Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 6, 2013 12:05:11 GMT
How can the DWP's reassessment programme be working...
When the numbers just don't add up? ......
There's something about the DWP's massive reassessment programme of around 2.6 million claimants which simply doesn't add up.
Okay I admit it; I'm mildly obsessive over drawing attention to certain elements of welfare reform which I believe are steering us towards one almighty car crash so understandably some may say I'm ever so slightly biased. In truth, I have looked at this objectively from all angles and my overarching impression is that we are dealing with an absolutely chaotic system within the DWP. I believe it to be chaos caused quite simply by subjecting far too many claimants to an out of control re-assessment programme aimed predominantly at finding people, many of whom are genuinely incapacitated, 'fit for work'.
It is a totally unnecessary chaos overly ambitious in its objective and to be quite honest never worth all the money being spent on it because contrary to common belief great numbers are not, in the overall scheme of it all, really being found 'fit for work' at all.
We all know the DWP can produce any number of neat 'statistical releases' and feed the press with their cunning sound bites, but it's just more of the same manipulation of data. Misleading data which hides much greater problems within the DWP who are it would appear at breaking point in having to process such huge numbers. But at the end of the day I just keep coming back to the same nagging doubt. My doubt focuses on the unmistakable and irrefutable fact that despite all the harshness of the programme and the billions of pounds which must have been thrown at it there are still almost as many 'on the sick' today as there was when they started this mammoth monster of a reassessment programme. To date the DWP has failed to string all of the available data together to give you the real overall picture.
Yes we have had all manner of different claims being made by the DWP, yes the media have been relentlessly taunting the tormented and there's little doubt that certain government ministers are right behind the sensationalist headlines which have led those who are taken in by it all to believe that 75% on the sick really are skivers. Millions of unsuspecting tabloid readers have been duped in to believing that only 1 in 14 is actually unfit for work. They've pushed the rhetoric beyond all the boundaries in an effort to get you to believe how successfully the programme is flushing those on welfare out of a wilderness of welfare dependency spanning 3 generations or more. Each headline will all of course be discreetly related to one particular and carefully selected set of statistics to tell the voters what it is they love to hear. The public just don't do benefits and won't have a clue over how they are being misled; they will just relate the scrounging rhetoric to everyone on the sick - it 'tars all with the same horrible brush'.
Each and every DWP statement is specially designed to be widely misleading from the outset. It's pushed out at the beginning to achieve the desired brainwashing effect after which misleading information becomes a complete irrelevance because once you tell the wider public that we are a nation of malingerers the damage is done; no amount of small print retraction is going to do anything to reverse the damage.
More recently the Employment Minister Mark Hoban changed his tone to reflect how the numbers have now slid down to just one third of claimants who are fit for work; a far cry from the original three quarters. Notably the DWP never phrase something like 'one third fit for work' it in its real terms - 'two thirds are perfectly entitled to a benefit which is next to impossible to get on'. It would be wishful thinking to expect the DWP to come clean over their gleeful promotion of these disability damaging distortions. The latest set of statistics for those claiming Employment & Support Allowance for new claimants tells us that around half of those tested are fit for work and therefore shouldn't be claiming the 'sick' at all.
Despite the DWP happily paying out the incapacity benefits it once proudly boasted about since the mid 90's they would now all of a sudden have you believe that a massive 50% aren't sick enough to be on the sick; the inference being that lazy claimants should stop malingering and help Government in its plans to get Britain 'back to work'.
Thankfully a figure of 50% is an easy number to work with, half being sick enough to qualify for the allowance and the other half not sick enough to warrant any support. To all intents and purposes it may sound like the Employment & Support Allowance is working wonders when it comes to sorting out the sick, by all accounts it's weeding out 5 in every 10 of claimants as completely 'fit for work' - oh and don't the wider public just love it!
50% aren't sick, half of all claimants are fit for work, 5 in every 10 could work instead of pretending to be sick.
Actually the greater pretence is within the DWP; for this is a system which is clearly not working.
Let's just see how this works out....
The first step is to look at the total number of claimants on any incapacity benefit before Employment & Support Allowance was so much as introduced back in October 2008. The most helpful figure to work from originates from the 'DWP longitudinal data study'. It is a 'clean' figure because it cannot possibly take any account of the Employment & Support Allowance which I am putting under scrutiny; here are the figures for August 2008 before Employment & Support Allowance commenced:
Total number on all incapacity benefits
Now let's fast forward to the most up to date figures available for all incapacity benefits claimants by which we can now include those claiming the Employment & Support Allowance. Throughout all of these posts remember 'incapacity benefits' (ib) is the collective term for contributory based Incapacity Benefit, Incapacity Credit cases (usually as a link to Income Support entitlement), Severe Disablement and more recently the Employment & Support Allowance. The government's reassessment programme is timetabled to 'swallow up' all incapacity benefits in to the Employment & Support Allowance by some unspecified date in 2014/2015 - it will then at some stage merge with Universal Credit (but confusingly only for those on the 'income based' ESA variant rather than the 'contributory' version).
The up to date figures are important because they more effectively show what is really happening in terms of the overall claimant count. Remember that from October 2008 all new incapacity claimants will have had to claim its replacement - the Employment & Support Allowance. From April/May 2011 (with the exception of a pilot in October 2010) the DWP launched a massive reassessment of all existing incapacity benefits to see if their claims were suitable for 'conversion' to Employment & Support Allowance. Those not suitable for the conversion to the allowance would either have to claim another benefit or support themselves without relying on the DWP.
Let us now compare our figure for August 2008 with these for February 2012...
Claimants on all incapacity benefits (February 2012)
Claimants on Employment & Support Allowance (February 2012)
Claimants on all incapacity benefits (IB)+ Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) (February 2012)
IB + ESA 2,593,860
The last figure is the combined number all of incapacity benefit claims 'live' as of February 2012. These figures punch a hole in the government's claims to be reducing the numbers 'on the sick' - the figures clearly show that there is only a very marginal reduction. The fact is that despite introducing a highly controversial and very rigid assessment of the sick (the infamous 'Work Capability Assessment' ) with purportedly ruthless examinations by the infamous Atos healthcare (the DWP's contracted healthcare provider) the system is yielding a pitifully low reduction of just a few thousand - I'm coming to the exact figure in a moment or so.
In considering the 'reduction figure' bear in mind how Atos are reported by the Public Accounts Committee to be conducting around 740,000 ESA healthcare professional assessments per year alongside which the DWP is going flat out assessing over twice that number according to evidence given by DWP Permanent Secretary Robert Devereux in Parliament last year. In his evidence Devereux conceded that his department was carrying out no less than 130,000 checks per month on ESA claims - that's 1.5 million checks per year. I encourage you not to forget how the ESA programme has now been rolling for well over 4 years.
It simply cannot make sense to have tested so many with the DWP boasting repeatedly over how many claimants they are finding fit for work with a rigorous test of the sick to end up with a pitifully low reduction of just 38,140 fewer claimants throughout the duration of the Employment & Support Allowance reassessment programme by scrutinising the figures available between August 2008 and February 2012 ....
Total reduction in overall incapacity benefit
(August 2008 - February 2012)
2,632,000 (2008) minus
- 2,593,860 (2012)
>> 38,140 <<
38,140 fewer 'on the sick' - how can it be so few?
That's the questions millions of tax payers would want an answer to if this was, as it should be, splashed all over the headlines. We are being sold this 'fixing of the sick' as achieving positive results because all we ever hear about are limited statistics on the outcome of the Work Capability Assessment telling us 'X' amount of people have been found 'fit for work'. It's simple, if the assessment was as good at doing what it says on the tin (what I believe Government calls the 'Ronseal' deal) the numbers on the sick would have plummeted far more dramatically than they actually have.
Think of all the millions upon millions spent on costly DWP decision-making, claim processing and all those Atos assessments, the need for endless appeals, requests for reconsiderations, repeat assessments, changes in the law, hours debating all of it in Parliament, the DWP running round like headless chickens trying to process it all, the grief suffered by those who are paralysed by fear over being wrongly assessed and worst of all the stories of people who have died in the run up to or shortly after assessments - how can we not see something is badly wrong here with only 38,140 fewer on the sick despite the DWP having reassessed what is now millions of claimants?
I ask you - 38,140 fewer claimants in over 4 years of assessments? It's below the number which the DWP assess in a single month! - how can it possibly make any sense when the DWP are saying they are assessing claimant after claimant and finding approximately half of them completely 'fit for work'?
When I run this by people they calmly say 'it doesn't surprise me' and I think to myself "how can this not surprise and shock you, how can you not see something is seriously wrong here?"
It's obvious something is wrong here and someone in the government needs to get on to the DWP and get it sorted out. Even in the most simplistic of analysis there has to be something wrong.
A simple analysis:
Let's say you have on average approximately 100 people per year claiming an incapacity benefit of some description in 'Scrounger Street' in 'Skiver town' within the district of 'Faker-Ville' from 1998 and then in 2008 the dreaded Employment & Support Allowance is introduced. From then on the DWP starts to find approximately 50% of all the claimants they annually assess in Skiver- Town as 'fit for work'. It goes without saying that the remaining 50% will be allowed to stay on their incapacity benefits providing they can continue to show that they meet the much tougher conditions imposed upon them by way of Employment & Support Allowance.
This is how figures for Skiver-Town will look...
'Skiver Town' incapacity figures
1998 - 2011
The figures in Skiver - Town are bound to have fallen from October 2008 onwards if twice as many are found 'fit for work', the numbers can only fall and at quite a rapid rate providing the number of new claims does not otherwise increase. I have studied incapacity figures both before and after ESA was introduced and what I can tell you, having already provided the figures in previous posts on Mylegal with a link to Parliamentary 'projection' figures which you can view hereand also hereis that the incapacity figures were falling well before Employment & Support Allowance was introduced.
Employment & Support Allowance is not fixing the sick at all; do not be fooled by the 'fit for work' figures - they are to some extent a complete red herring. The 'Faker - Ville' example used above is no different to what you should expect to see reflected in the overall claimant count when you start to reduce the numbers eligible to claim a benefit by half.
Statistical issues a plenty:
'Ah' I hear you say - but what about the number of people who flow on and off these benefits? what about those that are capable of some work and yet can still claim Employment & Support Allowance? What about those still on the older incapacity benefit? What about the fact that more people may be claiming than before? What about those who claim benefit and stay on benefit for longer periods than other claimants?
You would be correct, they all have a relevance but none the less it is a relevance which the overall claimant count already takes account of because of the way it 'tracks' the claimant count.
All these factors have a relevance but remember in our 'Skiver - Town' example we are looking at a case-load figure of 100 claimants per year (measuring the number at the same time every year) so people flowing on and off their benefits are already taken into account and represented in the overall count. If you assume in an average year that out of the 100 claimants 50 claimants stay exactly as they are but 50 claimants end their claims and are replaced by another 50 who make a new claim - the figure will remain at 100 for that year. This is why when following these figures and tracking the performance of the assessment programme you cannot just follow the Work Capability Assessments statistics without also checking on the overall effect they are having on the claimant count. The best way of doing this is by checking the DWP longitudinal data series using the links for Employment & Support Allowanceand Incapacity Benefits (combined information)
Remember also when considering the 'Faker - Ville' example how it would be the case that from October 2008 (when ESA was introduced) it will be much harder to continually claim ESA because we are told that 5 out of every 10 claims is disallowed when it comes to making a decision on the claim; it should by all accounts be twice as difficult to remain on ESA when compared with the previous incapacity benefit. I would therefore expect, even when taking all things in to account, that the claim figures should reduce quite significantly. For those of you who are thinking 'assessment phase' - hang fire because I'm coming to that in due course.
If we sprung this on government they would no doubt magic up a defence and tell us 'ah but that's way too simplistic, you've not told them all about the work related activity group, those in assessment and the fact we were only quoting that 50% from new claim statistics". To which I may just say....
"Ha ha, - exactly -
have a taste of your medicine you statistical swindling scoundrels -
Just as you didn't go out of your way to explain any of this when backing wildly inaccurate headlines in the tabloids?.. "
Government has made a rod for its own back because sooner or later someone is going to cotton on to these far from falling numbers. Your average benefit bashing member of the public doesn't want to hear all the technical stuff, they just want people 'off the sick' because let's face it they've been brainwashed in to believing that no less than 75% should never have been on it in the first place. They will never forget headlines like this...
Although of course it is yet to dawn on our dearly beloved tabloid readers that the goalposts or rather headlines have shifted. We have have gone from '75% are fit for work' to the more recent announcement by Mr Hoban that it's now '1 in 3' Incapacity Benefit claimants who are fit for work - oddly enough a reduction from 75% to 33% doesn't warrant a mention. I suspect that's why government is already showing signs of struggling with how it puts out its less odious public message. It slightly amuses me to see how the DWP are now boasting about offering claimants something they laughingly call 'unconditional support' and are now firmly focussed on 'helping people in to work'. Oh well at least we've moved in the right direction, even though the DWP steadfastly continue to mislead everyone by quoting from one set of figures at a time only. This is how they get away with reporting the following:
"68% are 'Fit for work"
They do so by only quoting the figures for new Employment & Support Allowance Claims and failing to provide the correctly adjusted figures after people have appealed. Remember that before you can appeal you must first of all be assessed.
The figures which they omit to tell you about would paint a very different picture:
New ESA claimants who have been reassessed after their initial claim..
"71% entitled to their sickness benefits"
Or in the case of Incapacity benefit to ESA claimants..
"68% were sick after all"
Whilst these figures are a whole lot better than the ones we see in the tabloids, they are still not fully adjusted to take account of appeals - the DWP press releases tells you they are but look for the small print and you will see they are not. From my look at the way the same DWP appeal adjusted data changes from a release in November 2012 when compared with January 2013 I can see that the information 'lag' after claimants appeal is more in the region of 14 months than the 8 months quoted by the hard pressed department. This is how long it takes for a claimant to go through the appeal process (very often to an independent Tribunal) starting at the DWP then to the Tribunal followed by an 'update' of the data back at the DWP at the end of the process. I'll come back to this later on in the thread.
Whilst the 71% and 68% entitled figures are of course a step in the right direction let's stick with refuting the more widely held (but misguided) perception that around of claimants 50% of new Employment & Support Allowance claimants are being found fit for work. This is what the DWP say in a recent press release here.
However if you look at this, which ever way you twist it, the bottom line is that if the DWP are sticking to the '50% are fit for work' sound bite the claimant count should have fallen by way more than 38,100 - there has to be something fundamentally wrong for the number to be so low. The fact is we need to look in to the reasons why the reassessment of millions is achieving well to be honest next to nothing.
I believe I have unearthed a source of what could be a great deal of misunderstanding over the way people, including our politicians, are interpreting the figures and that is why I think it needs explaining. In our next post we will be visiting a certain minister's Parliamentary Constituency to see how well the sick figures are standing up on someone's very own door step...
In the next post we pay a visit to see just where the
The Westminster Parliamentary constituency of the Right Honourable Iain Duncan Smith. I chose this as my starting point; having no idea how the figures would turn out and also because I admit I am just a little bit curious to see how well the man at the top of the DWP tree is doing when it comes to the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants on his home patch. It doesn't seem unreasonable to expect a clean bill of health from the local office of the DWP when the man in overall charge of the area also happens to be one other than IDS.
So let's see how the figures stand up or fall down as the case may be..
In the first table you can see how the total number of claimants on Employment & Support Allowance is recorded as 1,100 in February 2012. The number can be compared with the claimant count of 50 in November 2008; shortly after ESA was introduced in October of the same year...
Employment & Support Allowance claimants (Chingford & Woodford Green)
The above table shows an upward 'year on year' rise in the number of Employment & Support Allowance claimants. It's worth noting how claimants are classified as 'unknown' up to February 2009, from then on they get grouped in to one of the three following sets (1) Assessment Phase (2) Work Related Activity Group) or the (3) Support Group.
It's also worth noting that as of February 2012 around 50% of all ESA claimants in Chingford and Woodford Green (520) have yet to be assessed.
Now let's take a look at all the incapacity benefit claimants - this is the collective term for all those claiming contribution based Incapacity Benefit, those claiming 'Incapacity Credits' (generally because they have to in order to qualify for Income Support which is the benefit they would need to claim if they have paid insufficient national insurance contributions to qualify for Incapacity Benefit) and those on Severe Disablement Allowance, from October 2008 Employment & Support Allowance falls under the collective term 'incapacity benefit' but it is separately recorded in the data sets.
Now let's have a look at how well IDS & the gang at the DWP are tackling long term welfare dependency with the incapacity benefit to ESA 'conversion' programme which was subject to a nationwide roll out in April/May 2011...
Incapacity benefit to ESA 'conversion' claimants (Chingford & Woodford Green)
* Note: The figures do not sum due to rounding and the way the DWP display their statistics in units of thousands - the ones shown are a duplicate of the ones shown on the DWP data base.
The above table shows how slowly the conversion process got off to a start in Chingford & Woodford Green. This backs up my previously expressed belief that the first conversions would most probably come from Severe Disablement Allowance claim groups who would be easier to identify in to a placement within the Support Group. the table also illustrates something of interest in so much that no claimants appear in the 'Assessment Phase' until November 2011. the 60 Assessment Phase claimants (November 2011 and February 2012) must all be appeal claimants because this is the only route in to the Assessment Phase in an incapacity benefit to ESA conversion. An ib conversion claimant is only placed in the Assessment Phase if they are appealing against a decision to disallow them Employment & Support Allowance. All of the claimants shown in the table would however have gone through a Conversion Phase which is not (as I have pointed out before) recorded in the DWP statistics.
The number of conversion cases going through the DWP reassessment programme (with 180 recorded cases by February 2012) is very low considering that as of May 2011 (when the national roll out of ib/ESA conversions began) there were 2,060 pre-existing ib claimants in the Chingford & Woodford Green Constituency - it's less than a 10% reduction!
Contrary to the more populist notion that 50% are 'fit for work' and therefore not entitled to Employment & Support Allowance, the figures for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency shows that more claimants take up a claim (1,100) for Employment & Support Allowance than exit from all incapacity benefits (1,000) during exactly the same period. In other words Employment & Support Allowance is not leading to a reduction in the numbers claiming on the grounds of incapacity for work - if that was the case we would be seeing far fewer ESA claimants; just as in our 'Faker-Ville' example in the previous post.
These figures also show you that a large number of claims (in this case 50%) have still to assessed. The Assessment Phase figure also includes claimants who are appealing against a 'fit for work' decision.
So in Chingford and Woodford Green, right under IDS's nose, incapacity benefit claims (which is the generic term including Employment & Support Allowance) have actually gone up rather than down. Of course there are other factors to consider but as far as this constituency is concerned there are more 'on the sick' in February 2012 than in November 2008 and that's a fact!
I wonder if anyone has told IDS?
If only the tabloids saw sense and seized upon this; imagine the headlines....
"Numbers on the sick swell in IDS's constituency"
"50% on the sick not yet assessed by chaotic DWP in benefit minister's constituency"
They've both got a certain ring to them I reckon - a ring of truth.
I live in hope that some eager journo may just see this and seize the opportunity to expose the DWP's reassessment programme for what it is - absolute chaos, so if one of you is reading please be my guest (nice to get a mention though). Don't think it's just Chingford & Woodford Green, using the links which I have provided you can check your own constituency and see for yourself how this is very much a National problem. Just about everywhere the figures in the 'assessment phase' account for the biggest percentage of claimants. On this note and in the next post we are going to go in search of this elusive 'assessment phase', the figure which no one in DWP likes to talk about - it is vitally important that we do because it explains a lot....
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 8, 2013 17:09:40 GMT
Can you spot what's wrong?
See what's missing? ....
Notice in particular the 1% 'still in progress' figure.
Is that compatible with the reassessment of millions of claims by the DWP?
The above chart was apparently sourced from the DWP according to the Daily Mail who used it to highlight yet more sensationalist headlines aimed at shock readers in to believing how effectively the government and DWP was 'weeding out the workshy'; the article appeared in October 2010 and was one amongst many others which found there way all over the country sporting those all too familiar headlines "75% of incapacity claimants are fit to work: Tough new benefits test weeds out the workshy" . In this spectacularly bad piece of journalism the Daily Mail went on to say how the same degree of testing could whittle the incapacity count down from 2.6 million to just 650,000 claimants.
Perhaps someone should break it to the Daily Mail that here we are in February 2013; over two years since the Daily Mail went to press, since when millions more assessments have been carried out by the DWP.
The latest figure available confirms the claimant count to be 2,593,860 which I hasten to add is a mere 6,140 short of 2.6 million and a heck of a way off the 650,000 figure they were hoping and praying for.
I should add the DWP just 'celebrated' its 'halfway' point on the reassessment programme. Even the Daily Mail will appreciate that on performance to date there is little prospect of the incapacity claimant count falling to anything remotely like 650,000, indeed the government & DWP's very own predictions so us that by 2016/17 they are still expecting well over 2 million claimants to remain on Incapacity Benefit or incapacity credits with a further 44,000 on Severe Disability Living Allowance by the end of the programme. You can read more Government's reassessment projections hereand see how the whole programme is in fact running to what almost certainly appears to be targets; presumably to meet the timetable for Universal Credit implementation which encapsulates Employment & Support Allowance claims when it eventually gets off the ground.
However I digress, let me get back to my question: what earth - shattering piece of vitally importance information is missing from the above DWP chart?
A vital but missing figure...
Can you spot what's missing, what's simply not there?
The DWP 'pie - chart' is I tell you missing one almighty fair sized slice chunk...
I firmly believe there's a great deal of misunderstanding over these statistics. The DWP pie chart (based on actual DWP statistics) neatly draws your attention to a relatively minor percentage of just 1% of cases which are seemingly in a 'state of progress'. Frankly when I first saw this 1% figure I was bemused if not a little angry over the way the DWP blatantly misrepresent the claimants they are after all meant to be supporting.
Just 1%? Remember we are talking about the DWP here, a department which isn't exactly well known for it's ability to process claims at the speed of light. A figure of 1% of claims processed on time is one which I would perhaps be more inclined to accept - oh perhaps that's being a bit unkind. However, whatever the figure there is no way on earth that the DWP is achieving anything like a rate of 99% efficiency in processing claims....
In the DWP pie you will see information which is replicated from yet another highly selective statistic data set related to ESA 'Work Capability Assessment' findings which prop up the same old message - 'benefit claimants on the sick are just a load of scroungers'; just more of the same relentless tabloid brainwashing.
I'm never to sure why the DWP love pushing these headlines when it was they who actually put all these apparently scrounging claimants on the sick in the first place! - does it not make them look inept rather than the government of the day? Or does no one at the DWP actually take responsibility for anything these days?
That said I'm far from convinced any of these figures do anything to support the scrounger myth; I just happen to think they make the DWP look increasingly inept. The 'real' results are reflected in the overall claimant count and I've already shown you how pitifully low the reduction is when it comes to actually getting claimants off the sick.
Perhaps the truth is the numbers aren't falling simply because there are far more entitled to benefits than government cares to concede to?
In previous Mylegal articles I've attempted to draw your attention to the importance of using the Excel spreadsheets provided by the DWP rather than rely on their 'statistical releases' which are rather prone to promoting 'headline key facts'.
The devil as always is to be found in the detail. It's tedious I know, but in order to challenge these figures you need to look at how they are constructed and to understand how they work. The DWP pie chart and the statistics upon which it is based will fool everyone because they miss out crucial data. It is data which we know exists within the national statistics and which is reflected in the figures for IDS's very own constituency in Chingford & Woodford Green.
Use the links in the Chingford & Woodford Green example and you will see that a high rate of placements in the ESA assessment phase is nothing short of a National epidemic - take a look at your own area and you will see what I mean.
How strange is it that in the vast majority of areas we are seeing in some cases up to 50% of all ESA claimants stuck in the assessment phase whereas in the hugely over promoted Work Capability Assessments figures all we see is a much lower percentage of cases which are apparently 'still in progress'.
The Pie chart would have you believe that a mere 1% of all cases are 'applications still in progress'. The pie chart is modelled on the Work Capability Assessment statistics which only show outstanding cases as those which are somehow said to be 'still in progress'.
In the following extracts from all new ESA data tables to date I have replicated the most 'to date' figures in each set. Can any of you see any mention of an 'assessment phase' statistic appearing anywhere in these figures?
Here are the DWP Work Capability Assessments statistic totals in each date set to date...
Date of release
Fit for Work
Any outcome WRAG/SG/FFW
Closed before assessment
Still in progress
Any status Still in progress + closed claims
January 2013 (Oct 08 to May 2012)
October 2012 (Oct 08 to Feb 2012)
July 2012 (Oct 08 to Nov 2011)
April 2012 (Oct 08 to Aug 2011)
January 2012 (Oct 08 to May 2011)
October 2011 (Oct 08 to Feb 2011)
July 2011 (Oct 08 to Nov 2010)
April 2011 (Oct 08 to Aug 2010)
January 2011 (Oct 08 to May 2010)
Once again the DWP figures relate to new claims only. These figures are taken from consecutive data tables (all the links are provided in the next post) and show how the claims have been processed by the DWP from when the programme started in October 2008. Each new release will always start from October 2008 but will cover a longer date range as the programme continues for a longer length period. The figures shown are the cumulative totals as of the end date shown in brackets - so the January 2013 release for example shows that as of May 2012 (the latest date in the brackets) the total number of cases dealt with by the DWP was 2,415,400. Likewise the total number in the Support Group as of May 2012 was 232,800.
It is important to bear in mind how data sets when released will have an 'updating' effect on the same information in previous versions because the input of new data has a retrospective effect. So let's say when the October 2012 table was released, the data in the previous table for July 2012 will have been updated; this can affect all statistics for each month in the data due to 'data lag'.
I'm going to provide a more simple explanation over how 'data lag' works in a later post on this thread as it is important to be able to understand it.
This is why I place a greater reliance on the data tables rather than statistical releases; it is key to remember that the statistics are only relevant to when they are produced. You should always check the most up to date table or set of statistics. The only purpose in looking at an earlier set is to make a comparison with the latest set - the data continually 'rolls on' from one set to another and many of the previous figures will have changed; it is very important to understand this before making anything of any of the statistics.
But the relevance of the this particular post is to highlight what is missing from the data tables in all of the Work Capability Assessment data sets....
What we are missing are the Assessment Phase figures...
The figure which is of interest is the 80,100 cases which are 'still in progress' as shown for February 2012 in the October 2012 release. Remember these are the figures taken from the Work Capability Assessments for new ESA claims only.
Now let us compare the 80,100 'still in progress' figure with the 'Assessment Phase' figure also for February 2012. Just click the link....
There's a heck of a difference between the 424,170 in the Assessment Phase which is only shown in the DWP longitudinal data study and the 'Still in progress' figure of 80,100 shown in the Work Capability Assessment statistics.
- whereas all the other figures between the two sets closely match. In the Work Capability Assessment statistics there are 309,150 claimants in the Work Related Activity Group which is comparable with the 340,600 figure in the longitudinal study (there will always be a misalignment between the two due to the way the figures are recorded . In the Work Capability Assessment statistics 200,900 claimants are shown in the Support Group which again closely matches the 198,900 shown in the Longitudinal study especially when the DWP concede to having 58,970 'unknown' ESA claimants as shown in the DWP study figures.
We can safely say we have a distinct variance between:
80,100 'still in progress' cases shown in the DWP's 'Work Capability Assessment' statistics
When compared with 424,170 'Assessment Phase' cases shown in the DWP's 'longitudinal' figures.
Why is there this anomaly?
It is after all something which is to say the least misleading.
I will come to why the Assessment Phase is not shown in the Work Capability Assessment statistics in due course. For now all you need to know is it is a figure which is omitted from one set of figures.
The assessment phase count is not shown in the DWP Work Capability Assessment statistics, it only appears in the DWP longitudinal study. I firmly believe the 'still in progress' figure is one which people look at and think ' well that's not too bad; assuming it to be a figure for claimants awaiting their assessments. It's how the DWP chart at the top of this post misleads you in to thinking that just 1% of cases are 'still in progress' - I hasten to remind you again that we are talking about the DWP here!
Oh and as always let's not be forgetting those 'other' data sets...
Up to May 2012
(A) 2,415,400 New Employment & Support claims - cases to date - of which 99,500 'still in progress'
In addition the figures which the DWP omits to group together with (A)..
(B) 816,500 New ESA cases subject to repeat assessment - all cases to date - of which 135,000 'still in progress'
(C) 603,600 Incapacity benefit conversions - all cases to date - of which 17,100 'still in progress'.
Which actually comes to 251,600 cases which are 'still in progress' out of all three (A) (B) & (C) claim sets
A grand total of 3,835,500 ESA cases
up to May 2012 - (8 months ago)
"3.8 million cases"
3.8 million ESA cases put through the DWP claim handlers and just 1% of cases 'still in progress'? - you have got to be having having a laugh! - what's even more worrying is we are only half way through the programme! How many more cases will they have had to process by the end of this chaotic programme?
Surely no one can even start to believe that the DWP is plodding along nicely, with all assessments on time, not a hiccup with Atos, nor with the Tribunals, or with claims going astray. There is no way the DWP is managing to keep up to date with just 1% of cases still being in progress - it's unthinkable.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 9, 2013 12:09:03 GMT
Employment & Support Allowance....
Curing all ills & getting a Nation 'fit for work?'
No more excuses, no more shirking your responsibilities, no more lounging around in sick beds, no more handouts, no more free oxygen at enormous cost to the NHS, no more excuses, no more overly sympathetic GP's handing out sick notes like Smarties, no more years on welfare when you could be busy stacking shelves at Morrisons...
From October 2008 Employment & Support Allowance promised to support millions on the sick in to work. The mammoth reassessment of the sick programme is now at its half way point so lets have a look at what's been achieved to date and see if it is doing what it should be doing. As its name implies the allowance is all about 'supporting' those with limitations in to work- but is it doing what it says on the tin?
Wind back to the controversial start of the programme...
Curtains to 2.6 Million on welfare?
Has it all gone horribly wrong?
3.8 Million Employment & Support Allowance claims
More than the DWP can process?
Can the DWP realistically wade through this many claims?
3.8 million is a heck of lot of claims (be they on paper, over the phone or via the internet) to be processed. This is the astonishing number of claims which the DWP has had to handle in the cumulative case-load totals for all claimants going through the ESA process. From October 2008 to May 2012 no less than 2,415,400 new ESA claims were made, 816,500 repeat claims were processed and 603,600 incapacity benefit cases were subject to migration over to ESA. That's a total of 3,835,500 - around 3.8 million!
the 3.8 million figure averages out at no less than 87,000 claims per month which need 'handling' by the hard pressed DWP. It squares with DWP Permanent Secretary Robert Devereux's evidence before a parliamentary evidence session in to the DWP reassessment programme held late last year when he conceded to a monthly figure of 130,000 when quoting figures for 2011/2012. The higher figure would make sense because of the more intensive accent on repeat reassessment and incapacity benefit conversion since the incoming government took up the reigns in 2010 with a vigorous campaign aimed at showing 75% were fit for work.
Out of 3.8 million claims how many were assessed? ....
2.7 million Work Capability Assessments
More than Atos can safely handle?
2.7 Million completed assessments conducted from October 2008, 1,437,600 for new ESA claims, 681,500 for repeat ESA claims and 566,800 for incapacity benefit to ESA conversions making a total of 2,685,900 - very close to 2.7 million in total.
1.2 million allegedly 'Fit for work'
The Work Capability Assessment figures which resulted in claimants being found 'Fit for Work' (which does not always necessitate a face to face examination) figures up to May 2012 are 837,600 for new ESA claims, 197,700 for ESA repeat assessments and 179,900 for incapacity benefit to ESA conversions making a total of 1,215,200 - very close to 1.2 million in total. That's around 45% 'fit for work' across all three groups meaning that around 55% are entitled to the Employment & Support Allowance; but remember the appeal results and the reconsiderations of the original decisions? - these also need to be taken in to account.
So with such vast numbers being found fit for work we should expect major reductions in the claimant count; at which point I again remind you that from October 2008 to May 2012 the overall incapacity reduction figure was just. ...
'38, 140 claimants'
Which as one of my Twitter followers puts it, seems to have done the trick in showing that something isn't quite right with this mass cleansing of the sick, as he puts it...
"one of the clearest illustrations I've seen:
'there used to be 2.63m claimants, there are still 2.59m'
…simple & unambiguous"
There is of course more to come. Particularly concerning the 1.2 million who never got as far as being assessed...
I will also be looking at our 1.2 million claimants allegedly found fit work and those placed in the Work Related Activity Group to see how many actually got attached to the Work Programme....
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 9, 2013 16:46:51 GMT
How many await the dreaded
DWP rubber stamp? ....
The DWP would have you believe that only 1% of ESA claims are 'still in progress'....
Have you ever dealt with the DWP to know how inherently unlikely their claim is?
In this post we are going to take a look at two sets of claimants, those who's cases are 'still in progress' and those who never get as far as having their Employment & Support Allowance assessed to the point where an 'outcome' is ever recorded on their claim. It is my contention that the still in progress figure is not the same as the 424,170 Assessment Phase claim figures which I have referred to in previous posts.
Remember every single new ESA claim starts in the Assessment Phase; it is the first part of what the DWP calls the 'customer journey'.
Some claimants appealing against ESA repeat assessment decisions and IB to ESA conversion decisions will also find themselves being drawn in to the DWP's mysterious Assessment Phase.
The cumulative totals for all (up to May 2012) claimants put through the Assessment Phase in all of the Work Capability Assessment statistics (sets which I have previously referred to as (A) (B) & (C) would be a much greater number than the 167,200 claimants shown as 'still in progress' for all three sets. What we know from all of the previous figures is that of around 3.8 million ESA claims which have processed up to May 2012 - each one will have been put through the Assessment Phase with the exception of some claimants in the ESA repeat reassessment as well as the incapacity benefit to ESA conversions cases where only those who appeal go in to the Assessment Phase.
We can work out from the DWP (WCA) statistics that 2,415,400 new claims have all been through the Assessment Phase from October 2008 to May 2012. Out of the 815,500 ESA 'repeat' claims a certain number will go in to the Assessment Phase because they appeal against a Work Capability Activity Group placement. Those who appeal 'repeat' assessments will have a propensity to appeal against a percentage of the 295,400 Work Related Activity Group placements where they believe they should have been placed in the Support Group but it is only those who appeal against the 197,700 'fit for work' repeat assessment decisions who will go in to the Assessment Phase.
Repeat claimants appealing against Work Capability Activity Group (WRAG) placement (usually for the Support Group) will stay in the WRAG group until their appeal is decided.
Of the 603,600 claimants in the incapacity benefit to ESA conversion case load, a percentage will end up being placed in the Assessment Phase but only if they appeal against the 179,900 found 'fit for work' in this category. Those placed in the Work Related Activity Group will stay in the WRAG until their appeal is heard.
The total number of Assessment Phase placements is therefore an absolute maximum of 2,415,400 new claims, a percentage of 197,700 claimants found fit for work on repeat assessment who end up appealing and a further percentage of 179,900 found fit work on ib to ESA conversion who end up appealing.
The total number of Assessment Phase placements assuming say 50% appeal in both categories (which is quite probable in repeat assessment and conversion cases) is therefore 2,415,400 + 188,800 = 2,604,200
It's way off the mark when compared with the 'still in progress' figures which I have detailed below.
I am seeking some clarification on the 'still in progress' status and believe it only relates to claim applications which have yet to progress to a an actual claim - it's when an application becomes a claim.
The terminology surrounding the DWP's reassessment programme very much revolves around the word 'assessment'; it's a word which is used in so many contexts. In each context the word assessment takes on a different meaning. It may help if I explain the meanings....
Assessment - a lose term for those who go through the Work Capability Assessment or who are otherwise assessed.
Work Capability Assessment (WCA) - the term which relates to the assessment by which a claimant is eligible for placement in the ESA (1) Support Group (2) Work Related Activity Group or (3) are 'Fit for Work'. The claimant undergoing WCA may undergo a face to face examination by Atos healthcare, they may be exempt from the WCA or their claim may be decided without a face to face examination (usually with medical 'scrutiny' advice being obtained from Atos but the legal decision surrounding Work Capability Assessment is always made by the DWP.
Assessment Phase - This refers to the claimant's placement in a phase prior to a legal decision being made on whether the claimant is entitled to ESA in the (1) Support Group (2) Work Related Activity Group or (3) found 'Fit for Work'. It is also the term used only in the DWP longitudinal data for the rate at which the claimant is paid. Claimants can appear in the WCA statistics as 'Fit for Work' despite them having appealed and only receiving the 'Assessment Phase' rate
Reassessment - A further assessment following the initial assessment, usually referred to as a 'repeat' assessment.
Taking a look now at the number of claims which are recorded in Work Capability Assessment statistics as having closed their claims before being assessed and the number of claimants who's cases are said to be 'still in progress' we see yet more alarming numbers....
New ESA claims
878,300 Closed claims before assessment
99,500 Still in progress
Repeat ESA claims
84,400 Closed claims before assessment
50,600 Still in progress
Incapacity benefit to ESA
19,700 Closed claims before assessment
17,100 Still in progress
Total all sets
982,400 closed claims before assessment
167,200 Still in progress
1,149,700 Total claims not assessed.
These figures show very close to a million cases were closed before the DWP assessed them. The DWP spin would be that this was a million malingers who chose to sign off in the knowledge they'd be coming up for the dreaded Atos assessment which would almost certainly find them 'fit for work'.
What of course the DWP won't tell you is that a fair number will have had to end their claims due to changes in the rules which means their entitlement to a contributory benefit (including time they spent on previous incapacity benefits) will have run out after one year meaning they will have had to end their claim.
Nor will the DWP tell you how many claimants have waited so long that before the DWP has assessed them they have recovered. The assessment process is meant to take 13 weeks but in practice it can take many months before they are seen by Atos or before the DWP can make a formal decision on their claim. It is quite conceivable that claimants will have waited so long that they recover and therefore decide to end their ESA claim. The DWP should expect this because they themselves say it is a short term & 'temporary' benefit where the claimant can be moved back in to work as quickly as possible.
Nor of course will the DWP concede to many claimants having their claim ended due to missing sick notes going astray, a foul up in their claim, a sanction of some sort, a problem on their claim or in many cases because the claimant is simply on the wrong benefit often as a result of the wrong advice being given by the DWP. Some claimants simply can't cope with the overly bureaucratic system and decide to end their claim. Those approaching retirement may have decided it was best to retire.
The DWP also fail to tell you how nearly 170,000 claims are said to be in limbo land as the over - burdened department fails to process their claim.
Oh and let's not be forgetting the 424,00 ESA claimants languishing on a pittance as they wait and wait in the ever mysterious 'Assessment Phase' - accounting for around 43% all 991,190 'live 'claimants showing in the ESA claimant count as of February 2012.
Applying a bit of 'reverse spin' ......
"Nearly 1 million sign off the sick after waiting so long they've recovered by the time the DWP offer them a medical for their ESA"
"170,000 claims stuck in filing cabinets
waiting to be processed "
"424,170 (43%) of ESA claims await a
Work Capability Assessment"
"Huge numbers counted in 'fit for work' statistics are
appeal cases waiting months
for cases to be heard"
More to come as we compare ESA against its predecessor Incapacity Benefit ...
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 10, 2013 11:32:56 GMT
How well is Employment & Support Allowance
Helping those with limitations back into work?
Remember the reassessment programme is meant to be the key to the right placement of incapacitated claimants into the government's flagship 'Work Programme', it stands to reason that if the claimant is incorrectly placed the chances of the Work Programme helping those with limitations into work are greatly reduced.
Finding claimants 'fit for work' when they are anything but is not in anyone's interest; especially a Work Provider or an employer who takes someone on in the belief they are well enough to work - employer's will be far from happy when it becomes clear to them that they have not been given the full picture of a claimant's health problems
'The Employment & Support Allowance programme is meant to be all about helping claimants with limitations back in to work. In this post we take a look at the numbers who have been assessed and end up being classified as entitled to Employment & Support Allowance.
Support Group placements
576,300 Claimants to May 2012
There is no mandatory expectation upon a claimant in the support group to look for work. Given how rigid the assessment is when it comes to placing people in the Support Group it's hardly surprising they are not required to work, you can check out how rigid the Support Group qualifying rules are by using this link - the rules are extremely stringent. To give you an example:
One 'descriptor' for the Support Group stipulates that in order to qualify you must show the following level of functional limitation when 'conveying food or drink to the mouth':
(a) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving physical assistance from someone else;
(b) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without repeatedly stopping, experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort;
(c) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s physical presence; or
(d) Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving
(i) physical assistance from someone else; or
(ii) regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence.
It's fair to say this particular descriptor near enough stipulates that you need to be spoon fed in order to get a placement within the Support Group - it's a very tough set of rules. Even so the DWP statistics show that over half a million claimants in the three groups I have referred to (A)+ (B) + (C) have been assessed as eligible for a Support Group placement.
'Work Related Activity Group' placements
894,600 Claimants to May 2012
When a claimant is placed in the Work Related Activity Group there is an expectation that they, despite their limitations, should be able to some work with appropriate levels of support being provided by the Work Programme to enable them to transition from welfare in to work. However getting the support is far from easy as again just as in the Support Group they need to have a significant impairment. In order to qualify claimants must score at least 15 points in the 'limited capability for work assessment'. Check out the rules using this link and see if you can score 15 points! An example of the highest scoring descriptor in the standing descriptor would be as follows:
2 (a) Cannot move between one seated position and another seated position located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person. (= 15 Points)
In other words you literally need manhandling from one chair to another, it's a very crude test which most view as very severe when they become acquainted with the rules. It is possible to qualify by using a combination of scores to make up the 15 points or in other ways but none of them are as easy as the wider public tend to think.
Here's the totals for each of our three sets:
(A) New ESA claims
367,300 Work Related Activity Group
232,800 Support Group
(B) Repeat ESA claims
295,400 Work Related Activity Group
188,500 Support Group
(C) Incapacity benefit to ESA conversions
231,900 Work Related Activity Group
155,000 Support Group
Totals all groups (A)+(B)+(C)
894,600 Work Related Activity Group
576,300 Support Group
It is here that we come up against what may appear an apparent 'inconsistency' in the recorded figures shown in the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) outcome statistics for claimants who have been assessed. The total figure for all placements is 1,470,900 recorded from October 2008 to May 2012. The WCA statistics show a total of 1.4 million up to May 2012 but the DWP longitudinal statistics show a very different figure indeed. Just click the figures and you will see where it is sourced from the DWP in the longitudinal data study:
Work Capability Assessment statistics up to May 2012 (ESA WRAG + Support Group) 1,470,900
The actual ESA claimant count (February 2012) 991,190
Difference of 479,410
It's not the difference of 479,410 which most interests me as this is the figure which would seem to have 'off-flowed' from a placement within an ESA assessed group (this being either the WRAG or Support Group) it is the way the assessed numbers have actually changed:
894,600 claimants assessed in the WRAG group has become 309,150 in the actual claimant count - a reduction of 584,450
576,300 claimants assessed in the Support group has become 198,900 in the actual claimant count - a reduction of 377,400
A total 'reduction' of 961,850
So all 1,470,900 assessed into a WRAG or Support Group placement between October 2008 and May 2012 has 'reduced' in terms of the actual numbers claiming by 961,850 claimants by February 2012 leaving 509,050.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 10, 2013 15:20:57 GMT
The DWP ESA #WCA Customer Journey
A journey to no-where...
Incapacity Benefit 2,632,200 Claimants
27th October 2008
Employment & Support Allowance 0 Claimants
By May 2012
3,835,500 (3.8 million)
Employment & Support Allowance claimants have negotiated the ESA roundabout
"round and round in endless circles"
"entering - exiting - entering"
"1.2 million booted off the sick"
Following 2.7 million #WCA assessments
1 million never get as far as #WCA assessment
'Fit for work'
1,215,200 found 'Fit for Work'
982,400 closed claims without being assessed
2,197,600 'Off the Sick' - (allegedly)
1,637,900 ESA Claimants (1.6 million)
Take away - 816,500 cases
(From the 1,637, 900 claimants you deduct 816,500 to avoid 'double counting'
cases which have been subject to 'repeated' assessment because
this would lead to duplication of the same claimants)
So really it's 821,400 claimants
who carry on the ESA 'customer journey'
To which we factor in 167,200 claims 'still in progress'
The 167,200 'still in progress' cases appear in the WCA statistics but not in the claimant count shown in the DWP Longitudinal study. They therefore need to be factored in to the overall claimant count (the DWP provide no guidance on this)
988,900 claimants continue their ESA customer Journey
Not forgetting 1,602,670
incapacity benefit claimants (1.6 Million)
The dreaded call for 'ESA assessment'
Endless ESA assessments later our journey almost at an end
We have already seen; despite a very intensive 'Work Capability Assessment' of the sick - how the claimant count has actually reduced very little over the course of the entire Employment & Support Allowance programme - a reduction of around 40,000 claimants. The figures being quoted in this article are the most up to date and are all sourced from the DWP.
Note: Figures up May 2012 provide us with a 'reduction' figure of 42,630 fewer claimants whereas when using figures up to February 2012 it is 38,140. The February 2012 figure of 38,140 is the comparison between the DWP incapacity claimant count in August 2008 against the same figure in February 2012.
If we use the 991,190 ESA claimant count figure available from the DWP longitudinal data study and compare it with the DWP Work Programme statistics for those 'referred' and 'attached' to the government's 'flagship' work programme we can get a good idea as to the effectiveness (or not as the case may be) of Employment & Support Allowance in terms of how it helps (or hinders) the incapacitated in to work. Let's now analyse the figures from the Work Programme in a comparison with the claimant count as measured in February 2012. It's a reasonable analysis to capture the claimant count and look at corresponding data in the Work Programme statistics.....
'991,190 - (all) ESA Claimants' (February 2012)
309,150 (Work Related Activity Group)
424,170 (Assessment Phase)
198,900 (Support Group)
Now we look at how they end up being 'conveyed'
in to the Work Programme..
The 'Work Programme'
A referral to the Government's Work Programme is just what it says on the tin; it's no more than a status applied to someone who has been 'referred' rather than 'attached' to what should be an intensive plan of support into work for those with the kind of serious physical & mental health limitations which should be identified by Atos healthcare during the the 'Work Capability Assessments' they conduct under their contract with the DWP.
The Employment & Support Allowance is effectively the 'conveyor belt' by which thousands upon thousands of claimants should end up finding themselves attached to Work Programme providers for proper help back into work - let's not forget how over 3.8 ESA million claimants have to date spent sometime on the ESA conveyor belt since it started running in October 2008.
From the February 2012 ESA claimant count we can identify how many claimants have entered in to a process whereby their pre-existing incapacity benefits are 'converted' to ESA; the DWP longitudinal statistics enable you to identify 'conversion' cases (but only from when a formal 'conversion decision' is made).
incapacity benefit claimants subjected to 'conversion' to ESA as of February 2012
63,720 in the Support Group are the most severely incapacitated and cannot be subjected to mandatory inclusion in to the Work Programme
53,700 are all appeal cases as this is the only route in to the assessment phase in conversion cases
980 are classified as 'unknown' - it's anyone's guess what happens to them
Those in the Work Related Activity Group are those who should be most helped by mandatory subscription to the Work Programme
'87,820 in the Work Related Activity Group'
= 4,040 'referrals' in to the Work Programme
Next we take a look at those claimants who have come straight on to Employment & Support Allowance as new and new repeatedly assessed claimants (not having a previous award of incapacity benefit from which they have been converted); again we use the claimant count figures for February 2012 accessible through the following link to the DWP longitudinal data study to home in on the relevant data...
It's probably no more than a sheer coincidence that this figure very closely matches the 'reduction' statistic arrived at by comparing the overall incapacity benefit claimant count for August 2008 (2 months before ESA was introduced) against the figures for February 2012 (the most recent claimant count figures available from the DWP).
However you will see from the DWP statistics and the Mylegal summary here that a large number of claimants were attached to the programme for a number of additional reasons other than mandatory attachment via the Work Related Activity Group status of an ESA claimant. Other reasons for attachments and referral being shown in the Work Programme statistics include the following circumstances:
Claimants joined the programme voluntarily
Where claimants on Jobseeker's Allowance have an incapacity history
Where claimants on Income Support or in the Support Group participated despite there being no mandatory obligation to subscribe to the Work Programme
What these figures show is that when consideration is given to the 3.8 million individuals who have been 'case-loaded' through the Employment & Support Allowance programme with a negligible reduction in the overall claimant count of just 38,140 incapacitated claimants between August 2008 and February 2012 the numbers 'attached' to the Work Programme directly through the Employment & Support Allowance route is extremely disappointing.
An 'attachment' figure of just 38,930 illustrates how Employment & Support Allowance is doing little, if anything, to help those with profound limitations (with due consideration also being given to the harsh nature & rigidity of the 'Work Capability Assessment') in to work.
It should also be remembered that these figures are only attachments to the Work Programme. They are a far cry from any objective evidence over the numbers of incapacitated claimants who end up with one of these.....
How many I wonder? - it really is anyone's guess!
What is clear from 'initial projections' sourced from the DWP and illustrated by the Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion; which can be viewed here provide what would now appear to be an overly 'optimistic' estimation of the numbers who would be referred to the programme. In 2010 the DWP's projected estimate was 182,300 referred claimants composed of as follows:
20,000 - JSA (ex IB)
59,000 - ESA (volunteer)
43,000 - ESA (flow)
44,000 - ESA (ex IB)
16,300 - IB/Income Support (England only)
182,300 - Total....
In the next post we will take a look at Employment & Support Allowance in a comparison with the previous range of incapacity benefits and ask: is it really an effective substitute?
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 15, 2013 15:21:14 GMT
Data sets - Sourced from DWP
Charts like the one shown above can undoubtedly be very useful as a quick way of illustrating a trend but there are a few things you need to be aware of. A chart can draw your attention to highlighting a trend in a more dynamic way simply because of the way it is designed and formatted.
In the above chart we are looking at a period of a little over a decade with what appear to be quite dramatic peaks and troughs, however the data range in rows is broken down in to units of 50,000 claimants on a scale between 2,450,000 and 2,800,000 (2.45 to 2.8 million).
In real terms the claimant count shows and 'entry point' of 2,650,000 in August 1999 and an 'exit point' of around 2,620,000 in February 2010. It illustrates the way incapacity rose and fell but really the more accurate way is to look at the actual claimant count figures. If you do use or rely on graphs it is important to use similarly size and scaled ones when making or illustrating comparisons.
The following data tables are all an exact replication of data sourced from the DWP via their longitudinal data sources and historic data ranges (strangely some of these went 'off-line on the late evening of the 19th February and haven't yet reappeared). The following posts enable you too look right the way back at the history of incapacity claims going back to 1979.
A comparison between incapacity benefits & Employment & Support Allowance
2 years 9 months incapacity benefit from May 2005 up to the nearest data set in May 2008 which enables a comparison to be made with August 2008.....
Difference between August 2005 and May 2008
Minus (-) 130,180
Deflection - not comparable to use different time frames to ESA
The above tables show how the overall incapacity claimant count which includes ESA from October 2008 (although separately recorded) reduces by only 38,140 in the period ESA has been in place from its introduction to the figures for February 2012 (the May 2012 figures have since been produced)
Incapacity Benefits from 1995 to May 2005
Row 1 column 1
Row 1 column 2
The data tables for Incapacity benefit from May 1995 (2,877,390) to November 2005 (2,752,900) show how in real terms the overall increase over longer than an entire decade was 124,490. There were peaks and troughs as in any economic period but overall the figures did not massively rise year on year as has been misreported in the media.
In the next post we look at how the figures materially increased from 1979 onwards which enables us to gather accurate data over where the origin of higher numbers 'on the sick' came from. It is a commonly held view amongst many people who study welfare benefit patterns that the changes in manufacturing and industrial bases in the 80's and 90's led to mass unemployment which created a political need to reduce numbers out of work by the Benefits Agency (as it was then) actively encouraging claimants to transfer on to the sick. It is also quite probable that mass unemployment in itself led to generations of workers becoming welfare dependant in order to make ends meet, not to mention how the stress of being out of work is all too often a factor in the well being of individuals who have lost their financial independence. 1995 saw the introduction of Incapacity Benefits which replaced the previous Invalidity range.
It should perhaps also be remembered that when workers cease work they often first realise how exposure to the pressures and hazards of the workplace has left them vulnerable to ill health which they had previously tried to work through in an effort to convince their employers that they should be selected by their employers to stay in work or retire through ill health.