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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Incapacity Benefit (IB)

A weekly benefit paid to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability, and have paid a specified amount of National Insurance contributions. Paid at 3 rates:

  • a short-term lower rate: payable to those who do not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, for the first 28 weeks of incapacity;

  • a short-term higher rate: payable from 28 weeks to 52 weeks of incapacity;

  • a long-term rate: payable after 52 of incapacity.

“Incapacity for work” is measured:

  • during the first 28 weeks (in the case of people with a recent work record) by the “Own Occupation Test”, which assesses people’s ability to do their usual job;

  • after 28 weeks (or from the start of the claim for people without a recent work record), through the “All Work Test”: a functional test which assesses the claimant’s ability to perform a wide range of activities.

Sections 62 and 63 amend the rules for IB; section 61 introduces a modified qualifying test.

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