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Employment and Support Allowance Claimants

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the proposed criteria are for the reserved circumstances group of employment and support allowance claimants; and how these will be decided. (78363)

The new employment and support allowance will focus on how we can help people into work and will not automatically assume that because a person has a specific health condition or disability they are incapable of work.

We are still developing details of the criteria that will decide whether a person's physical or mental functions are so severely limited that it would be unreasonable to require them to engage in work-related activity. We want to ensure that the criteria are based on functional ability, not on diagnosis, and that they will correctly identify those who should receive benefit without having to take part in work-related activity, without dismissing those for whom engagement is possible.

In developing the criteria, we are taking into account the comments that have been made in response to the Government's consultation paper.