What's the issue?
Earlier in the year, MPs voted to cut Employment and Support Allowance by £30 a week for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (ESA WRAG).
ESA WRAG is a benefit for people found ‘unfit for work’ although able to do ‘work related activity’ such as training and move into work at some point in the future.
The government has stated that it wants to get 1 million more disabled people into work. They believe that the reduction in ESA-WRAG will be an incentive for disabled people to look for work. It said that it would improve specialist support for disabled people to do so. Many MPs voted for the cut because of the governments promise to provide further support to find work. However, the recent green paper offered little detail on where this would come from or how it will lessen the effects of the cut.
We believe this cut will undermine the government’s commitment to halve the disability employment gap set out in the green paper published last month. We are concerned about the impact the reduction in payment will have on the lives of people with epilepsy and their families.
What we are doing
We are disappointed that the government made no announcement about the future of cuts to ESA WRAG in the Spring Budget. This is despite cross party opposition to the cuts and widespread concerns from disabled people and charities like Epilepsy Action.
We will continue to work with the Disability Benefits Consortium to urge MPs to maintain pressure on the government to halt these cuts. We strongly believe it is time to focus on ensuring that people with epilepsy get the support they need to get into and stay in work.
How you can be involved
- You can email or tweet your MP. Tell them your experiences and the impact the cut could have on your life, and ask them to take action using the hashtag #ESAcuts.
- You can find your MP on Twitter at tweetyourmp.com. You can also get involved in social media.
- If you’re in the ESA WRAG or know someone who is, then we want to hear your experience. By collecting people’s experiences we can highlight areas that need improvement and provide real examples to show why these cuts should be reversed. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have help and guidance on ESA and other benefits on our website or call the Epilepsy Action Helpline on Freephone 0808 800 5050.