The main benefits in this group are the:
From September 2007, new administrative processes for Sickness Benefits:
These decisions by case managers are to be based on:
Between September 2007 and September 2010, clients receiving Sickness Benefits were also obliged to meet the requirements of the Personal Development and Employment planning process if required to by their case manager.
From September 2010, clients receiving a Sickness Benefit are obliged to meet the requirements of the employment planning process if required to by their case manager.
From May 2011, clients receiving a Sickness Benefit are required to complete a reassessment for their benefit every 12 months. This process:
From May 2011, Sickness Benefit recipients assessed by a doctor as being able to work part-time can also be made subject to part-time work obligations.
Since 1 October 1998, a Sickness Benefit has been available to people who are:
To receive a Sickness Benefit, a client must be:
Income and residency tests apply.
From September 2010, clients receiving a Sickness Benefit are obliged to fulfil the demands of the employment planning process if required to by their case manager. From May 2011, if they are assessed as being able to work part-time, they may be made subject to part-time work obligations.
Between September 2007 and September 2010, clients receiving a Sickness Benefit were obliged to fulfil the demands of the Personal Development and Employment planning process if required to by their case manager.
The type of work test for a spouse or partner depends on the age of the couple’s youngest dependent child.
From September 2007, a spouse or partner is subject to:
If a couple’s youngest dependent child is aged under 6, the spouse or partner is (if required to by their case manager) obliged to engage with:
This benefit is available to people who:
Sixteen or 17 year olds may also be eligible for a Sickness Benefit – Hardship if they are:
The number receiving a Sickness Benefit increased slightly between 2011 and 2012
This increase (see table SB.1) followed a flattening between 2010 and 2011 of the number receiving Sickness Benefit. This pattern reflected movements off and on Sickness Benefits, which in turn reflected:
table SB.1: Numbers receiving a Sickness Benefit
|Client age at 30 June||Clients receiving a Sickness Benefit1|
|Working-age clients receiving benefits||46,271||54,352||58,465||58,009||59,413|
|Other clients receiving benefits||439||540||751||886||948|
|Total clients receiving benefits||46,710||54,892||59,216||58,895||60,361|
The number of Sickness Benefits granted remained higher than the number of Sickness Benefits cancelled
Between 2008/2009 and 2011/2012, grants of Sickness Benefits exceeded cancellations of Sickness Benefits (see table SB.2 and table SB.3). The difference between the two reduced between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012, resulting in a slowing of the growth in the number receiving a Sickness Benefit.
table SB.2: Numbers granted a Sickness Benefit
|Client age when benefit granted||Grants of a Sickness Benefit1|
|Benefits granted to working-age clients||49,518||55,848||55,426||52,207||51,282|
|Benefits granted to other clients||808||938||954||904||821|
|Total benefits granted||50,326||56,786||56,380||53,111||52,103|
table SB.3: Numbers cancelling a Sickness Benefit
|Client age when benefit cancelled||Cancellations of a Sickness Benefit1|
|Benefits cancelled by working-age clients||51,207||47,620||50,327||50,721||50,610|
|Benefits cancelled by other clients||1,139||1,114||1,112||1,223||1,356|
|Total benefits cancelled||52,346||48,734||51,439||51,944||51,966|
Relatively few working-age people were receiving a Sickness Benefit
Between 2010 and 2012, around 2.2% of the working-age population were receiving Sickness Benefits, with 50–64 year olds more likely than younger working-age people to do so.
This reflected, at least in part, a combination of the ageing of the population and the association of ageing with the incidence of health and disability conditions covered by a Sickness Benefit.
See table OT.3 for trends since 1940 in the number of clients receiving a Sickness Benefit.
Most recipients of a Sickness Benefit had a psychological or psychiatric condition or a systemic disorder
Forty-two percent of working-age recipients of a Sickness Benefit in 2011 and 2012 had a psychological or psychiatric condition (see table SB.4). Another 35% had a systemic disorder.
table SB.4: Incapacities of working-age clients receiving a Sickness Benefit
|Client incapacity at the end of June||Working-age clients receiving a Sickness Benefit1|
|Accident, trauma, entry of foreign bodies||3,313||4,333||4,547||4,521||4,662|
|Psychological or psychiatric conditions||18,036||22,004||23,931||24,120||24,641|
|Total working-age clients||46,271||54,352||58,465||58,009||59,413|
Three in five working-age clients receiving a Sickness Benefit were aged 40 or over
In 2011 and 2012, 48% of working-age Sickness Benefit recipients were aged 40–59, and another 11% were aged 60–64. Around 26% were aged 25–39.
Recipients of a Sickness Benefit became more likely to have received their benefit for over two years
Thirty-nine percent of working-age recipients of a Sickness Benefit in 2012 had received their current benefit for over two years. This compared with 29% in 2009. The proportion who had received their benefit for under one year decreased (from 52% to 43%) over the same period.
This largely reflected changes in economic conditions. People remained on Sickness Benefits for longer as opportunities for paid work became fewer for people affected by disability and health issues.
Nearly two in five clients granted a Sickness Benefit had a psychological or psychiatric condition
Of the working-age clients granted a Sickness Benefit between 2008/2009 and 2010/2011 (see table SB.5):
table SB.5: Incapacities of working-age clients granted a Sickness Benefit
|Client incapacity when benefit granted||Sickness Benefits granted to working-age clients1|
|Accident, trauma, entry of foreign bodies||5,407||6,601||6,888||6,057||6,134|
|Psychological or psychiatric conditions||18,227||20,892||20,647||20,028||19,157|
|Total granted to working-age clients||49,518||55,848||55,426||52,207||51,282|
Clients granted a Sickness Benefit became more likely to have received a main benefit in the previous year
Between 2008/2009 and 2011/2012, the proportion of clients granted a Sickness Benefit who had received a main benefit in the previous 12 months increased from 48% to 57%.
Over the same period, the proportion who had not received a main benefit in the previous two years decreased from 43% to 35%.
Nearly one in five Sickness Benefit cancellations reflected entry to work
Just under one in five clients cancelling a Sickness Benefit moved directly into work, while another small number of work-ready clients transferred to Unemployment Benefits. A majority of clients cancelling these benefits did so because of a loss of medical coverage (including recovery from illness or incapacity) or because they were entering full-time study.