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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) (and its predecessor Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) are benefits for people of working age.

In Wakefield, latest data shows 16,750 people (November 2016) are claiming IB/ESA. Around 2,600 of these claimants are in the ‘work-related activity group’ – attending regular interviews with an advisor to help with job goals and improving skills. It is this group which is closest to the labour market.

Wakefield’s ESA claiming rate is the fourth-highest in the region. The number of claimants has fallen over the last decade, and gaps to regional and national averages have narrowed slowly. However, this gap remains significant. State pension age (SPA) increases for women is the main reason the ESA trend in Wakefield has stopped falling in the last couple of years. Women are working longer and so more are eligible to claim – around 1,000 women aged over 60 are now claiming IB/ESA.

Source: ONS (nomis API; working age client group)

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. Of the principal conditions: 45% have mental or behavioural conditions (and these numbers are increasing), and 16% have musculoskeletal conditions (these numbers are decreasing).


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people who are disabled, have personal care needs, mobility needs, or both. 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. In August 2016, 21,470 people were claiming DLA – 6.4% of the Wakefield’s population, compared to 4.1% across England. The proportion of people aged 65 and over claiming Attendance Allowance (11.4%, 7,059 people, August 2016) is slightly lower than the England rate (12.6%). From April 2013 DLA began to be replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP). As of October 2016, just over 6,800 people across the district had registered for PIP.