Following the recent announcement from central government that controversial 'ATOS' fit-to-work referral scheme is to end ahead of the contracted term as a result of substantial failings in the delivery of the scheme.
The announcement of the cancellation of the controversial ATOS fit to work referral scheme, which came after revelations that many claimants had in some cases been waiting over a year for an assessment by ATOS, has highlighted a new and emerging issue for ESA claimants across the UK.
As the scheme currently stands, there are two ESA groups claimants will be put into, either a 'support' group or a 'work-related activity' group. At the present time under the current guidelines, the maximum time a claimant can receive contribution based ESA in the 'work-related activity' group is 365 days.
Due to the benefit scheme rules, at the end of the 365 day period, not all claimants will be entitled to ESA as no reassessment will have been completed. This also means that there is no accessible mechanism for individuals to apply to move into the 'support' group. It is widely expected that this sudden stop of benefit income is likely to hit households hard.
The benefits information service, commonly known as the BIS, is now offering a lifeline to struggling claimants, by offering a realistic assessment of their situation which could indicate their entitlement to move into the 'benefit' group. The BIS can help protect the claims of individuals affected by the new changes, through a free assessment.
For further information on how the BIS can help you check your entitlement and also protect your EAS claim, please visit the official website at www.benefitanswers.co.uk or alternatively call 0845 6120 474 for a free assessment.