Welfare to Work

– Characteristics of ESA claimants

The Department for Work and Pensions published a report on the 22nd September detailing the findings from a survey of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants. The report provides detailed information about the characteristics of people who claim ESA and changes in their employment situation over a period of around 18 months.


One of the key findings from the report was that half of people claiming ESA had been in paid work immediately before their claim, and the vast majority of these (85 per cent) had been in employment for most of their working lives.  Half had a health condition which was of recent (2008/09) onset.

Those people who were not in work before their claim were found to have a particularly disadvantaged socio-economic profile.  Almost one-third had never worked or were long-term unemployed, 41 per cent had no qualifications, 25 per cent had literacy problems, and only 23 per cent were owner-occupiers.

The report describes how relatively few claimants had entered work a year to 18 months after their initial claim, regardless of their employment origins. A quarter of people who were in employment before claiming ESA had returned to work by the time of the follow-up survey wave but only nine per cent of those previously out of work had entered employment by that time.

Website: Department for Work and Pensions

Source: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2011/sep-2011/dwp112-11.shtml


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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