Figures were released in March for the reassessment of ESA claims, and in April for new ESA claims. The reassessment figures show that over time, increasing numbers of people who formerly claimed Incapacity Benefit are being found as fit for work – 37%, when in the pilots it was 22%. The new claimant figures show that diminishing numbers of people are being found fit for work – 46% of claims, when in mid-2009 it was 67%. Those findings are consistent with each other – we should expect more people receiving benefit to be entitled than there are among people who claim – but both seem to show important shifts in practice over time.
The percentage of successful appeals also seems to be falling, down to 31% for new claims. As before, 9 out of 10 people who apply with neoplasms (cancer) and congenital or chromosomal disorders (e.g. Downs syndrome) are not fit to work, and 7 out of 10 in both groups go to the Support Group (for those with the greatest levels of incapacity).
Further note, 19th September: The government has announced that people undergoing chemotherapy or radiology for cancer will be exempt from the Work Capacity Assessment.