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How will the government help unemployed disabled people?

Damien Green
Damien Green Image credit:

So, what did Work and Pensions Secretary Damien Green have to say for himself?

Well, he promised there will be a “personal support push’ approach and helping disabled people being placed in employment will be treated as a “health” issue.

The new plans being rolled out by the government will include building a relationship with companies ensuring employees with long-term health conditions are not “falling out of work”, encouraging Jobcentre Plus coaches to “signpost” claimants to therapy and reviewing GP fit notes/ statutory sick pay "to support workers back into their jobs faster, and for longer"

Green said the proposals will replace the “binary” division which decides if a person is fit enough to work offering a much fairer approach taking individuals needs into consideration.

There’s more good news, disabled people with severe conditions won’t have to face pointless repeated assessments in order to claim benefits.

So, everybody’s happy right? Well, not quite – Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams isn’t happy with the new guidelines. She argued: "This is again kicking the issue of support for disabled people... into the long grass.

"We have got all talk and no action."

"The government has been responsible, more than anything, for the negative image of disable people.

"It is failing to understand the reality of many disabled people's lives."

Labour’s Frank Field, chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee added: "People with disabilities have been amongst those least well-served by job centres and welfare-to-work programmes in recent years.

"All too often, having a health condition or disability means dropping out of work and struggling to return.

"Getting this right is key not just to ensuring that disabled people get the support they need but also to building confidence that the department has their best interests at heart."

Half a million more million more disabled people were in work than three years ago, but the government wants to improve on that figure.