Disabled people need help to get back to work

Reforming incapacity benefit will end disabled people’s reliance on benefits and help them into work, according to the Department for Work and Pension’s lead on incapacity benefit CC Live logo articlereform.

Speaking at a session on Pathways to Work for People with Disabilities at Community Care Live, the DWP’s project director for incapacity reform Greg Chamming said the current approach had to change. “The problem with the system is it abandons people to being dependent on benefits.”

He said that once a person has claimed incapacity for more than two years they were more likely to retire or die rather than to return to employment.

He added that the government’s Jobcentre Plus Pathways to Work programme, which have been piloted across the UK since 2004, had had some success at helping people back into work but faced difficulties. He said the government was committed to providing more support to help people currently on incapacity benefit return to employment.

But Simon Heng, chair of the Worcestershire Association of Service users, said most people’s experience of benefit giving agencies is they have to “jump through hoops” to prove themselves and when they are assessed “something is going to be cut”.

Heng added he found it encouraging that the government is willing to assist people with disabilities return to work but that it must also tackle employers’ attitudes to employed disabled workers.

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