ME Association writes to DWP about Employment and Support Allowance

July 25, 2008

Friday, July 25

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Dear Mr Purnell
Having been closely involved in the Department of Work and Pensions consultation process regarding new medical guidance on ME/CFS for the purpose of Disability Living Allowance and Carer's Allowance application assessments, The ME Association is obviously very interested in the process for replacing Incapacity Benefit with the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Before commenting on the green paper, which we intend to do in due course, we would appreciate some clarification on the comments you made about people with ME/CFS in relation to the new ESA when you were interviewed about this subject on GMTV on Monday 20th July.
The transcript of this discussion contains an assurance from you that: …it will be easier to identify people with ME and chronic fatigue under the new welfare system because the testing is based on advice from people with ME and the assessment itself will be undertaken by an independent doctor.
The clarification we require at this point is how are you intending to take advice from people with ME; who will you be approaching about the new testing procedure for people with ME; and when will this consultation process start?
Yours sincerely
Neil Riley
Chairman, The ME Association

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