TAEN Response to First Set of Official Statistics on Incapacity Benefits Reassessment

Chris Ball, Chief Executive of TAEN – The Age and Employment Network, says:

“Nearly half of incapacity benefit claimants (44.5%) are over 50 years. The reassessment of their eligibility to claim will therefore have a disproportionate impact on older people. This group are already finding it harder than any other to find work and are the largest sufferers of long-term unemployment.

“It will be a terrifying no-win prospect for many.

“Forcing older people to go through the newly enforced rituals of job search such as a ‘work focused interview’ and drawing up plans for ‘progress towards work’ will seem pointless and cruel at a time when too few new jobs are available and large parts of the country are stuck in economic depression.

“If the Government is set to force through these changes – and we believe they are – they must surely be accompanied by a new focus on providing jobs for older job seekers. They must be given specialist support to get back into work.  More must also be done to raise awareness of employers of the value of older workers and eradicate the widespread, almost endemic ageism that is part of the recruitment industry and process.”