Sickness Benefit Crackdown In £25m Trial

6 November 2012
Sickness Benefit Crackdown In £25m Trial

Sickness benefit will be stripped from claimants who refuse to get treatment for their problems under a crackdown to be tested in a £25 million Government trial.

Ministers want to extend the concept of "conditionality" used to force the jobless to seek work to welfare payments for those with health complaints as well.

A series of pilots around the country for what is being touted as a "tough love" approach by Downing Street sources will be announced before Christmas.

Chancellor George Osborne is seeking ways to slash a further £10 billion from the welfare budget by 2016/17 on top of £18 billion of cuts already announced.

Under the proposals, claimants would be expected to attend regular sessions with a health care professional who could require them to attend therapy and other treatments to help them recover.

It is unclear exactly what conditions would be caught but No. 10 suggested drug and alcohol addicts who failed to attend rehab courses would be among them in the initial trials.

Funding for the pilots has been agreed, they said.

"This is a tough love approach towards our aim of ending the something for nothing culture in benefits," a Government source said.

"It's right that we provide support for people in need, but we should also expect something back in return. We are already helping people back into work through unemployment benefit conditionality.

"Now we are looking at transferring that principle to sickness benefits, so that for those people who are sick but able to take practical steps to improve their health, the benefits system encourages them to get better."

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