Annex B: Recent changes to benefit system impacting on employment and income domains
Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance ( ESA) replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008. Not everyone who was eligible for these benefits will qualify for Employment and Support Allowance. More details can be found on the DWP website: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca.
Incapacity Benefit forms part of the employment domain whilst Income Support forms part of the income domain. We have been advised by the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP) that to maintain comparability as best as possible we should now include ESA claimants in the employment domain and claimants of income-based ESA in the income domain. The SIMD 2009+1 employment domain published in 2010 included ESA. However the 2009+1 income domain did not include income-based ESA. This has now been rectified with both the revised 2009+1 income domain and the new 2009+2 income domain including income-based ESA.
Ideally, to maintain the best comparability with the SIMD 2009 income domain, children dependent on a recipient of income based ESA would be included whilst those dependent on a recipient of non income based ESA would be excluded. However figures are not available for these two sub-groups, only for all dependents of recipients of ESA. This means that all children dependent on a recipient of any form of ESA are now included in the SIMD 2009+1 and SIMD 2009+2 income domains. In the data used for SIMD 2009+2 there are around 8,000 dependents of recipients of ESA across Scotland. As explained, it is unknown how many of these are dependent on a recipient of income based ESA.
Lone Parent Obligations
Since November 2008 most lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or over lost entitlement to Income Support solely on the grounds of being a lone parent. The age of the youngest child was lowered to 10 in October 2009 and to 7 from October 2010. One of the consequences of this is an increase in the numbers of lone parents claiming Job Seekers Allowance ( JSA).
The SIMD income domain includes people in receipt of Income Support. It also includes those receiving JSA. This means that the change should have no impact on the income domain. However, the SIMD employment domain includes the unemployment claimant count which includes JSA. This means these people will now also be counted in the employment domain. Between January and December 2010 the number of lone parents affected by this rose from 4,550 to 7,105. This will have an impact on the number and percentage of people who are employment deprived and may also impact slightly on the relative datazone rankings.
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