ESA exemption announced by DWP
The MND Association welcomes today’s announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that people living with progressive and incurable health conditions will be exempt from the need to be reassessed for eligibility for higher-rate Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)*, The new policy will remove the need for repeat reassessments, by establishing a set of criteria which will incorporate people living with MND.
However, we are very disappointed that the new exemption criteria will not apply automatically to existing ESA claimants. They will need to undergo yet another reassessment in order to be placed in this new exemption category at their next scheduled reassessment.
The announcement follows a year of campaigning by the MND Association and its supporters to ensure the Government delivered on its commitment, first made in October 2016, to end the practice of unnecessary and stressful reassessments for people coping with lifelong health conditions. We have worked closely with the DWP to ensure that the criteria they developed would create a full exemption for everyone living with MND and claiming ESA in the future.
Although we are disappointed with the implementation, this new policy will eventually benefit hundreds of people living with MND and we would like to thank everyone who supported this campaign. Your efforts ensured that the issue remained high on the Government’s agenda and will make a real difference to hundreds of people living with MND who rely on this important benefit.
If you are affected by this change or want to find out more about the benefits you could be entitled to, please contact the Association’s Benefits Advice Service.
* ESA is a key benefit for people living with disability as it is the primary income-replacement benefit for people who are no longer able to work as a result of their health condition. Government figures suggest that there are over 600 people living with MND in the ESA Support Group.