23 March 2015
Explained: Employment and Support Allowance for Brain Injured People
The switch from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance has now been applied all over the UK, with the exception of a very few number of people still claiming Incapacity Benefit.
One of the main changes is that the Department for Work and Pensions has contracted healthcare providers to execute medical assessments.
The healthcare providers test claimant’s ability to work based on a set of fixed criteria then places them in a Work Related Activity Group or a Support Group accordingly.
Those placed in a Support Group have a limited capacity to complete work and receive a higher rate of Employment and Support Allowance than those in Work Related Activity Groups.
More and more disabled people are now being classified as either ‘fit for work’ or as not having a limited capability for work by medical assessments carried out by the healthcare providers.
Claimants deemed capable of future work related activity are put into Work Related Activity Groups in which members are required to attend one or more ‘work focused interviews’ with a personal adviser to help access their prospects to obtain work which is deemed reasonable when considering their condition.
However those who have a Head Injury face hurdles when it comes to finding paid employment or keeping up with any ‘work-related activity’ they’re requested to undertake within the Work Related Activity Group.
Many individuals with head injuries and indeed other disability groups do not understand the consequences of being placed into a Work Related Activity Group.
When placed into this group, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance is only payable for 52 weeks. Individuals are written to and informed that their contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance will be stopping in a number of weeks with very little explanation as to why.
There only option then is to claim Jobseekers Allowance, a benefit with stringent regulations to which the individual has to comply with, causing those with cognitive issues being put into a very vulnerable situation indeed.
At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, we have received reports of people reaching desperate measures due to cuts in their benefits. There has been a rise in people relying on food banks and people who have been found fit for ‘work-related activity’ committing suicide after being sanctioned for failing to attend ‘work-focused interviews’.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have a team of Serious Injury Solicitors that specialise in brain injury compensation claims. For a free consultation call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a nationwide law firm with more than 1,450 staff and 18 offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Derby, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Cambridge and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.