or UC (Universal Credit) Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity categories following a WCA (work capability assessment)” will be considered for reassessment exemption.

While it is still a developing situation, we understand that it is possible that certain conditions will automatically entitle claimants to be exempt from reassessment. Green has also said that only claimants “who have the most severe health conditions and disabilities” would be eligible. He defined this as claimants with:

-        lifelong

-         often progressive and incurable conditions

-         with minimally fluctuating care needs

-         who are unlikely to ever be able to move closer to the labour market and into work.

So, while we wait for further information on the list of conditions that they will include, we have made representations to government for clarity on how fibromyalgia will fit within this situation. We suspect that the variability in the effects that the condition can present will count against it being added to the list.

However, we, along with other charities, are pressing the government to ensure that fluctuating long-term conditions, like fibromyalgia, are considered appropriately within each assessment process.

We understand that there will be no expected changes relating to the condition exemption list until the end of 2017 at the earliest.Green said that:“The IT changes needed are expected to be completed by the end of 2017. In the meantime, we will be working to ensure these people are not reassessed unnecessarily.’’

 

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