Here is a description, from someone who actually worked in ESA of what happens to claimants and how only 9% are considered disabled enough to get support.
"How are the Coalition going to take even more people off ESA/Incapacity Benefit?
For those who don’t know, Incapacity Benefit no longer exists for new claimants and hasn’t done since October 2009.
They now need to claim Employment Support Allowance, which is a whole new ball game.
I worked for two years in this field and so know a little bit about it.
When you first apply for ESA, you need to submit a medical certificate from your GP, as well as fill in a very detailed questionnaire about your illness/symptoms. You will be awarded a basic rate of JSA (£60 per week or thereabouts) for the first few weeks, upon which you will be called to an assessment with a doctor who works for the DWP (currently contracted to a company named Atos Origin). The Doctor will assess your SYMPTOMS (ie not to decide whether you are actually ill or not) and what – if any – impact they would have on your ability to work. You are awarded points for every aspect of your condition/symptoms which limits your ability to work.
At this point around 40% of applicants are told that they have no accrued enough “points” to claim ESA and their claim stops, ie they get no more money. They have to claim JSA and look for work like any other unemployed person.
The remainder, whose symptoms are more severe, will either be placed into the “Work Related Activity Group” which means that they receive a lower amount of ESA, but at the same time are expected to look for work which the DWP doctor feels they COULD do (ie bad back = you can’t do manual work but could do office work) with the help of a personal advisor at the Jobcentre. The most severely affected will be placed in the Support Group.
Only around 9% of claimants are placed in the “Support Group” which means they get a higher rate of ESA and are not expected to look for work. These are usually people with the most severe disabilities.
I often see questions on here talking about how the new Government are going to tackle the “scroungers” with pretend “bad backs/depression” etc – but having explained that the system already works this way – with only a very few people allowed to claim higher rate ESA without looking for work, how exactly are they planning to cut this down even further? Its pretty impossible to blag your way onto ESA with a pretend “bad back” or depression, believe me!!!
The only way I can see they could do this is to stop Incapacity Benefit completely and put EVERYONE on ESA. Right now, those who’ve been claiming for a while will still be on Incapacity Benefit, with the old rules, which were slightly more lax. Putting everyone on ESA and making them all subject to the same assessments would cut down the number of claimants.
But as for ESA it honestly couldn’t be tightened up anymore than it has been. There are already thousands of people struggling with quite severe and debilitating conditions who’ve been declared “fit for work” by the DWP
The following article shows just how many people considered themselves wrongly assessed for ESA and appealed.