4 things you need to know about ESA reassessments
This applies to people who meet new criteria and have no prospect of getting better. We've been calling for an end to these unnecessary reassessments. And we'll continue to work hard to ensure this change meets the needs of people with MS.
1. What is ESA?
ESA provides financial support for people who can't work because of their health condition or disability. People who're judged most unable to work are placed in the Support Group and receive more financial support.
Under ESA, most people have to undergo regular assessments, normally at least every three years. That means that, until now, even people with MS who have no realistic prospect of going back to work have been continually reassessed.
2. What do ESA reassessment changes mean for people with MS?
Today the government announced that people with severe conditions who have no prospect of recovery will no longer have to be reassessed for ESA.
This change only applies to people in the Support Group for ESA who meet certain criteria.
3. How do the ESA changes affect me?
You don’t need to do anything right now. If you're in the Support Group, you'll be contacted to arrange a reassessment.
To meet the new rules you need to be able to demonstrate:
- you'll always meet the Support Group criteria (find out about the Support Group criteria in our claiming ESA booklet)
- you have a confirmed diagnosis
- your condition is life-long
- your condition won't get better, even with treatment.
We don’t know exactly how many people with MS will be affected by this change, but it's less likely to affect people with relapsing forms of MS.
4. What about other benefits?
The stop to reassessments only applies to ESA. If you're claiming any other benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP), reassessments will continue as usual.
We hope however that the government will now look at reassessments for other benefits like PIP.
We want the welfare system to make sense for people living with MS. This change is a step in that direction and we'll closely monitor its effects.