Freedom of Information Request on Incapacity Benefit Migration to ESA

Question submitted by A Brown. (not me)

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team




Our Ref:2893

10 November 2010

Dear Sir or Madam

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 22 October.

You requested the following information:


1. In relation to Employment Support Allowance The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 20th October 2010 that claimants on contribution based ESA in the Work Related Activity Group would be subject to a means test after 12 months


QUESTION :Can the Department please advise whether this will apply to new claimants as in the sense of fresh claims to ESA and/or those migrated from Incapacity Benefit.(existing customers)

Yes, it is intended that this provision will apply to ESA claimants including people who migrate from Incapacity Benefit as part of the Incapacity Benefit Reassessment process.


QUESTION: Will the existing claimants (now and yet to be migrated) have transitional protection enabling them to not be means tested?

There will be transitional protection of contributory Incapacity Benefit for people who are converted to contributory ESA at the point of change. However after 12 months on contributory ESA entitlement will end but those affected may be able to claim income related ESA if they satisfy the normal criteria.


QUESTION: Also has a provisional date been estimated for the commencement of this rule (the 12 month aspect) subject of course to parliamentary approval whether by primary legislation or statutory instrument.

Subject to Parliamentary approval we estimate that the new measure will come into force in April 2012.


2. QUESTIONS: As for the process of migration, if a claimant has (a) been exempted from the Incapacity Benefit PCA or (b) has no review date for their claim because their case has been designated an ‘in the longer term’ rather than finite review date

How will migration be applied to these individuals, will it be random or is there a policy to decide how these customers will be migrated, given that in the cases where a review date is fixed, those fixed date customers will be migrated in line with their own review date?

In general the date of a WCA reassessment for ESA purposes is the same date as the PCA reassessment would have been for Incapacity Benefit. Where the customer was previously “exempt from the PCA” Jobcentre Plus are presently considering a common review date for all these cases.


If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team


3 thoughts on “Freedom of Information Request on Incapacity Benefit Migration to ESA

  1. It’s arguable that it would be a breach of Article 1 of the First Protocol of the ECHR which deals with the right not to be deprived of your possessions. Contributory benefits have always been accepted as possessions and the fact that contributions are paid would be added argument that the measure is disproportionate i.e. the loss to the individual in terms of the value of the benefits and contribution record is out of proportion to the needs of the state – it won’t save a great deal of money.

    As I understand it this is why there is normally transitional protection included with detrimental benefits changes.

    If it could be shown that the changes disproportionately affect a particular group then a discrimination case may also be possible.

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