THOUSANDS of benefits claimants will no longer have to prove they are too ill to work after Government reforms came into effect today.
Disability charities have welcomed the change, which means seriously ill people won’t have to undergo regular assessments.
But left-wing activists claim it does not go far enough and want ministers to be more specific about who qualifies for the change.
At the moment, anyone who claims Employment and Support Allowance has to have a regular test to see whether they are well enough to work.
If they are found to be fit for a job, their benefits are cut and they have to start looking for employment.
Today’s reforms mean that claimants are exempt if they “have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition” or “are unlikely to ever be able to move into work”.
But they do not apply to anyone who is found capable of doing a limited amount of work.
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A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “This positive change ensures that the right protections are in place.
“People with severe health conditions or disabilities that are not going to improve will no longer need to attend routine assessments.”
Charity Parkinson’s UK called the rule change “a big step in the right direction”.
But they also said the Government should publish more information about how seriously ill people will benefit.
Labour’s Debbie Abrahams slammed the reform as “an outrageous broken promise”.
She added: “Sick and disabled people have been waiting for the Government to announce specific conditions that would be exempt from punitive reassessments, finally providing the certainty many have been waiting for.
“Instead they have been offered with a vague statement with no specific guarantees at all.”