As part of the Governments Welfare Reform Bill (now an Act), Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be limited to 12 months. This comes into affect from the 30th April 2012 and for the first time is to be aplplied retrospectively. This means that anyone who has been on Contribution based ESA for a year or more by April 30th will lose this benefit on April 30th. For many this means relying on a partners income for others it means taking a cut in income while having to go on income based ESA. The biggest losers are couples.
It has taken many Welfare Rights Advisers and Job Centre Plus staff by surprise as it is to be applied retrospectively, with one JC+ Manager in Leeds stating that "this has never happened before, we are expecting thousands of calls from a lot of angry people who are going to lose thier income just like that. We have tried to inform people but we don not think many people really took it in, it will be like turning up for work tomorrow and being told your wage is going to stop".