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DWP to help disabled UC and ESA claimants into work

a man in a wheelchair at work on his phone

The government is on target to support one million more disabled people into work before 2027 according to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Recent figures show there are around 4.8 million employees with a disability across the UK, a rise of 1.3 million since 2017. This is backed by a £1.3 billion investment over three years by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In October, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Jonathan Ashworth, asked the government how the money will be spent.

Former DWP minister Claire Coutinho stated Work Coach support would increase across the country to assist disabled people or those with health conditions claiming Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

In a written response on October 26, Ms Coutinho said: “This government is committed to helping disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay, and succeed in work.

“The £1.3 billion will fund the right support in the right place to meet each individual’s needs, with an increased focus on upstream intervention to promote retention and engagement when people fall out of work.”

She continued: “This comprises Jobcentre Plus delivering employment support and provision, rolling out successful trials through health and social care settings and working with employers and stakeholders to support people to remain in work.

“Within Jobcentres, on top of existing activity, we’re increasing Work Coach support across England, Scotland and Wales for people with health conditions receiving Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.

“This will enable disabled people to access employment and wider skills support, and our employment programmes earlier. We have begun to offer this support in one-third of Jobcentres and will roll out wider from 2023.”

Coutinho went on to say the DWP will continue to work in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in order to build on the work and health success rates.

The minister explained: “This includes expanding employment support within NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services to the whole of England over this spending review period.

“We will deliver on measures to minimise the risk of ill health related job loss, as set out in the response to the DWP/DHSC consultation Health is Everyone’s Business.

“We continue to work with small businesses to support them, including delivering a national information and advice service for employers, providing better integrated and tailored guidance on managing health and disability in the workplace.”

Around half of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years (53.5%) in the UK were in employment compared with around 8 in 10 (81.6%) for non-disabled people (July to September 2021).

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