This paper is the third in a series on reforming the sickness and disability-related out-of work benefits system. A priority for successive governments, reform to date has been inadequate and progress woeful, as the minimal shift in caseload numbers illustrates – in 2014-15 there were just over 2.5 million working age claimants of incapacity-related benefits, a decade earlier there were almost 2.8 million.
The Reform series aims to provide a blueprint for delivering the radical change needed to transform the outcomes of those parked on out-of-work benefits. Working welfare: a radically new approach to sickness and disability benefits laid out a new benefit model. It argued that a single rate for out-of-work benefits is a necessary precursor to breaking the link between work capability and benefit eligibility. It is also key to delivering a more personalised conditionality and support system – one that moves away from categorisation based on benefit type to one that reflects an individual claimant’s distance from the labour market.