Establishing the potential for using routine data on Incapacity Benefit to assess the local impact of policy initiatives

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Abstract

Background

Incapacity Benefit (IB) is the key contributory benefit for people who are incapable of work because of illness or disability.

Methods

The aims were to establish the utility of routinely collected data for local evaluation and to provide a descriptive epidemiology of the IB population in Glasgow and Scotland for the period 2000–05 using data supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Results

Glasgow's IB population is large in absolute and relative terms but is now falling, mainly due to a decrease in on flow. Claimants, tend to be older, have a poor work history and suffer from mental health problems. The rate of decline has been greater in Glasgow than Scotland, although the rate of on flow is still higher.

Conclusions

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data can be used locally to provide important insights into the dynamics of the IB population. However, to be truly useful, more work needs to be undertaken to combine the DWP data with other information.

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