Determining the support needs of people with chronic illness


This paper is the first of a series of three reports looking cumulatively at the need to replace the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with a proper system of assessment and support designed with and by people who have an illness, health condition or disability that makes it difficult or impossible to work. Extensive investigation, backed by our research, demonstrates that ESA and the accompanying Work Capability Assessment are not fit for purpose. This Ekklesia paper, researched by Stef Benstead and Emma Nock, and supported with funding from the St Joseph’s Province Passionists’ Grants Fund, looks in depth at the support needs of people with chronic illness, based on a detailed online survey in parallel with other research. The conclusion is clear: the government can provide the support needed for those with chronic illness to work, and then ask such people as are able to undertake that work; or it can reduce expenditure in that area and properly enable those with chronic illness to live lives that contribute to a good society in other ways, without conditions. But the government cannot have it both ways; it cannot refuse to pay the cost of employment support and simultaneously insist that individuals with chronic illness prepare for work that is simply not possible for them. 


Abstract – p1

Introduction – p2

Chapter 1: Background Results – p4

Chapter 2: Factors Affecting the Ability to Work – p8

Chapter 3: Assessment Criteria and Support – 25 Conclusion – 30

References – 32

Appendix – 35

About Ekklesia and the authors – 64

Further Reading – 65

* Read and download the whole report (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document) here:

* Read and download an executive summary of this report (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document) here: