DR UK representations stop 55% week ESA cut to under 25s

Tue,25 April 2017
News Benefits

Representations by DR UK has led to the Government issuing new regulations preventing a 55% week cut to the amount of ESA paid to under 25 year olds.

Amending regulations - SI.No.581/2017 - issued today mean that ‘main phase’ ESA for under 25s will be at higher rate in post April 2017 cases where no work-related activity component is payable.

The explanatory memorandum to the new regulations says the amendments –

“ensure that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants, including those that also claim Housing Benefit (HB), under the age of 25 receive the higher over-25 rate of benefit, as intended once they have undergone a work capability assessment and entered main phase ESA”.

Earlier this month, DR UK wrote to the Minister for Disabled People highlighting that “hidden” in new regulations removing the work related activity component from post April 2017 ESA claimants was an effective reduction of around 55% a week in the amount currently awarded to ESA claimants under 25.

The personal allowance for an under 25-year-old ESA claimant is £57.90 per week. Prior to 3 April 2017, following a work capability assessment (WCA) identifying their limited capability for work, an under 25-year-old ESA and UC claimant was paid the work-related activity component (WRAC) or the support component.

However, in addition their personal allowance was increased to that paid to those 25 years or over - £73.10 per week. But new regulations meant that their personal allowance remain at only £57.90 a week even after being found to have a limited capability for work.

This would be a substantial weekly loss of benefit of £50.25 (a reduction of around 55%).

In her reply to DR UK, Penny Mordaunt the Minister for Disabled People maintains that it was never the intention to reduce or amend the amount of ESA personal allowance paid to under 25 year olds.

However, she says that she is grateful to DR UK for highlighting its concerns and concedes that the original regulations “could be read with some ambiguity.”

She confirmed that the Government would issue new regulations – published today – to ensure that post-April under 25 ESA claimants will not be “misled” about their future ESA entitlement.

For more information and our letter to the Minister see our news story DR UK raise “hidden” 55% ESA cut for under 25 year olds with Minister