Is welfare to work, working well? Improving employment rates for people with disabilities and long-term conditions
People with long-term conditions and disabilities experience disproportionately low employment rates relative to their peers without health conditions; 46.1% of people with disabilities are employed, compared to a 73.5% national rate. Such figures belie the fact that many people with health conditions want to work, would be able to given appropriate support, and could derive significant personal and economic benefit from doing so. The government too recognises the benefits of employment in this context, and has pledged to halve the disability employment gap by 2020.
The approach to improving employment outcomes necessarily looks both at the way we support people to find work, and to retain work. This paper focusses on the former – reflecting on how current welfare-to-work provision is working for those whose health may be barrier, and highlighting how support might be improved in its next iteration, e.g. through the proposed ‘Work and Health Programme’.
In reviewing current national and local provision, we identify good practice, and concerns and challenges – with the Work Programme in particular highlighted as not working for people with health conditions – before making recommendations for changes which we believe will improve support and employment outcomes for the 1 in 3 working age people with long-term health conditions in the UK today.
Authors: Cicely Dudley, Libby McEnhill and Karen Steadman