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Incapacity benefit shake-up begins

People in receipt of incapacity benefit across Wales will today start getting letters asking them to be reassessed as part of part of government plans to reduce the number of long-term claimants in a rolling programme through to 2014.

Work and Pensions minister Chris Grayling said: “My message to people who are worried about this process is that this is all about helping those who can return to work.

“It’s not about forcing people to return to work, but unless we do the assessments, unless we identify who has that potential, we’ll never be able to offer that help.”

But a number of disability charities have criticised the assesments saying that many people who are genuinely ill or disabled risk being removed from disability benefits.

Under the initiative, once claimants have had a work capability assessment they will be placed in one of three groups.

Those immediately fit for work will be put on jobseeker’s allowance.

Those deemed unable to work because of sickness or disability will be entitled to the highest rate of employment support allowance, and will not be expected to look for work.

A middle section – those who have been long-term unemployed but judged capable of doing some form of work – will be placed in a “work related activity group”

Some areas of Wales have the highest claimaint rates in Britain.


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