From 27 October 2008, in a change to the benefits system, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will replace the current state benefits (Incapacity Benefit and Income Support) which are paid to individuals on incapacity grounds. The new ESA will initially only be payable to new claimants.
According to government guidance
“… the principle of Employment and Support Allowance is that everyone should have the opportunity to work and that people with an illness or disability should get the support they need to engage in appropriate work, if they are able”.
Existing Incapacity Benefit or Income Support claimants will initially continue to receive their existing benefits, so long as they satisfy the entitlement conditions.
The change to the benefits system will have some implications for employers with the issue of a new SSP1 form. This form is used where an employee has reached their maximum entitlement to SSP. The changes to SSP1 are designed to make it quicker to complete, as less information has to be reported for benefit claims starting on or after 27 October 2008.
Another form the SSP1L (Leaver’s statement of SSP), which is currently given to employees who leave within 8 weeks of claiming sick pay, will be discontinued from 27 October 2008.