May 2017 Employment Support Allowance Changes


The government has announced measures to provide additional support to those in the work-related activity group following the removal of the employment and support allowance (ESA) work-related activity component and universal credit limited capability for work element for new claimants from 3 April 2017.

In a debate about ESA in the House of Commons it was noted that as of 3 April the effect of these changes would leave claimants with £30 per week less if they were in the ESA work-related activity group.

In response, the Minister for Disabled People confirmed that the flexible support fund and the social fund are the only real route to be able to supply additional funding to help people, whether that funding is cost-related to work and moving closer towards getting into work, or whether it is other costs associated with the cost of living.


The additional support available to claimants in the work-related activity group included:


Personal independence payment

Access to Work

Local authority provided social care support and aids and adaptations

NHS-provided aids

Free prescriptions

Free or discounted travel, for example to hospital appointments

The blue badge scheme

Disabled students allowance

The disabled facilities grant

Budgeting loans

Cold weather payments through the social fund

Housing benefit

Signposting to a £10 tariff for broadband, phone and other costs and

A link to the Money Advice service on the ESA40 information leaflet which is given to claimants at the start of their claim.


Of course what this fails to acknowledge is that these provisions were already available and do nothing to offset the reduction in ESA for those already accessing these additional entitlements as a result of their disability.


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