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ESA WRAG looks like it's being abolished

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by worldbackwards, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    As far as I can tell, George Osborne has just abolished the WRAG group of ESA in his Autumn Statement. Details are scant at the moment as it was rather just thrown out.



    We don't know who makes up this cohort, but I expect it will be whoever is in the WRAG, plus whoever they can throw out of the support group when the medical has changed. This follows the budget when WRAG payments were reduced to the level of JSA, so it appears to be a return to a one tier Incapacity system, but with a tighter medical. Four fifths of successful new claims currently go into the support group but, along with earlier statements, the 1 million figure suggests that this will be harder to attain. There are 2.3 million people on ESA overall, so cutting out a million means significant numbers from the support group may go. If this isn't just spin to cover their tracks. As I say, no real detail as yet.

    God only knows what will happen now. Numbers have risen hugely in recent years (the numbers going into the support group alone are analogous with old Incapacity Benefit numbers), but it looks like many very ill people who are currently hanging on in the WRAG are going to be put through the wringer, and possibly some in the support group as well.
     
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Best to wait for details on this imo.
     
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  3. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    I've watched the video. Highly ambiguous, but it's hard to know who else he could be talking about, especially the way it's phrased.
     
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  4. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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  6. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Blimey. I think in the end we'll end up back where we started with ESA, a one tier system with similar numbers. They couldn't cut claims down for long before and they won't be able to now.

    But short term it will be nasty; if people on WRAG are transferred straight over to JSA then it'll be a right mess.

    PS - Extra numbers look like they could come from people waiting for assessment according to someone somewhere. So maybe not such a big cut into the support group. Still ugly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
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  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Who knows. It is a mess, and I agree with you that main problems are likely to be short-term, with people adjusting. Those who cannot work cannot work, and eventually doctors realise that and don't want them to starve. Hopefully.
     
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  8. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    On this again, I noticed this tweet:



    Also noticed that the number of sanctions on both JSA and ESA have dropping to pre-Tory levels in general. It does look, perhaps despite rhetoric, as if a space is being opened up on JSA to park the disabled, or at least harry them a bit less.

    Add that to all previous disability benefit "reforms" (numbers supposed to go down, always go up in the end) and I suspect there will be some sleight of hand going on here. Though it never pays to underestimate their unpleasantness.
     
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  9. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    There are a lot of people in the WRAG who don't qualify for payments after the 1 year cut off (contributions based). I was in this situation and even though my husband has a job it was low paid due to the area we live in and the sector he works in. Losing theESA payments was awful for us at the time and as I was still sick they kept me on ESA WRAG with no payments except my NI payments were protected.

    If they force these people of WRAG and onto JSA then they will lose their pension entitlements! Not content to just make the poor and disabled poorer, they are determined it seems to keep them that way!

    Luckily for me I realised, as my health was much worse that I could apply for a supersession - was placed in the SG for two years without a medical (thanks to 'Benefits and Work' website) and thus had my payments reinstated. I also get higher rate mobility. This money keeps us afloat - I pay the food bill with it in our house and every year I spend all year saving a little here and a little there so we can take the kids on holiday (sometimes just youth hostels in the UK - we don't go on fancy holidays).
     
  10. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    As far as I can tell (which is not very far) there will still be a WRAG, but it will be to all intents and purposes be an outpost of JSA rather than ESA, despite nominally still being a disability benefit. As Esther says we probably need to see the detail on this, but there's one thing I am sure of: this will fail long term. There are already big problems with people rejected for ESA then being turned away from Job Centres and told that they are too sick to seek work. It's hard to see how this won't become a flood.

    Myself, I've been in the SG since the beginning and haven't been reassessed since - new assessments are still taking up to a year so it seems we will be let off of the hook for a while longer. I suspect I'll lose some DLA next year when I'm moved to PIP, but ESA is the lifeline really - my mum helps support me at home and will have to retire soon. I couldn't do JSA conditions without becoming very ill and if I have no income at all then we'll struggle badly.

    But thus far I've negotiated my way through benefit "reforms" like those people in action films flying out of a burning building, making leap after leap as another room blows up in my wake, so maybe my luck will hold. My tip is always: be suspicious and always remember that the DWP will screw you in a heartbeat. I think @alex3619 was saying the other day that pessimists adapt better to hard times and it's hard to disagree.
     
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  11. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    I'm not quite up to par with knowledge of the UK system, but these changes sound even worse than the past changes...
     
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  12. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member

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    The House of Lords rejects Osbourne's plan to cut the ESA WRAG group payment to the same level as JSA.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/27/lords-defeat-tories-esa?CMP=share_btn_tw


    The government has been defeated in the Lords over plans to cut £30 a week from the benefits of sick and disabled people who have been found unfit to work.
    Peers voted by 283 to 198 to send the cut to employment and support allowance (ESA) back to the House of Commons to be reconsidered.
     
  13. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    It'll still go through in the Commons. And I shudder to think what will be in the White Paper.
     
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  14. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member

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    This cut of £30 a week to the WRAG group was pushed through the Commons bypassing the House of Lords.
    They've dropped the proposed changes to PIP that were announced in the budget but no mention of ESA.
    Does anyone know if this cut is still going ahead?
     
  15. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Don't see why not, it's passed into law. Far more important than the PIP cut as well - DLA was notoriously hard to get and PIP had been made easier by court challenges so, even if PIP was more harsh, it wouldn't have been much worse than things used to be if at all.

    Whereas, as an out of work benefit, the cut to the WRAG will impoverish people and far more so if they push through planned changes later this year. Readers of a nervous disposition may wish to look away.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...y-call-shake-fundamentally-flawed-system.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016

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