DRC welcomes reforms to incapacity benefit

Reforms to incapacity benefit have been welcomed by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

Under plans announced today by work and pensions minister Alan Johnson, two new benefits – rehabilitation support allowance and disability and sickness allowance – will differentiate between those who have a severe problem and those with potentially manageable conditions, who can be helped back into work.

The majority, who have more manageable conditions, will receive the rehabilitation support allowance. It will offer everyone a basic benefit at jobseekers’ allowance levels (about £55 a week), but then ensure that they can build up to get more than today’s long-term incapacity benefit by giving them extra money – first for attending work-focused Interviews, and then for taking steps to get them back towards the labour market.

DRC chairman, Bert Massie, said the changes introduced today would mean that disabled people could make a positive contribution.

“For these measures to work, high-quality support will be needed from assessment of those deemed able to work, right through to finding and maintaining opportunities to work,” he warned.

By Michael Millar

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