From today people currently receiving Incapacity Benefit will be asked to attend a 'fitness-to-work test'
Approximately 1.5 million people will receive a letter at some point in the future as a stagged approached has started this week to move people from incapacity allowance to employment and support allowance (ESA). They will be asked to attend a test to access their ability to work.
A rolling programme of assessment will continue until 2014 which forms part of the governments plans to reduce the number of long-term recipients entitlement to the benefit.
During the pilot scheme there was much criticism of the 'fitness-to-work test' which has been modified in line with feedback. During the pilot scheme in Burnley and Aberdeen, almost 30% of those who took part were declared fit to work.
There is grave concern for people with mental health issues which we support but PINNT are also hugely concerned about those with intestinal failure. Each person invited for the test must demonstrate their own personal challenges - you have to demonstrate that your personal situation meets the criteria as laid down.
The problems may arise if the 'fitness-to-work test' does not allow you to demonstrate your particular situation. Go prepared for the test; show them all relevant information and described situations that may affect your ability to work.
When PINNT met with Maria Miller MP she made it clear the claimant must meet the criteria laid down for the entitlement to the payment; it's not free money - state your case, try not to miss out any salient points.
Write key points down that you want to get across about your situation.
If you receive a letter and take the test please report back to PINNT on the process and see if we can build some useful advice for those who are genuinely worried about being put through the process.
We welcome your feedback.