The Department for Work and Pensions today publishes a report of survey research into a sample of customers who made a claim for Employment and Support Allowance. They were initially surveyed in December 2009 - February 20101 and this report details findings of a follow-up survey of the same people about seven months later, in June-September 2010. This report focuses on whether people’s circumstances had changed over time, their ongoing ESA claim experiences, and the activities of those who left ESA.
Customers’ personal and household circumstances were stable over time, although their health was more changeable. A quarter reported improved health, a quarter reported their health had declined, with the remainder saying it was about the same.
Views on Work Focused Interviews were positive, with 87 per cent of people who had attended them agreeing advisers were helpful, and 88 per cent saying they were helpful in thinking about paid work in future.
There was no clear relationship between attitudes to work, as measured by level of agreement with a series of statements about the benefits of work, and the number of Work Focused Interviews attended.
Amongst people found Fit for Work, when their ESA claim ended, 28 per cent said they moved into (or back to ) work and 48 per cent claimed another benefit which was usually Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The remaining 24 per cent of the Fit for Work group had a wide range of next steps. These were fragmented and were a mixture of ‘clear’ activities such as going to college, retiring or being supported by family, friends or savings, and ‘unclear’ activities such as ‘continued without benefits’ or saying they did not know what they did next.
Rates of moving into work were higher amongst those whose claim was closed or withdrawn before a Work Capability Assessment decision was made, than for the Fit for Work group. Forty-seven per cent of this group moved into (or back to) work. Thirty-eight per cent claimed another benefit which was usually Jobseeker’s Allowance, and the remaining 15 per cent were fragmented between ‘clear’ and ‘unclear’ activities, as detailed above for the Fit for Work group.
Notes for Editors:
“Employment and Support Allowance: findings from a follow-up survey of customers”, by Helen Barnes, Paul Sissons and Helen Stevens from the Institute of Employment Studies, was published on 1 June 2011 as report 745 in the DWP research report series. It is available on the DWP website:
http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp - Footnote 1
This research involved telephone interviews with 1,850 customers in July-September 2011. These customers made an initial claim for ESA in April-June 2009, and were initially surveyed in December 2009-February 2010
The findings of this initial survey have been published in the DWP research report series as ‘Employment and Support Allowance: Findings from a face-to-face survey of customers’