The employment and benefits system is consigning many adults with autism to poverty due to a lack of specialist support, a National Autistic Society report said today.
A third of 300-plus autistic adults surveyed for the charity were living without a job or benefits, while half of respondents had been in this situation, in some cases for more than a decade.
‘Woeful’ lack of understanding
The charity blamed a “woeful” lack of understanding of autism among employment and benefits advisors at Jobcentre Plus and a dearth of specialist employment services.
The survey found almost 80% of those claiming incapacity benefit (IB) – more than a quarter of the sample – wanted to work.
New benefit not working for autistic adults
However, the NAS said job-seeking support was inadequate and that the employment and support allowance (ESA), which has replaced IB for new claimants, was not working for people with autism.
Applicants for ESA had to produce a sick note from their GP – despite autism being a lifelong condition – and fill in complex forms, and were also subject to poor medical assessments, the report said.