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Although not relevant to many this article is relevant to those with older teenagers.

Work and pensions minister Chris Grayling is conducting an urgent review into a new medical test for incapacity benefit after fresh figures showed only 6% of those tested were deemed to be totally incapable of working.

The figures, covering all new claims from October 2008 to the end of November 2009, show 39% are being tested as fit for work and a further 37% are dropping their claim before the assessment is complete. The figures are widely out of line with estimates initially made by officials from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The figures suggest that either tens of thousands of incapacity benefit claimants are not as ill as they claimed, or that something is wrong with the way the tests are being applied which is the most likely of the two. So far the tests have applied only to new claimants for the employment support allowance, the successor benefit to incapacity benefit, but ministers are planning to apply the test to nearly 1.6 million people already on incapacity benefit over the next three years or so.

Speaking to the Guardian , Grayling today did not seize on the figures to claim there was an army of scroungers, but said instead many people had been made anxious about the figures.
He did not suggest there was an army of scroungers, but said: "We do not think and nor does anybody else think there is anything wrong in principle about these tests. Almost every major group working with people suffering long-term disability or sickness wants them to have the opportunity to get back into the workplace. But we have to look at how [the tests] are working in practice."

"There is quite a lot of anxiety around about the details of these tests, and whether we are categorising correctly. These tests need to be applied sensitively, especially in cases of depression or mental health. A lot of organisations such as the CAB and Mind have come to us to say they are concerned about how the tests are being applied."

A new scrutiny group set up by Grayling met for the first time yesterday to advise him on claimants. Its members believe the tests are not being applied sufficiently flexibly. The scrutiny group is due to report by the end of the year with proposals for reform to medical tests.

Paul Farmer, Mind's chief executive and a member of the scrutiny panel, welcomed the Grayling review. "Simplistic use of the basic figures around failed ESA (employment support allowance) applications only serve to fuel the negative rhetoric around benefits, which in itself can have a devastating impact on people with mental health problems who find themselves labelled as 'benefits scroungers' regardless of their genuine needs," Farmer said.

Grayling defended the principle of the tests. "Nothing has been done about the 2.2m people that have been on IB (incapacity benefit). Many of them have not been seen or been in contact with the state for a very long time.

"They have been on the fringes of society being paid benefits every month but actually with no help, guidance or support at all. Our plan is to put 1.6m of these people through an independent medical assessment between 2011 and 2014. It is a huge challenge and has never been attempted before."

The remainder – approximately 600,000 – will not be tested since they are due to reach retirement age before the test can be applied to them.

Those that are deemed fully capable of work are put straight on to jobseeker's allowance, and those deemed potentially capable of work will be put in a higher rate form of employment support allowance.
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I do note that no mention was made of the number of cases being appealed.......... it has pushed the average time a case takes to be heard from 8-10 weeks 3 years ago up to 15-20 weeks now!
Hardly a good use of tax money really Sad
I do hope they weed out scroungers and get benefits to those who need them quicker as well, fingers crossed!
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thats the problem, we all know ppl that claim this benefit because they know how to work the system, you will always get ppl that wont work unless they given a kick up the bum and forced into work of some sort they need to get some voluntary schemes going so that they earn whatever money they are claiming,
how many parents on here have ill health of some sort that would allow them to sign off work but still have to do the harder job of looking after a disabled child? these are the same ppl who if they didnt have the Children to look after would find a way of working that didnt affect their health (some1 with back probs wouldnt go for a shelf stackers job but would do a sedentary job instead)
There comes a point in your life when you realize:Who matters,Who never did,Who won't anymore...And who always will..
So, don't worry about people from your past,there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.

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