Published on 11 Oct 2010 Sections

Benefit claimants reassessed under welfare reform

As hundreds of incapacity benefits are reassessed under the government’s plan to reform the welfare system, Channel 4 News hears from a claimant worried that changes may affect his health.

Benefit claimants reassessed under welfare reform

Hundreds of incapacity benefit claimants are to be reassessed for their fitness to work under a pilot scheme being launched today in Lancashire and north east Scotland.

Those deemed fit to work, using a points-based system, will lose their incapacity benefit and be moved to the jobseeker’s allowance.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says more than 2.5 million claim the benefit costing £12.5bn a year.

Thirty-eight year old claimant Steven Dickinson, from Burnley, Lancashire, where the pilot is being launched, has told Channel 4 News that people should not be rushed back to work without their individual case being properly assessed.

“Some days I can be high as a kite, other days I can’t even get out of bed,” he told Channel 4 News.

Steven is a former carpenter who was diagnosed with bi-polar manic depression four years ago following a long battle with mental illness.

He used to make snooker cues but says his illness made him a perfectionist and he would work long hours and eventually suffer bouts of depression.

He receives around £210 per week disability as well as child credits and housing benefit.

He spoke to Nick Martin about what he thinks of the new government reassessments.

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