Sickness and Disability

Sick and disabled people, depending on the nature and severity of their condition, are entitled to a number of financial benefits. Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is now the benefit for people of working age. It replaced Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) for new claimants in 2008 and the reassessment of existing IB claimants began in 2011.

The rate of claiming in Wakefield district (see table below) is higher than the regional England claiming rate.

Proportion of people aged 16-64 claiming ESA (%). Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)

Claimants of ESA are placed into one of two groups. Claimants who are in the ‘work-related activity group’ (see table below for numbers) attend regular interviews with an advisor to help with job goals and improving skills. It is this group which is closest to the labour market. Claimants who have been placed in the support group have the most severe conditions and have been assessed as being unable to work.

ESA claimants by phase of claim. Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)

The reassessment from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance didn’t identify greater proportions of Wakefield people fit for work than were identified nationally. The health conditions affecting Wakefield claimants closely follow the national pattern. The most common conditions are mental or behavioural conditions and musculoskeletal conditions (see numbers for these and other conditions in the tables below).

All ESA claimants by condition. Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)

Work Related Activity Group ESA claimants by condition. Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)

The total number of ESA claimants fell slightly during 2016, but state pension age (SPA) increases for women have put upward pressure on the numbers of women claiming ESA. In February 2017 there were 1,100 women aged 60 or over claiming ESA, whereas seven years earlier, when women retired at 60, there were none. (When reading the trend chart below it needs to be remembered that ESA was phased in gradually over a number of years, which explains the rising trend up until 2015.)

Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people aged 16-64 who are disabled, have personal care needs, mobility needs, or both. Claiming rates in Wakefield district are higher than the regional and England rates (see table below). From April 2013 DLA began to be replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP). As of April 2019, nearly 14,300 people across the district had registered for PIP.

Proportion of people aged 16 to 64 claiming Disability Living Allowance (%). Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API)

Attendance Allowance is paid to people who are ill or disabled after their 65th birthday and who need someone to help with their personal care. The proportion of people aged 65 and over claiming Attendance Allowance (11.4%, 7,340 people, November 2018) is slightly lower than the England rate (12.1%).

Other Resources