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.

In Wakefield, latest data show ? people (?) are claiming ESA. The rate of claiming in Wakefield district (see table below) is ?% higher than the regional rate and ?% higher than the England claiming rate.

Proportion of people aged 16-64 claiming ESA (%). Source: ONS (nomis 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 DWP has decided that they can’t work. In addition to those claiming ESA, there remain around 300-400 people who are claiming Incapacity Benefit (ESA's predecessor).

ESA claimants by phase of claim (?). Source: ONS (nomis 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).

Please note, due to possible problems with the coding of conditions the Department for Work and Pensions have temporarily stopped publishing this data, pending further investigation. We apologise if the tables below appear blank.

All ESA claimants by condition (?). Source: ONS (nomis API)

Work Related Activity Group ESA claimants by condition (?). Source: ONS (nomis 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: ONS (nomis 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 2017, nearly 9,000 people across the district had registered for PIP.

Proportion of people aged 16 to 64 claiming Disability Living Allowance (%). Source: ONS (nomis 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 (11.1%, 7,030 people, February 2017) is slightly lower than the England rate (12.2%).

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