Chronic illness sufferers in the United Kingdom will do longer have to worry about their benefits being dropped if they are too ill to be retested. According to a new ruling, the Employment Support Allowance will continue benefits for any chronic illness sufferer, assuming their condition severely impacts their health in a manner that is expected to last for the life of the individual. If no improvement is expected, the ESA will not require mandatory retesting for the individuals.
Prior to the announcement, individuals suffering from a chronic illness were required to be retested every six months, according to Metro. Individuals that were severely ill, physically or mentally, were not always able to make it to their retesting, resulting in a potential loss of benefits. As such, increases in anxiety among chronically ill individuals were on the rise, resulting in a decline of health.
Reform of the policy will lessen the stress on those it impacts the most, making it easier to maintain the benefits that are provided.
— Sohana Research Fund (@SohanaResearchF) October 2, 2016
Although the reform has not been put in place as of yet, it will be introduced at the Conservative Party conference and will be drawn up by a group of health professionals to ensure the chronic health condition exemptions are properly identified.
Exemptions are not expected to include conditions such as autism or congenital heart failure.
Damian Green, of the ESA, hopes the new reform will allow those that are unable to work to be able to live a comfortable life without added stress and anxiety. However, it will reinforce the importance of work and self-support to those that are physically able to perform work at a job.
“We are building a country that works for everyone – not just the privileged few. A key part of that is making sure that all those who are able to work are given the support and the opportunity to do so. But it also means ensuring that we give full and proper support to those who can’t.
‘That includes sweeping away any unnecessary stress and bureaucracy – particularly for the most vulnerable in society.”
Andrew Grantham, according to the BBC, has MS and understands the stress of frequent reassessment of his condition by the ESA.
“These assessments are stressful for people because they don’t know which way it is going to go. There is also a chance that you lose your financial security and you are told that you are fit for work and you have to look for work.”
Green has heard the concerns of individuals such as Grantham and hopes the new reform will lessen the anxiety that those individuals experience.
Being chronically ill is like trying to live on a teeter totter by yourself. Dealing with sickness, pain,… https://t.co/422FnkduLt
— ClemensonEnterprises (@CEnterprisesLLC) August 27, 2016
Green spoke to BBC Radio and stated that he understands that monitoring of welfare recipients is a necessary evil to ensure the programs are not taken advantage of. Six-month evaluations have allowed the country to keep a close eye on the situation and remove individuals that might attempt to cheat the system. However, he also understands that some individuals will not get better over time. Thus, it is only right that they become exempt from routine testing and continue to receive benefits without the added stress of a potential mis-prognosis during one of the routine sessions.
“I believe in a welfare state where you have got to be hard-headed, but you shouldn’t be hard-hearted.”
[Featured Image by Yury Zap/Shutterstock]