Income replacement benefits
Find out what we believe about working age income replacement benefits.
This policy statement has been developed with advice and guidance from people affected by Parkinson's, health and social care professionals and other experts.
What do we mean by working age income replacement benefits?
They deem me unfit for work now, but say I could return within the next 6 months. Do they know of some miracle cure for Parkinson's?
There are a number of different benefits available to support people of working age with Parkinson's.
The 2 main working age income replacement benefits are Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Incapacity Benefit.
ESA is a benefit paid if your ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. Its assessment phase normally involves undergoing a test of readiness for work.
In the long term there is an aim to move all existing claimants of Incapacity Benefit over to ESA.
What we believe
We believe that people with Parkinson's of working age, who are unable to work because of their condition, should receive an income replacement benefit paid at a level that enables independence.
The system needs to be fair to those unable to work, help those who need additional support to return to work and be accessible for people with disabilities. Decisions should be based on a proper understanding of Parkinson's.
Why we believe this
Many younger people with Parkinson's who cannot sustain work because of their condition rely on incapacity benefits for their income or part of their income. Working age people with Parkinson's report being worse off financially than their older counterparts.
People with Parkinson's often find there is poor understanding of the condition amongst welfare advisors and assessors.
This risks people being rejected for the support and benefits they need if they are having a good day while being assessed.
What's the evidence?
Our members' survey in 2007 found that just under a third of working age people with Parkinson's were in any form of employment. And almost half of this age group were in receipt of Incapacity Benefit. Many reported struggling to just get by financially.
In 2009 a survey of people with Parkinson's who had claimed ESA found many people with severe symptoms being declared fit to work. This was often on the basis of short assessments or because there was little reference to the evidence from the person's healthcare professional.