Yesterday's emergency budget statement has left many of you wondering how changes to certain benefits will affect you. In this blog, Andy from our Policy & Campaigns team explains the main points.
In yesterday’s Budget, the Government announced big changes to benefits and welfare. You can read our reaction to these changes here.
Lots of people have questions about what these changes mean for them and the support they receive. The main benefits that people with mental health problems receive are Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Here’s what we know about the changes.
PIP (and Disability Living Allowance)
These crucial benefits will not be reduced.
If you currently receive or are applying for either of these benefits, the amount you receive will not change.
This is good news and will come as a relief to many.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
From April 2017, new claimants of ESA who are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) will receive the same rate as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. This is currently around £30 less per week. So what does this mean for you?
- If you currently claim ESA the amount you receive will not change.
- If you start a new claim for ESA before April 2017, you will receive the current rate of benefit.
- If you begin a new claim for ESA after April 2017 you will receive the same rate as Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- If you are already on ESA (in the Support Group or the WRAG) by April 2017 and are reassessed and placed in the WRAG after April 2017, you will continue to receive the higher rate of benefit.
The Government has also promised additional support for ill and disabled people to move into work, however we do not yet know what this will look like.
We still need better support
We’ve been campaigning for improved back-to-work support for people with mental health problems and welcome any improvements to support. However, we believe a fundamental overhaul of schemes like the Work Programme are needed, that support is more specialist and personalised, and there is much less focus on mandation and sanctions. You can read more about what we think the Government should do to improve back-to-work support here.
Need to know more?
We understand that many of you may feel anxious about announcements made in the Budget, you can find out about what advice and support is available here.