Monday, 9 December 2013

Joint research on Work-Related-Activity for ESA via Work Programme or JobcentrePlus

Survey in association with Mind, and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Can you help give evidence on what "back-to-work support" consists of for ESA?

I’m on Employment and Support Allowance. Before it I was on Incapacity Benefit for 20 years due to a severe chronic health condition. I now have to attend the government’s new Work Programme, targeted especially at people like me, the long-term workless, to give me special support to find work. I’m running a survey in association with Mind and the Centre for Welfare Reform to find out if my experience of back-to-work support is shared by others in the Work Related Activity Group.

I believe we need to understand what’s happening to people on ESA in the Work Related Activity Group, apart from having their benefit stopped after 12 months. When ESA was designed it promised not just a better testing regime, the Work Capability Assessment, (no need for me to go into its failures here). It also promised to give disabled people hope; enable them to achieve their aspirations; lift them out of poverty. This was meant to happen through a step change in the quality of support available to people, tailored to address their needs. After two years in operation, people moving onto sustained employment through the Work Programme stand at around just 3.34%.

If you have been in the Work Related Activity Group and had to engage with back-to-work support as a condition of receiving benefits it is really important that we hear about your experience, whether this was through referral to a Work Programme provider or through Jobcentre Plus. Has it left you feeling empowered, supported, closer to your goals? Has it changed your perception about your capabilities? What help have you received? 

Thank you,

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