Benefit claimants currently too sick to work could face losing their payments if they do not go back into employment.
Conditions requiring claimants to search for work could be extended to those claiming for health reasons, the Government's 21st Century Welfare consultation paper has announced.
Currently most Jobseeker's Allowance claimants are required to look for full-time work to receive their allowance.
The paper explains that: "Individuals who are able to look for work or prepare for work should be required to do so as a condition for receiving benefit and those who fail to meet their responsibilities should face a sanction such as a benefit reduction."
It then opens the door to the possibility of including those "benefit claimants who currently have no work search conditionality applied (for example because of ill health or caring responsibilities."
Under this section it says: "We could apply conditionality to match financial incentives for working even relatively short hours where appropriate - requiring some people to look for or prepare for work of a few hours a week in line with their capability and circumstances - and extend conditionality as an individual's circumstances change (for example, when their health improves).
At the heart of the Government's thinking is to make it much clearer that the commitment to work is the foundation of the benefits system for people of working age.
It suggests that everyone who is able to work, or to take steps to prepare for work, should sign a document setting out their obligations and the activity required to satisfy those obligations.
Those who fail to meet their obligations may have their benefit withdrawn until they demonstrate that they have re-engaged with their personalised set of commitments, and the possibility of non-financial sanctions in encouraging compliance is discussed as well.
It does conclude by noting that, financial support for people who are not able to work, or prepare for work, would remain unconditional, but fails to elaborate on how this would be decided.
The consultation process is open until 1 October.
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