Disability benefits could continue after return to work under new plans

Disability benefits could continue after return to work under new plans thumbnail

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isability benefits claimants could continue receiving the payments after they return to employment under Government plans to get people back into the workforce.

As part of the reforms, the system used to assess eligibility for the sickness benefits could be scrapped, with ministers describing it as a “perverse incentive to prove how sick you are”, The Times newspaper reported.

It could be replaced with a process that instead asks claimants to demonstrate what work they might be able to take.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride is looking to revamp the benefits system in an effort to boost employment numbers that have not returned to pre-pandemic levels amid labour shortages.

Rishi Sunak, in the autumn, asked Mr Stride to review issues holding back workforce participation, due to conclude early this year.

The Prime Minister last week said the Government is looking at a range of measures to tackle inactivity, adding: “We need to look at how our welfare system is operating and is it operating in the way that we would like to make sure that we are supporting and incentivising people who can be, to be in work.”

It is understood a white paper is due to be published by the Department for Work and Pensions in the coming months, ahead of the spring budget.

It has yet to be decided when benefits might be halted after a claimant has got a job, The Times reported, with a system similar to the tapering of universal credit as people earn more under consideration.

On overhauling work capability assessments, a Government source told the paper: “It’s very much not the case that we’d be relaxing assessments so you could be perfectly fit and claiming disability benefits, but it will be more about being supported into work and supported to do the things you can do, rather than incentivised to prove how incapable you are”.

The Times also reported that the Treasury is considering offering tax breaks to people for entering jobs.