New government benefit to replace ICB is introduced today

October 27, 2008

A major change in work related benefits for sick and disabled people takes place on Monday 27 October with the introduction of the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The new benefit is likely to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim work related benefits, and the aim is to significantly reduce the numbers of people claiming work related benefits.

From now on the Employment and Support Allowance will take the place of Incapacity Benefit (ICB)for new claimants who are unable to work due to sickness and/or disability.

The MEA is very concerned about the assessment procedures and new regulations governing ESA eligibility and will be following the introduction very closely. In order to do this we obviously require feedback – both positive and negative – from people with ME/CFS who have applied for ESA. Please pass your feedback to the MEA via email

  • The MEA has set out our concerns about the new benefit in a comprehensive written statement to the Department of Work and Pensions. Our statement can be read HERE.
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on ME recently held a meeting with the Rt Hon James Purnell, DWP Minister, at which a wide range of concerns were expressed. A summary of this meeting can be found HERE.
  • There was an excellent interview on the changes taking place on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning. Taking part was Melissa Viney, a person with ME, who pointed out the main problems that people who have fluctuating long term conditions like ME are likely to have face with the new benefit. The link to this BBC interview is HERE (move the button below the digital timer to find the start of the interview at around 01:03:50. The interview lasts for almost four minutes).
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