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Disability Rights calls for all ESA claimants to be exempt from the benefit cap.

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DR UK calls for all ESA claimants to be exempt from the benefit cap: The lower benefit cap, which comes into effect today, will have a ‘widespread and severe impact’ on more than 116,000 families says a new CIH report. DR UK believe that an exemption should be made to all those in receipt of ESA.

The lower benefit cap, which comes into effect on 7 November, will have a ‘widespread and severe impact’ on more than 116,000 families says a new CIH report.

While some disabled people are exempt from the benefit cap – including those receiving DLA or PIP or the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) support component – those in the ESA work related activity group are not.

DR UK believe that an exemption should also be made to all those in receipt of ESA.

Liz Sayce DR UK’s CEO said:

“People who are disabled or have a long term health condition face a range of obstacles as they try to get and keep a job.

For people in the work related activity group who want to get back into work (and many would like to) it’s clear what is needed: much more flexible practices from employers (for instance, so people with fluctuating conditions could work when they can), with advice and support for employers to make that happen, and really personalised support for disabled people that is actually effective.

We need a strong strategy from government to help disabled people and employers make this happen – not capping benefits or reducing entitlement to disability benefit via PIP   that just drive disabled people into greater poverty.”

The lower overall benefit cap comes into effect from November 7 and limits the total amount of benefits a household can receive from £26,000 to £23,000 and £20,000 outside of London.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) research shows that:

  • 116,000 families with between one and four children will be hit – a rise of almost 100,000 on the 20,000 already affected
  • Those families contain a total of 319,000 children.
  • They will lose up to £115 a week – a loss they cannot absorb “by simply reducing their household spending”.
  • A couple with three children will be left with £50.80 a week for housing

CIH chief executive, Terrie Alafat, said the new cap could put many families at serious risk of losing their homes and render housing in significant parts of the country unaffordable for those affected.