CHANGES IN THE BENEFITS SYSTEM YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
The following benefits are being phased out :
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support paid because of an illness or disability
- Severe Disablement Allowance
If you re getting any of these benefits, your claim will be reviewed to see if you can get Employment Support Allowance instead.
The changeover will not affect you if :
You claim Employment and Support Allowance already
You are due to reach State Pension age before 6th April 2014
Jobcentre Plus will write to you when your benefit claim is going to be reviewed. Not everyone will be contacted at the same time as the process is running from October 2010 until 2014.
Jobcentre Plus will then phone you to check that you have received the letter informing you that your claim is going to be reviewed.
They will send you a questionnaire to complete which will ask questions about how your long-term health condition or disability affects your ability to complete everyday tasks.
WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT
The information you give will help to decide if you need to attend a face-to-face assessment which will aim to decide :
- What you are able to do
- Whether you might be capable of work
If you are asked to attend an assessment, you must go and take part fully, if you don’t your benefit may be affected.
DO’S AND DON’TS:
- Always tell the truth
- Make sure that you back up the questionnaire with as much medical information as possible, i.e. factsheets on your type of dystonia from the dystonia society website or by postal request, letters confirming diagnosis from your neurologist and general practitioner, keep a diary for a week of how the dystonia affects you on a daily basis, get someone to film you when your dystonia is at its worst.
- Don’t put on a brave face. This is a very British thing to do, but the assessors need to know how the dystonia affects you and they will not understand the fluctuating nature of dystonia so they need to see it at its worst from your point of view.
- Remember that your assessment starts from the moment you arrive, for example you may be asked how you got to the venue, and your answer will be taken into consideration !
- It is ok to ask for a break to rest or deal with the pain, etc. during the assessment. This is about you, not the assessor and there is no point in causing your symptoms to get worse by not taking rest when you would normally do so.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR CLAIM HAS BEEN REVIEWED
If you are found capable of work, Jobcentre Plus will call you to discuss what your benefit options are.
You may be able to claim:
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Support for other reasons
- Pension Credit
IF YOU ARE ENTITLED TO EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE
Jobcentre Plus will call you to let you know and your benefit will be transferred automatically with no break in payments you receive. If your existing incapacity benefits are more than the current rate of Employment and Support Allowance, you will receive a top-up payment.
Depending on how severe your disability or health condition is, you will be placed in two groups :
- Work related activity group (you will get support to help you prepare for suitable work)
- Support group (if you are severely disabled or have the most severe health conditions you will not be expected to work and you will get the extra support you need).
ANYONE WHO FEELS ANXIOUS OR NEEDS TO TALK THROUGH THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS PROCESS CAN CALL THE DYSTONIA SOCIETY HELPLINE ON 0845 458 6322 OR EMAIL ANGIE BROWN AT firstname.lastname@example.org.