Illness support not what it used to be, says Bicester CAB

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WORKERS are being urged find out more about changes to sickness support by Bicester’s Citizens Advice Bureau.

The CAB office, based in Garth House in Garth Park, off Launton Road, says many people suffering from long-term illnesses, which affect their ability to work, are now faced with a lack of any financial support while they are unwell.

Changes brought about on April 30 by the Welfare Reform Act mean claimants of contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), who are in the Work Related Activity Group, will lose their entitlement after 365 days.

The CAB says it is having a huge impact on claimants, who will lose their £99 per week benefit even though they may still to be unfit for work.

Some ESA claimants may be able to claim income-related ESA, but savings or any other income may make them ineligible.

Bicester CAB staff say they have already seen many clients who are struggling on a reduced income as a result.

In a statement last week, the office said people who have worked and paid national insurance all their lives felt secure in the knowledge they would receive some support if they became ill and could not work.

“The change in policy has taken away that security and Citizens Advice Bicester believe this to be extremely unfair,” the statement added.

Members of the public can make an appointment to visit Bicester CAB on 01869 321806, or contact the advice line on 08444 111444.