‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut

Yesterday’s Welfare Reform Bill contains huge changes for the UK’s social security system - as well as a number of damaging new sanctions and fines, reports Nicola Smith.

Yesterday’s Welfare Reform Bill contains huge changes for the UK’s social security system – as well as a number of damaging new sanctions and fines. But it also contains a small, but significant, new cut: the ‘youth provision’ is being removed from contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

ESA-C is a benefit for unemployed disabled people who have paid sufficient National Insurance. It is currently a lifetime award, although further recently announced government changes will mean that from 2012 it is time-limited for one year.

After this point disabled people who do not pass a household means test (for example because they have savings or live with a partner who works) will lose all benefit entitlement, while those whose incomes are low enough will move to an income based version.

The qualifying conditions for ESA-C require claimants to have paid contributions in one of the three complete tax years before their claim, and for them to have been credited for contributions over each of the last two complete tax years. But if you are 19 and have already spent 28 weeks incapable of work for medical reasons, it is unlikely that you will have enough National Insurance Credits (NICs).

The youth provision of ESA-C therefore allows young people (those aged 16-19 or those aged 20-24 who started to study before their 20th birthday) to receive contributory benefit without having to satisfy the qualification criteria which currently apply to other older claimants. It is intended to protect young people from unfairly missing out on support.

The impact assessment accompanying the announcement therefore misses the point when it states that the rationale for this change is to ensure “consistency for all groups whilst simplifying ESA conditionality”; inevitably young people are not the same, as they will not have had the same chance that other adults have had to build up enough NICs to qualify.

The youth provision rule was brought in when Severe Disablement Allowance was ended (now several years ago), with the policy rationale of ensuring that after the abolition of SDA all severely disabled young people would still retain access to benefits even if they wouldn’t pass a household means test for income based ESA.

From now on this will no longer be the case. While many severely disabled adults will continue to receive a benefit that takes account of their disability, regardless of their household income, young people who live in households who earn slightly too much to qualify for an income related benefit will lose out.

By 2015/16 the policy is expected to affect approximately 15,000 people who would have been claiming contributory ESA. Most will receive a cut of around £25 a week in their income, as they move to the income rather than contribution based version of the benefit and 10 per cent (approximately 1,500 people) will receive nothing at all.

This is a pertinent example of how attempts to ‘simplify’ the benefits system can cause more harm than good. Should this move pass unamended, a small number of severely disabled young people will lose up to £100 a week (for the most severely disabled). The total estimated saving from the change is £11 million a year – small money in the scheme of things, but a cut that will have significant consequences for some of the most disabled young people in our society.

44 Responses to “‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut”

  1. The Grim Reaper

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  2. Elizabeth Bailey

    Couldn't agree more – RT @leftfootfwd ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4

  3. Tim Blackwell

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  4. STUC young workers

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  5. downinjamaica

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  6. Michael

    ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut – //bit.ly/eIyKLk

  7. dontplaymepayme

    RT @TheRightArticle: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut – //bit.ly/eIyKLk

  8. Tamsin Dunedain

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut //bit.ly/fu8pT7 -> @falseecon #cuts #DLA

  9. Dave McQuirk

    RT @TheRightArticle: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut – //bit.ly/eIyKLk

  10. matthewsmth

    RT @tamsinchan: RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut //bit.ly/fu8pT7 -> …

  11. Chris

    F*cking hell, what total bastards!!! I was able to claim IB for a short time under these rules and even then I had to have been incapable of work for 7 consecutive months, which is a long time if you haven’t got any money.

  12. Mary

    RT @TheRightArticle: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut – //bit.ly/eIyKLk

  13. Broken OfBritain

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  14. Worried

    The reason the benefit system is complex is because 60 million people are complex. How much damage has to be done to Britain before the ConDemEd see sense?

  15. Nick H.

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  16. Sue Pellegrino

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  17. Sari B

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  18. Calamity Kessel

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  19. babavb

    RT @TheRightArticle: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut – //bit.ly/eIyKLk

  20. Look Left – 'AV it! Referendum campaign gets into full swing | Left Foot Forward

    […] on Left Foot Forward today, Nicola Smith explained how the benefits ‘simplification’ would lead to severely disabled young […]

  21. Kelvin John Edge

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut: //bit.ly/htibh4 reports @NicolaTUC

  22. Mr. Sensible

    I don’t think any of the welfare reform agenda has been properly thought through.

  23. False Economy

    Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  24. louellenhart

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  25. UKFreeNews

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  26. Nick H.

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  27. Pete Riches

    RT @leftfootfwd: ‘Simplification’ leads to severely disabled young people’s benefits being cut //bit.ly/fu8pT7

  28. 4afairsociety

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  29. dontplaymepayme

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  30. Kelvin John Edge

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  31. d incurable

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  32. Adam Jeal

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  33. Nicola Iannelli

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  34. chickpea jones

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  35. Bern O'Donoghue

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  36. leese 51

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  37. L DTUC

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  38. flc campaign

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  39. Julian Ware-Lane

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  40. Daniel Pitt

    'Simplification' leads to benefit cull for severely disabled youth //bit.ly/htibh4 #ConDemNation

  41. Len Junier

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  42. Mavina Baker

    RT @FalseEcon: Is this the most vindictive cut of all? //bit.ly/gIg1jN by @nicolatuc @leftfootfwd #falseeconomy #racetothebottom

  43. Health funding and cuts « NCVYS' Financial Monitoring Blog

    […] A blogpost at Left Foot Forward has suggested that the Welfare Reform Bill “also contains a small, but significant, new cut: the ‘youth provision’ is being removed from contributory Employment and Support Allowance.” ESA-C is a benefit for unemployed disabled people who have paid sufficient National Insurance. It is currently a lifetime award, although further recently announced government changes will mean that from 2012 it is time-limited for one year. After this point disabled people who do not pass a household means test (for example because they have savings or live with a partner who works) will lose all benefit entitlement, while those whose incomes are low enough will move to an income based version. […]

  44. AmyLouise Hudd

    i have an idea! MAKE 16 year old’s go to college university and get there ema allowance instead of going on the dole! then there will be lower un-employment and more money for those young people that need it! make them get a further education so whn it comes to getting a job there not hoping on the “land in my lap” fairy to come and help they will acctually have proper qulaifications to do something worth while!

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