Disability News

ESA disability benefits are changing THIS WEEK

New changes to disability benefits which will affect thousands of people in Britain took effect this week.

The Tories may have promised to end their assault on welfare for vulnerable people.

But some of the cuts announced by Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne haven't even taken force until now.

And those coming in this week could prove more painful for families across the country than any others since the Conservatives launched their austerity campaign back in 2010.

The changes will hit lowest-income families the hardest.

They have taken two years to come into force since being announced by Osborne.

It is estimated the cuts will affect 515,000 families by 2020.

Here is everything you need to know:

NOTE: Our figures are from a mixture of the government and the independent House of Commons Library. Remember, you will face equivalent cuts if you've moved onto all-in-one benefit Universal Credit.

What is being changed?

Woman in wheelchair waiting at station platform
Although Irish Rail has a robust disability access statement, Danielle says she was left for some time

People claiming disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will get £29.05 less every week if they're deemed fit for 'work-related activity' (WRAG). They will get £73.10, the same as Jobseekers' Allowance, instead of £102.15.

How many people are affected - and how much money will it save?

The government say it will save £350million a year by 2020.

Around 500,000 people will be affected by the change in the long term.

Why is it controversial?

The plan has outraged charities, Labour and the House of Lords, who all say ESA claimants need more support than jobseekers. Mind says the £1,500-a-year cut "will make their lives even more difficult and will do nothing to help them return to work".

Who is affected?

  • People who start claiming ESA WRAG after 3 April 2017
  • People who stop claiming ESA for 12 weeks or more, then return to it

Who isn't affected:

  • Current claimants, IF they keep claiming without a long break (above)
  • ESA claimants in the more serious 'support group'
  • People already on ESA who are moved from the 'support' group to the WRAG group