Employment and Support Allowance: Early implementation experiences of customers and staff

Barnes H, Sissons P, Aston J, Dewson S, Stevens H, Williams C, Francis R | Research Report DWPRR 631 | Department for Work and Pensions | Feb 2010

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From October 2008 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid on incapacity grounds for new customers.

This report represents the first stage of the evaluation of ESA and presents the findings from an early implementation study. It is based on fieldwork carried out in May and July 2009 in four Jobcentre Plus districts across Great Britain.

The 38 staff members interviewed consisted of Jobcentre Plus Advisers and Adviser Managers with ESA and extensive Incapacity Benefit (IB) experience, advisers and managers in Pathways Providers, as well as staff working in Jobcentre Plus Benefit Delivery Centres and Contact Centres. The 39 customers interviewed covered a range of experiences in terms of their age, health condition, and the outcome of their ESA claim.