Controversial benefits scheme facing overhaul

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The UK benefits scheme which assesses whether those with a disability claim can work is set to undergo a major overhaul.
The revamp of the Work Capability Assessment is set to come after criticism from charities that is was “fundamentally flawed”.
Life for those on benefits has been thrown into stark relief by the new Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake, which follows the story of an ill carpenter who finds himself in need of state welfare. Together with a desperate single mother, he struggles to negotiate the red tape to get the help he needs.
Ministers are now expected to say that they want claimants to be looked at in a manner which is more “targeted and personalised” in a bid to help them find suitable work.
Scope, the charity which campaigns on behalf of disabled people, had heavily criticised the existing measures.
It has welcomed a move away from impersonal ways of carrying out assessment, saying that those with disabilities need support which is “expert and tailored”.
The assessment, and the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) which is paid out, were both introduced under a Labour government and then taken on by the coalition government.
However, the new Tory government, under Prime Minister Theresa May is due to make sweeping changes.
A new review will be launched by Damian Green, the Work and Pensions Secretary, to look at how those who get ESA benefits can be assisted to find a job without their benefits being put at risk while they hunt for employment.
Setting the scene before his announcement, Mr Green has said that no one should be restricted by their disability.
He said: “A disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life.
“No one wants a system where people are written off and forced to spend long periods of time on benefits when, actually, with the right support they could be getting back into work.”
He says that the planned overhaul will centre on improving opportunities for those with disabilities and raising their aspirations so they realise what they can achieve, while ensuring that those who need support from benefits still get it.
It is a radical change from the position under previous Prime Minister David Cameron, who was very much focused on tightening control and reducing the amount of money spent on welfare.

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