Drug Addicts and Alcoholics will lose sickness benefits if not seeking treatment
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.
In order to cut down on the welfare budget, the government will launch a benefit crackdown as part of the ‘tough love’ approach to benefit claimants, saying people with health complaints need to take practical steps to improve their health.
Currently anyone claiming sickness benefit has to obtain medical evidence to prove they are entitled to claim but 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.
Under the new rules, claimants with a treatable ailment or addiction 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. .
The official details will be announced by Mark Hoban, Work and Pensions minister, before Christmas, and as yet we are unsure what conditions will be included but drug and alcohol dependency have been mentioned.
Around 77,000 people claim sickness benefit due to drug or alcohol dependency meaning they are unable to work; No. 10 suggested drug and alcohol addicts who failed to attend rehab courses would be among the in the initial trials.
A Government source said:
This is a tough love approach towards our aim of ending the something for nothing culture in benefits.
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.
Britain’s welfare budget is over £200billion. Chancellor George Osborne is seeking ways to slash a further £10billion from the welfare budget by 2016-17 on top of £18billion of cuts already announced.
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