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Benefit Changes as a result of the Spending Review

The outline of changes in benefits as stated in the Spending Review in particular the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are as follows. If you are on contribution based ESA this will be time limited to one year for people who are in the work related activity group. Thus if you have savings, pensions or a partner who works you are likely to lose your ESA after one year as you may not be eligible for income related ESA. The benefit you would then be looking at is JSA but this is also means tested and you need to meet the ‘work-seeking’ conditions and thus many people who lose their contributory ESA will not be eligible to move onto JSA afterwards.

If you are in the ESA support group you will not lose your contribution-based ESA whilst you remain in the support group. As yet it is not clear whether this will apply only to new claimants of ESA or to existing claimants as well, which could include Incapacity Benefit claimants who are awaiting assessment for ESA, because there is no mention of transitional relief this suggests that it will apply to existing claimants.

As far as the ’1 year period’ is concerned it is likely to run as from April 2011 not any earlier but as yet this is not clear.

If you are living on benefits the government are bringing in a ‘benefits cap’ which means that from 2013 the maximum benefits a household can get will be around £500 a week and for single adults £350 a week, including housing costs. However if someone in the household receives DLA, working tax credit or war widows pension these figures do not apply.

Regarding DLA a white paper is due to be published this autumn and as soon as we have any information on this and what the proposals are we will publish it in the magazine.


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