Written Questions and Answers | Social Security Benefits
Andrew George MP (St Ives, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the coherence of policy across different Government Departments in the administration of health and welfare benefits.
Chris Grayling (Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative)
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for welfare and employment issues and we have developed a coherent strategy to address poverty and to support the most vulnerable, helping people break the cycle of benefit dependency. A crucial part of this is to ensure that people are not written off to a lifetime on benefits because they have a health condition or disability. Many people with health conditions are able to sustain and progress in employment. The Department therefore needs to ensure that people currently receiving incapacity benefits are supported in preparing for a return to work where some form of employment is a possibility.
The reassessment of old-style incapacity benefits claimants is a key part of our agenda to create and deliver a 21(st) century welfare system by ensuring that those people who can work are given the correct support to do so.
Through the groundbreaking Work Programme we are giving those in the private and voluntary sector the freedom to design tailor-made back to work support built around the needs of the individual. The referral process is designed to give harder to help groups on benefits access to the programme at the appropriate stage in their claim. Once on the programme, advisers will devise tailored back to work plans for each claimant, taking in to account their circumstances.
In addition, we are currently taking through Parliament the Welfare Reform Bill which makes widespread reforms to the welfare system. An underlying principle of our reforms is to provide a more joined-up service, which is easier and more transparent for claimants to navigate their way through in order to receive personal financial support. Most notably, Universal Credit will provide a new single system of means-tested support for working-age people in and out of work. Support for housing costs, children and child care costs will be integrated in the new benefit. It will also provide additions for disabled people and carers.