Brake ‘Must Look Government Gift Horse in the Mouth’

Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington has welcomed the news that Employment and Support Allowance claimants suffering from chronic or degenerative illnesses will no longer have to be continually reassessed for their benefit.

New changes coming in 2017 will mean patients with no prospect of improvement will no longer have to prove their illness repeatedly. However Tom is seeking certainty over the transition to Universal Credit and whether the same exemption will apply to these claimants.

Tom said, “Whilst I welcome the decision not to re-test people with chronic and degenerative conditions who claim ESA, we must look this gift horse in the mouth as unless the Government are providing the same exemption to Universal Credit claimants, it is a meaningless gesture.

“Given that the Government recognise now the distress unnecessary re-testing causes people, the exemption should also apply to people who meet the same criteria for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. We need to ensure that chronic mental health conditions are included in exemption too.”

Illnesses such as severe Huntington's, autism or a congenital heart condition are amongst those that are likely to qualify for continuous payments without reassessment. The criteria will be drawn up with health professionals.

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