Claimants will lose extra payments

Benefits claimants could be worse off under the government’s welfare reforms than under the current system, disability charity Leonard Cheshire has warned.

It has pointed to plans in the welfare reform green paper to scrap two supplements to incapacity benefit: age addition, worth up to £16.05 a week and paid to incapacity benefit claimants aged under 45; and adult dependent addition, worth up to £45.70 a week and paid to people who live with a partner, have a child and are entitled to child benefit.

No official figures on the number of people who claim the additions are available. But Guy Parckar, Leonard Cheshire’s parliamentary and campaigns officer, said the average weekly payment for people on incapacity benefit was £84 while the basic long-term incapacity benefit rate was £76 a week, implying that many claimed the extra payments.

Incapacity benefit will be replaced by employment and support allowance from 2008 (news, 26 January). Those claiming the new benefit will no longer be entitled to the additions.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said the government did not think anyone would be worse off under the reforms.

Meanwhile, Homeless Link chief executive Jenny Edwards has told a conference that contracts to provide support to people on incapacity benefit to help them find work must not all be “scooped up” by large national charities.

She said small organisations should be allowed to deliver some of the employment support contracts outlined in the green paper, without taking on too much financial risk.

See Incapacity benefit reforms meet with degree of suspicion

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