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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 17:00 GMT
Welfare reforms at-a-glance
The government's Welfare Reform Green Paper at-a-glance:

Overall aims

  • Reduce incapacity benefit claimants by one million within a decade

  • Get 300,000 lone parents back into work

  • Increase by one million the number of older people (aged over 50) in employment

    Incapacity benefit

  • Employment and Support Allowance to replace IB by 2008

  • New claimants - except the most severely disabled or those in the poorest health - will have to have "work-focused interviews", produce action plans and engage in "work-related activity"

  • If they refuse to do this, their payment levels will be cut

  • Financial support to continue once a claimant is back in work

  • Those with severest disabilities or health problems will get the new benefit at a higher rate, without conditions

  • But the category of people "exempt" from having to undergo assessments will change. Specific conditions - such as blindness - will no longer automatically mean benefits are paid. Instead, the "severity" of the condition or the ability to work will be assessed.

  • The mental health component of the assessment for benefits will be reviewed, in line with conditions "prevalent today".

  • GPs to take "active steps to support" patients who want to return to work

  • Employment advisers will be piloted in GP surgeries from next month

  • A unit will be set up to make "periodic checks" of those claiming benefits, seeking updated medical advice if necessary

    Lone parents

  • Every three months interviews will be held with lone parents on benefits whose youngest child is at least 11 years old

  • Those on benefits for at least a year will be seen every six months

  • Pilot schemes will be introduced to give "more support" to lone parents in the first year of their claim, as people are still "adapting" at this stage

  • A "premium" will be trialled so that lone parents are better off if they take "serious steps" towards work

    Older people

  • People aged 50 to 59 will be required to take up additional job seeking support available through the New Deal

  • Back-to-work support for Jobseeker's Allowance claimants over age of 50 will be improved

  • There will also be face-to-face guidance sessions

    Housing benefit

  • The system will be simplified to give better work incentives




  • BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
    Incapacity benefit claimants explain why they don't work



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