Peers defeat government plan to withdraw benefits from sick and disabled people after a year

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 16 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e397
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The House of Lords has rejected a government proposal to limit payment of the Employment Support Allowance to sick, disabled, and dying people to one year and then use means testing to determine who is entitled to keep receiving it.

The allowance is meant to replace the earnings of people whose health problems or disabilities pose a barrier to work. It is paid to people who have previously worked and made national insurance contributions and to young people who have never been able to work or not paid enough contributions, such as people born with disabilities or teenagers with cancer.

The government’s Welfare Reform Bill was seeking to limit to 12 months the period that anyone could claim the allowance without being means tested. The proposed bill would also have completely excluded young people who had not paid enough contributions because of disability or illness if they had other means of support, such as from parents, savings, or inheritance.

The House of …

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