Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 9, 2013 17:26:58 GMT
Daily Mail corrects misleading benefit statistics as DWP prepares for MPs' grilling
The paper admits it was wrong to state that 878,000 people on incapacity benefit dropped their claims, rather than face a new medical assessment.
A general view of a job centre on April 13, 2011 in London. Photograph: Getty Images.
By George Eaton 9th July 2013 After repeatedly citing the false Conservative claim that 878,000 people on incapacity benefit dropped their claims, rather than face a new medical assessment, today's Daily Mail finally correctsthe record. The paper is "happy to make clear that other important reasons people had for not pursuing ESA claims were that they recovered, returned to work or claimed a more appropriate benefit."
While the Mail references two articles in which the figure appeared (on 4 April and 30 April) it also featured in a leader entitled "Benefits and morality" (1 April) and an op-ed by A.N.Wilson on Mick Philpott (3 April). The other pieces were an editorial unfortunately titled "Welfare: why can't the left understand?" (4 April) and an article by James Slack on "what the Left doesn't want you to know about Britain's £200bn welfare bill" (30 April).
Tory chairman Grant Shapps and Iain Duncan Smith had already been rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for concocting the 878,000 figure in an attempt to demonstrate "how the welfare system was broken under Labour and why our reforms are so important". As UKSA chair Andrew Dilnot noted in his letter to the pair, they conflated "official statistics relating to new claimants of the ESA with official statistics on recipients of the incapacity benefit (IB) who are being migrated across to the ESA". Of the 603,600 incapacity benefit claimants referred for reassessment as part of the introduction of the ESA between March 2011 and May 2012, just 19,700 (somewhat short of Shapps's "nearly a million") abandoned their claims prior to a work capability assessment in the period to May 2012. The figure of 878,300 referred to the total of new claims for the ESA closed before medical assessment from October 2008 to May 2012. Thus, Shapps's suggestion that the 878,300 were pre-existing claimants, who would rather lose their benefits than be exposed as "scroungers", was entirely wrong.
As significantly, there was no evidence that those who abandoned their claims did so for the reasons ascribed by Shapps. Thousands of people move on and off ESA each month, many for the simple reason that their health improves and/or they return to employment before facing a work capability assessment. To suggest, as Shapps did, that all those who dropped their claims were dodging the doctor is sinister nonsense designed to reinforce the worst prejudices about the welfare system.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 9, 2013 20:54:59 GMT
Stop the media spin
DWP has a duty to make sure press reports provide the public with the truth over benefit figures
I'm delighted the DWP are getting pulled up on the way they misrepresent benefit statistics.
It's naturally disappointing that IDS won't be putting in an appearance when politicians discuss this on the 10th July and take evidence from the DWP. It seems he's going to bless everyone with his presence in September so I rather suspect tomorrow's evidence session will be full of promises to report on concerns and who knows the DWP may just be on their best behaviour during the summer months so as not to provide the committee with too much material over which IDS can be given the grilling he truly deserves.
As someone mildly obsessional over getting the DWP figures right, it seems an opportune moment to put down what I see as the key areas where the press gets it so badly wrong and what steps they could & should take to get it right.
DWP Press Office
Should act with more impartiality from government. It's function should be to remain neutral and liaise with all main stream media rather than clearly favouring early releases to the right wing press. The Department's press office is seen by many as one sided and continually echoes government policy giving an impression that its headlines stem solely from government ministers.
Provide clear statistical sources
Government promotes an agenda of transparency by providing open data. However the DWP Press Office has a tendency to only promote the headline statistics which it perceives are 'most likely to be of interest' to Coalition voters and then expects people to 'dig down deep' for figures which often negate the more forceful messages promoted via the tabloid headlines. DWP press releases are often unavailable on their website when press announcements have clearly gone out making it difficult for readers to source the information and check it for accuracy. Where figures are given they are often of an 'ad - hoc' nature which bears little relevance to the more telling figures obtainable via the full data sets.
Press reports should be focussed not only on over positively amplifying government's message but also on pointing out areas where the DWP must do more to improve upon its measurable outcomes. The recent Work Programme results were used as an example of improvement yet an analysis shows that this related to jobseekers rather than harder to help claimant groups such as the long term incapacitated & disabled.
An agenda of transparency is of little value if equally relevant information remains obscured from easy viewing.
Tone towards the DWP customer base
The DWP should work much more closely with the media in toning down the harmful and deeply distressing words used with far too much frequency in mainstream articles. The words 'scrounger', fraudsters, fakers, malingerers, skivers and so forth are unhelpful and do little to reduce attitudes towards the sector of society which the the DWP purports to want to support in transitioning from welfare and in to work.
The use of derogatory terminology demotes the confidence levels of those facing times of hardship and unfairly hits upon those affected by disability, illness, unemployment, trauma, mental stress & anxiety. This impedes the recovery prospects of those trying to deal with their problems and conquer illnesses and decreases the chances of engaging prospective employers who should be encouraged to try and facilitate DWP customers in to work.
Striver v Skiver
DWP should do more to work with the media in ditching the ill - conceived 'striver v skiver' narrative. Its use does nothing to recognise the needs of those who cannot strive in the way that government intends and who do not skive. There are clearly many claimants, the vast majority, who strive in ways not recognised by the way this narrative is applied and who clearly are not, by default, the skivers implied with the way these two extremes are all too often applied with little thought to how DWP customers are perceived.
More to follow after this week's committee hearing in to DWP statistics.......
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 11, 2013 7:51:30 GMT
Public health statistics could cease to be published amid wave of budget cuts
ONS statisicians also looking at 'a significant reduction in the scale' of David Cameron's 'wellbeing programme'
Alan Travis, home affairs editor The Guardian, Wednesday 10 July 2013
David Cameron’s 'wellbeing programme' will be examined, including its analysis of inequalities in Britain. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
A complete halt to the publication of politically sensitive official statistics on smoking, drinking, teenage pregnancies and infant mortality, is being considered for a programme of cuts being drawn up by the Office of National Statistics, documents show.
The statisicians are also looking at "a significant reduction in the scale" ofDavid Cameron's pet "well-being programme" including its analysis of inequalities in Britain and making "significant savings" in the orchestration of the official crime survey from next year onwards.
Details of potential cuts to 23 separate sets of official statistics are outlined in a "restricted" annex to a letter from Glen Watson, the ONS's director-general, sent to other government departments during the recent Treasury spending round, which have been seen by the Guardian.
A spokesman for the ONS confirmed a public consultation on a programme of cuts is to begin within the next month. "Challenging and difficult decisions will need to be made," said a spokesman. Details of the body's Treasury funding for the next three years were only finalised this week.
The letter has sparked alarm amongst health campaigners and the research community who point to the fact that several of the statistical series under threat of the axe, such as teenage conceptions, involve issues where Britain fares poorly in the international comparisons.
Watson says in the letter, dated 5 April, that the ONS is facing "severe funding pressures" but their ability to find savings is restricted because over 80% of their work is required under EU law.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 18, 2013 8:23:51 GMT
Time we got to grips with these unemployment figures
Taking a look at the latest claims
Confusing isn't it?
All these figures, the level of economic activity, the unemployment rate, the numbers claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, real time employment, pay rates, the numbers able to work. So complex in fact that it's very hard to work out whether unemployment in 'common sense' terms really has fallen.
Despite thousands being found 'fit for work', over a million closing their ESA claims before the dreaded 'Work Capability Assessment', all these jobs in the private sector, the DWP constantly promoting its favoured line 'work pays, something isn't adding up here. I think it's time we had a further look at the validity of these claims:
Here's how the DWP press office broke the news yesterday on Twitter:
DWP Press Office @dwppressoffice 23h No of people claiming JSA fell in every English region, Wales, Scot and NI over last month, according to figures released by @statisticsons
DWP Press Office @dwppressoffice 23h Unemployment falls 57,000, including 20,000 fewer unemployed young people, @statisticsons reveals Expand
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 18, 2013 21:32:45 GMT
Lets have a look at the real numbers claiming Jobseeker's Allowance
Official DWP figures
Number of children
No child dependents
5 children or more
Age of claimant
An informal straw poll
I did a little straw poll of my own today and asked a teenage relative how many people they thought were claiming Jobseeker's allowance in total in the UK, the answer I was given was six million. I was prompted to ask this following the TV programme 'We all pay your benefits' which has a tendency to raise a bit of banter over what people think of those who claim benefits. In my discussion I was alarmed to hear a view expressed that lots of older kids claim benefits because they have children.
In reality as shown above the true answer is 1.44 million or 1,443,540 to be precise whereas the perception was 6 million when it came to the overall number on JSA.
I then went on to ask: how many aged under 18 had two or more children? The answer I was given was over 300,000 after I had explained the 1.4 million total. The real answer is 0
My next question; how many under 18 had 1 child? the answer I was given was around 200,000. The real answer as shown above is 30.
My final question. How many under 18 claiming JSA in total? The answer I was given was 'no-one because they'd all be living at home with their parents'. In reality the answer is 2,540.
This is of course a totally non - quantified 'off the hoof' poll, the kind which takes place around the country each and every day. Now let's look at the numbers of claimants on Income Support and again look at those aged under 18 with children.
Now let's look at Income Support
Income Support Caseload (Thousands) : Statistical Group by Age of claimant by Age of youngest child dependant
Statistical Group = Lone Parent
Age of youngest child dependant
Unknown child age or no children
5 to under 11
11 to under 16
16 or over
Age of claimant
90 and over
Again the number of lone parents under 18 with children is very low at 4,150 which is perhaps unsurprising given their age and the age of consent. It tends to suggest young teenagers are a lot more responsible than the pram pushing headlines make out and moves us a little nearer to working out the true number of unemployed. The ONS quote a figure of around 2.5 million whereas (as shown above for the latest DWP figures up to November 2012) the numbers on JSA (the claimant count) is substantially less at over 1.44 million.
In the next post we'll look at the way the ONS work out the numbers said to be unemployed.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 26, 2013 15:08:44 GMT
IDS opts for delaying tactics over
facing official statistics
He can run but he can't hide
Iain Duncan Smith has decided he won't be facing a select committee in September; opting instead to defer his grilling by the committee into his scandalous misrepresentation of official DWP statistics until sometime after October; his lame excuse being that his department's annual report won't be ready in time.
IDS usually wastes no time in ensuring dodgy figures are made available to the right wing media whenever he shamefully promotes his scandalous attack on the sick and disabled, yet when called to justify them he's developed a habit of coming up with excuse upon excuse or makes himself unavailable.
Jayne Linney along with Debbie Sayers put up a petition to get IDS to stop telling misrepresenting so many statistics concerning benefit claimants. On Jayne's website she quotes the recent words of Sheila Gilmore MP:
Sheila Gilmore MP
“I am afraid that IDS is now NOT coming to the meeting on September 4. This was always going to be a session on the Department’s annual report as well as the statistics and apparently the Annual Report is not ready. A new date is being sought but this is now unlikely to be before October, which is extremely disappointing”
There is simply no excuse for the man in charge of the DWP to put off an appearance before the committee, his perilous welfare reforms are having a devastating & continuing impact on the lives of thousands of benefit claimants who are sick and tired of being wrongly labelled scroungers in endless tabloid torments aimed at undermining the sick or disabled status of claimants who are genuinely entitled to the benefits they should be receiving.
IDS seeks to reassure everyone doubting the fairness of the Work Capability Assessment used to determine entitlement to Employment & Support Allowance that more and more claimants are being provided with 'unconditional support' in the Support Group. Whilst the latest assessment statistics show us that since the commencement of ESA 887,500 claimants have been allocated placements in the Support Group up to November 2012 the fact is that as of November 2012 only 326,680 remain in the Support Group.
IDS has a lot to answer for and it's high time he stopped delaying and started explaining.
It's also time that anyone who hasn't already signed the petition asking for IDS to be held to account to sign Jayne's petition.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 29, 2013 11:51:20 GMT
IDS & his bogus claims over the
long term sick
He's making it all up it's more #IDS lies
Consider this, it's actually relatively simple.
Take a look at the following table, it represents a measurement of the numbers of claimants coming off incapacity benefits between four yearly 'November to November' 'windows' since 2000 which we can then compare with the DWP statical data sets available for ESA figures from November 2008 to November 2012.
This enables us to make comparisons with the same windows when ESA was not in place between November 2000 and November 2004 and also November 2004 and November 2008 (ESA was introduced in October 2008 and the first quarterly figures appear in November 2008). The reason I've gone November to November is because it matches the data which can be obtained from the DWP for ESA up to November 2012 (the latest information available).
Here are the 3 incapacity benefit 'windows' showing the numbers coming off these benefits. In particular, I've drawn your attention to the number of longer term claimants having claims over 2 years in red. I've added the totals of the 2 to 5 year and 5 year and over column in the far right under 'total long - term exits'.
Off - flows
Up to 3 months
6 months to 1 year
1 to 2 years
2 to 5 years
5 years and over
Total long term exits
Nov 2000 to Nov 2004
Nov 2004 to Nov 2008
Nov 2008 to Nov 2012
Now, on the face of it you could be forgiven for thinking that the numbers of truly long term claimants (by which I'm meaning more than 2 years) coming off incapacity benefits is so much greater between November 2008 and November 2012 with 1.5 million longer term claimants coming off the benefit than the 974,200 shown between November 2000 and 2004 and the 1,058,680 between November 2004 and November 2008.
Now given that it was this government which started the programme of getting people 'parked' on Incapacity Benefit off the benefits from March 2011 onwards, you may think this is the government which is the best thing since sliced bread at reducing longer term claims.
To which I say, beware.....
Let us now look at the figures between November 2008 and November 2012 for Employment & Support Allowance. This is where IDS can get away with blue murder in completely misrepresenting the actual facts.
'The long term sick trick'
Look at these figures for November 2012, they represent (or rather misrepresent) the numbers of Employment & Support claimants who have had their claims 'converted' from incapacity benefits as of the November 2012 quarter. The figure show a total of 546,880 claims have been converted.
Again for ease of reference I've highlighted the relevant ib/ESA conversion figures & claims over 2 years in red.
IB reassessment claim
Non IB reassessed claim
IB reassessed claim
Duration of current claim
Up to 3 months
3 months up to 6 months
6 months up to 1 year
1 year and up to 2 years
2 years and up to 5 years
5 years and over
That's mighty strange because of those converted from incapacity benefits to ESA all of a sudden we have absolutely no claimants having any claims of over 5 years and just 120 having a claim of over 2 years.
That's a complete misrepresentation of the reality if ever there was.
Why is this so relevant?
This is where the 546,880 figure comes in, the figure which represents all claimants having been converted from incapacity benefits to ESA.
What the DWP do is every time an incapacity benefit claimant gets converted to ESA their claim duration gets counted only from the time their benefit 'becomes' ESA, the DWP is misleading everyone because a converted claim is a continuous claim of the older benefit. The 120 claimants shown as claiming ESA for two to 5 years have only had their ESA claim called ESA for 2 or more years whereas in reality they'll have been claiming on the grounds of incapacity for years - I'll go on to show you how I know this to be the case in due course, just for now believe it.
Now deducting the 546,880 figure shown in the above ESA 'conversion' box (which will nearly all be long term claims) from the 1,507,310 'incapacity benefit off - flows' shown in the preceding table between November 2008 and November 2012 we arrive at a figure of 960,430.
Now compare the compare the 960,430 with the incapacity benefit long term off - flows for November 2000 to November 2004 (974,200) and also with November 2004 - November 2008 (1,058,680) and you will note they are all roughly the same - this is very significant.
This is because the numbers of claimants having long term sick claims and leaving incapacity benefits is naturally around the million mark, it's not peculiar to any government, it's just how the claimant count works. What this illustrates is that ESA actually makes no real difference to the number of longer term claim exits.
The higher 1.5 million figure coming off incapacity benefit between 2004 and 2008 illustrates that the additional half a million plus are just being 'shipped' over to ESA - it's no more than a change in name.
But a change of name makes them invisible, well almost - there is however a way of catching the DWP out. I'll show you how in the next post.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 29, 2013 18:22:44 GMT
Establishing the longer term incapacity claimants
In the previous post I explained that I would go on to show you how the majority of the 546,880 claimants undergoing 'conversion' from incapacity benefits to ESA are in fact almost all long term ex-ib claimants who have been on incapacity for at least two years.
The following data via the DWP clearly shows that the vast majority coming off incapacity benefits had been in receipt of their benefits for at least 2 years, with 192, 740 claim exits for those claiming 2 to 5 years and 755,470 claiming over 5 years.
Indeed it would be impossible for the total numbers of claimants with a claim up to 2 years (18,810) to account for anywhere near the 546,880 claimants who found their way on to ESA via the conversion gateway. It is therefore safe to say almost all claimants from incapacity benefit who have gone through the conversion process are long term claimants - it is almost impossible to arrive at any other conclusion.
* The number of claimants coming off incapacity benefits with a claim up to 2 years (18,810) is the total number of off flows from in the above table up to November 2012 from March 2011 (May 2011 quarter) coinciding with the DWP's ib/ESA conversion or 'migration' roll out.
The fact that the 614,000 'assessed' figures is higher than the 546,880 claimants who appear in the November 2012 claimant count figures for those undergoing conversion is explained by the fact that 'assessed' figures only count 'on flows' as an accruing statistic whereas the claimant count measures both 'on' and 'off' flows.
An additional factor is that of the 546,880 claimants going through ib/ESA conversion, 99,520 were in the Assessment Phase, 235,330 in the Work Related Activity Group and 207,420 in the Support Group. This differs from the very recent assessment results released on the 25th July which show significantly higher numbers in both the Support and Work Related Activity Group. The reason for this is that all 99,520 claimants in the Assessment Phase are claimants who have appeal cases and many of these will have gone on to win their cases leading to an eventual ESA placement. The only way a conversion case ends up in the Assessment Phase is if the claimant has to appeal a fit for work decision.
With these 2 methods of checking (there is a third which I have used but need not repeat here) carried out there is no doubt in my mind that almost all, if not all, 546,880 conversion claimants are in fact ex-incapacity claimants who have claimed for more than 2 years.
In the next piece I'll simplify the significance in nice easy to understand terms.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 30, 2013 0:49:47 GMT
IDS - the Incapacity Benefit parking expert
Easy does it - as IDS craftily moves half a million long term claimants on to ESA
The worst bit is he thinks he's getting away with it.
He just craftily renames the long - term sick and zeroes their claims to make it look as though they've only been claiming from the time they've been on ESA.
IDS makes out he's some kind of expert at getting people off the long term sick when in actual fact he's doing no such thing. Here are the real numbers of incapacity benefit claimants (claiming for more than two years) coming off long term incapacity benefit.
Numbers of 'long - term sick' coming off incapacity benefits 2000 - 2012
November 2000 - November 2004
November 2004 - November 2008
November 2008 - November 2012
IDS Figure >>1,507,310 Really >> 941,620!
Making a complete mockery of scandalous claims like this
In the previous posts, using DWP data, I have illustrated how the numbers of long term sick claims (using IDS's incorrect analogy of those languishing 'on the sick for years') has not fallen at all. The figures are all there deep within the DWP data.
All the DWP is doing is moving long term sick claims from incapacity benefits to Employment & Support Allowance - it's making no difference whatsoever. The reason is quite obvious really when you think about it, the statistics representing the long term sick constantly change - it just shows how IDS can't even understand his own department's figures. The figures representing those claiming 2 to 5 years aren't the same people and nor are those claiming more than 5 years - it's a cycle of claimants which comes and goes in much the same way that people are born in to the world, live for a while and then die.
What these figures show is all IDS's claims to be reducing the numbers of long term sick claim building up under Labour just don't stack up. It's all there (just scroll up and see for yourself) in black and white on the DWP website of statistics, approximately every four years under Labour around a million longer term claimants came off incapacity benefits, some got better, some went on to Pensions, some died but it never stayed a stagnant figure - if IDS's claim was true then two million long term 'exits' between 2000 and 2008 would never have happened, the consequence of which would be that the true incapacity benefit count in November 2008 wouldn't have been 2.6 million - it would have been 4.6 million - it's not rocket science.
Of course, IDS's plan to manipulate the figures isn't as straightforward as getting people off incapacity benefits. In the next post we'll look at what happens to these claimants after they've been deemed eligible for their ESA.
In fact, more long term sick claimants came off incapacity benefits without the mass reassessment of thousands of claims at ridiculous cost to the tax-payer
* Of the 1,507,310 claimants coming off incapacity benefits between November 2008 - November 2012, 546,880 went straight on to Employment & Support Allowance. Of the 546,880 claimants transferred to Employment & Support Allowance only 18,810 had a claim of less than 2 years. When these figures are taken in to account the true number of longer term claims coming 'off the sick' is actually less than it was under the older incapacity benefit.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Aug 4, 2013 22:44:58 GMT
More and more 'unconditional support'.....
It's not all it seems
DWP ministers continually quote the amount of 'unconditional support' they are giving to allegedly increasing numbers placed in the Support Group of Employment & Support Allowance.
They do so as a way of proving the results of the Work Capability Assessment are fair to claimants.
Having analysed these figures in incredible depth and from my own experience of helping hundreds of clients from both the older incapacity type benefits and its ESA replacement, I have no faith whatsoever in the numbers of claimants in the support group indicating any improvement in the Work Capability Assessment - indeed I think the numbers indicate further failures in the programme rather than any improvement.
I'm also somewhat baffled as to precisely why the DWP refers to 'unconditional support' when referring to Support Group claimants.
Only the most severely incapacitated claimants will find themselves placed in the Support Group. All the DWP means by 'unconditional' is the fact that claimants placed in the Support Group are under no mandatory requirement to prepare for work. There is no support given to claimants as such, they are left by and large to their own devices in much the same way as they were under the older incapacity benefits. However, being placed in the Support Group is no guarantee that the claimant will stay there. The evidence suggests large numbers of claimants initially placed in the Support Group do not stay within the placement.
Between October 2008 and November 2012 no less than 3,441,200 ESA claimants have been assessed under the Work Capability Assessment rules and as of the end of the November 2012 quarter only 423,650 remain in the Support Group. In percentage therms this means of all those who made a new claim or been transferred on to ESA from older benefits only 12.4% remain in the Support Group.
The latest DWP statistics confirm that from October 2008 to November 2012 no less than 887,500 claimants out of the 3,441,200 who have been assessed have at some stage been placed in the support group. In percentage terms this indicates a 25.8% rate of placement within the group.
People should not just consider the number of placements in to the Support Group but also claimants who stay there.
The reason I mention this is particularly relevant to my previous posts over the number of long term claimants being converted over to ESA from incapacity benefits.
This is where we have a clear indication of how the overall number of 423,650 claimants placed in the Support group as of the November 2012 quarter are made up. From the conversion figures we can work out that up to 267,500 of the overall 423,650 claimants in the Support group are in fact ex - incapacity claimants.
This is further confirmed by a look at the 'off flow' figures for claimants in the ESA Support Group from the May 2011 to November 2012 quarters (which includes all figures from March 2011). These are duplicated below from the relevant DWP data table:
Note: The off - flow data relates to all ESA claimants including new claims, reassessed claims and ib/ESA conversions. The DWP did not collate 'phase' data for ESA off flows until February 2012 with the exception of some very low numbers for which data was collected in the February 2010 quarter. It is unlikely to be the case that Support group off flows would have been any higher than 5,500 in any given quarter prior to the mass reassessment of ib/ESA cohorts from March 2011 onwards. It is extremely unlikely that any off flows in the Support Group from the May 2011 to November 2011 quarter would relate to ib/ESA cases as (a) insufficient numbers of claims had been converted and (b) having recently undergone conversion the probability of becoming an off - flow would be very low.
What this clearly indicates is:
The largest majority of claimants still having a claim in the 423,650 Support group as of November 2012 emanate from the 267,500 placed in the Support Group relating to long term ex- incapacity cases rather than new ESA cases or new ESA cases which have been repeatedly assessed.
In percentage terms this indicates that of the total 423,650 placed in the Support Group in November 2012 - approximately 63% (267,500) will have emanated from ex-incapacity long term claims converted to ESA since May 2011. Some claimants in this group will have flowed off ESA but the off-flow figures from the Support group show these figures to be low.
From which we can also establish that of the 423,650 claimants in the Support Group as of November 2012; around 156,150 claims (37%) will have originated from a new ESA claim.
Using the 'Work Capability Assessment' data tables (table 1a) we know that from October 2008 to November 2012 the number of new ESA claimants placed in the Support Group amounted to 310,000 as a cumulative total. Even when this is adjusted to take account of an appeal (using DWP's limited up to date data) this figure still only amounts to 321,300.
From using a combination of data from the claimant count off - flow figures and Work Capability Assessment statistics we can arrive at the following estimated conclusion.
Of 423,650 claimants in the Support Group at the end of November 2012, 67% will have had a claim which originated from long - term incapacity benefit claims via conversion to ESA as part of the DWP's migration programme. DWP figures show an absolute maximum of 27,670 ESA claims will have ended with the claimant still in the Support group - a strong indicator that most of the migrated Support Group claimants initially remain in the Support Group.
Of the remaining 156,150 (37%) of claimants who's ESA Support Group claim did not originate from an incapacity benefit migrated claim, only 48.5% of the total number being placed in the Support Group 321,300 (adjusted for appeals) up to November 2012 remain in the Support Group following the making of a new claim.
It is even more significant to measure the 156,150 new ESA claimants remaining in the Support Group as of November 2012 against the total number of claimants who have been assessed in this group. When taken as a percentage of the 1,684,400 new ESA claimants who have been assessed between October 2008 and November 2012:
Just 9.3% (156,150) new ESA claimants remain in the Support Group
These figures become all the more alarming when looking at the overall number of new ESA claimants who have made a claim between October 2008 and November 2012. Of the 2,836,300 claimants making a claim between these dates, as of November 2012:
Only 5.5% (156,150) new ESA claimants remain in the Support Group.
What people should consider is why the rates for new ESA claimants getting in to and staying in the Support Group is so much lower than it is for longer term incapacity benefit to ESA. The introduction of Employment & Support Allowance increased the frequency at which long term claimants are reassessed but this in itself does not by default decrease the numbers of new ESA claimants who have a condition serious enough to initially qualify for the Support Group and who by virtue of their condition should be showing a significantly higher number should remain in the Support Group.
This is in part pure guesswork, but I'd put money on my findings being un-mistakenly accurate.
I refer to this in an attempt to work out how long our 423,650 Support Group claimants have been in receipt of their Employment & Support Allowance.
The first port of call is to look at the DWP's 'duration of claim' data for the November 2012 quarter, we can also match this with the 'phase' in which the claimant is in using this link. However, to make things easy I've transposed the data by copying the information shown below:
DWP counting is in units of thousands and I've highlighted the relevant Support Group figures in red.
Phase of ESA claim
Work Related Activity Group
Duration of current claim
Up to 3 months
3 months up to 6 months
6 months up to 1 year
1 year and up to 2 years
2 years and up to 5 years
5 years and over
From the table you can see where we get the 423,650 claimants in the Support Group from.
Now this is where our bit of 'guesswork' comes in. Like I say I think it will fairly accurate and I'd point out that it's based on firm DWP figures; all we are doing is placing an interpretation on them which is dictated by the facts.
We have I think with consistent accuracy ascertained that around 321,300 of these 423,650 claimants emanate from new ESA claims rather than incapacity benefit to ESA conversions. We know the conversion or 'migration' programme started a mass roll out of reassessment from March 2011 onwards. The way of checking this is to look at the escalating numbers of claimants who have been through the conversion process and who's accruing results will show up in the separate Work Capability Assessments for ib/ESA (obtained via table 10 of the WCA statistics). I've trawled through them and this is how they accrue:
Note that the WCA figures vary quite substantially from the claimant count figures for the same quarters
The cumulative total for WCA Support Group placements via the WCA stats is 267,500 whereas the claimant count figure related to conversion cases is 207,420.
Here we track the WCA results alongside the claimant count for each quarter from May 2011 to November 2012.
May 2011 quarter
72,710 In support group
380 from ib/esa having claimed 0-3 months
14,100 Eligible via WCA stas this quarter
August 2011 quarter
98,260 In support group
10,310 from ib/esa 9,830 having claimed 0-3 months 480 3 to 6 months
36,800 Support Group Eligible via WCA this quarter
Nov 2011 quarter
150,980 In support group
40,230 from ib/esa having claimed 29,630 0-3 months 10,210 3 to 6 months 390 6 months to 1 year 10 1 year to 2 years
33,000 Support Group Eligible via WCA this quarter 83,900 Cumulative Feb 2012 quarter
198,900 In support group
63,720 from ib/esa having 21,810 claimed 0-3 months 31,350 3 to 6 months 10,560 6 months to 1 year
36,900 Support Group Eligible via WCA this quarter 120,800 Cumulative May 2012 quarter
255,320 In support group
101,290 from ib/esa 34,340 having claimed 0-3 months 23,630 3 to 6 months 42,910 6 months to 1 year 40 1 to 2 years 10 2 to 5 years
43,500 Support group Eligible via WCA this quarter 163,400 Cumulative
Aug 2012 quarter
326,680 In support group
144,720 from ib/esa 36,770 having claimed 0-3 months 36,460 3 to 6 months 60,020 6 months to 1 year 11,460 1 to 2 years 10 2 to 5 years
47,300 Support Group Eligible via WCA this quarter 211,600 Cumulative Nov 2012 quarter 423,650 In support group
207,420 from ib/esa 51,410 having claimed 0-3 months 39,870 3 to 6 months 69,130 6 months to 1 year 46,130 1 to 2 years 30 2 to 5 years
55,500 Eligible via WCA this quarter 267,500 Cumulative (adds to 267,100)
Nov 2012 non IB assessment
423,650 In support group
216,240 Non IB
1,640 having claimed 0-3 months 17,410 3 to 6 months 38,770 6 months to 1 year 70,340 1 to 2 years 88,080 2 to 5 years
Out of 1,684,400 new claim assessments up to November 2012 from October 2008
5.3% remain in support group for more than 2 years in 4 years of testing
More later - a simplification will follow! Need to do the maths first.