Britain had been paying about £1 billion as incapacity benefit to drug addicts and alcoholics who have been claiming these sickness benefits for more than a decade.
The Department for Work and Pensions revealed that 80,000 people had been claiming incapacity benefit for being an alcoholic, a drug addict or for obesity. 12,000 alcoholics and 9,200 drug addicts among these had been walking away with this benefit for more than ten years. It works out that each individual had been able to get away with an average of £4,700 a year.
The Prime minister, David Cameron has said, "I think a lot of people who pay their taxes and work hard will think: 'That's not what I pay my taxes for. I pay my taxes for people who are incapacitated through no fault of their own.'"
Ministers have expressed their anger that claimants, instead of being helped to overcome their issues and to get back to work, have been shrugged off to become dependent on incapacity benefits [IB]. The Department for Work and Pensions plan to examine all claimants of IB and reassess their capacity to work and the assistance needed to get them employed again.
The new Work Programme beginning this summer, described by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, as the biggest "welfare to work" programme, has the support of private and voluntary sector organisations that will be actively involved in getting people back to work.
Chris Grayling, the employment minister, states, "It's not fair on anyone for this situation to continue. Far from being the safety net it should be, the benefits system has trapped thousands in a cycle of addiction and welfare dependency with no prospect of getting back to work."