Dizziness, piles and malaise leave UK with multi-million pound incapacity benefit bill

'Minor' conditions causing absence from work

Hundreds of millions of pounds were paid out to benefit claimants for ‘minor’ conditions including piles, headaches, dizziness and malaise, according to figures published today.

A total of £8.7bn was paid in just one year to those claiming Incapacity Benefit and the Employment and Support Allowance. While many benefit recipients had serious conditions such as cancer, £24.2m went to sufferers of “dizziness and giddiness”.

The figures, obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions after a Freedom of Information request, were published in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

They suggest that some people were signed off work for “coughs” at a cost of £600,000 while the bill for “malaise and fatigue” was £44.7m. Indigestion resulted in £2.8m of payments.

Around £2m was paid out to people suffering haemorrhoids while those complaining of sleep claimed £3.8m in 2010-11.

Back pain was one of the most common illnesses, with claimants taking home nearly £720m. £215m was paid to people who complained of a “reaction to severe stress”. A further £17m was paid to claimants suffering from “unspecified mood disorders”, while unspecified pain cost taxpayers £245.3m.

More than £139.1m was paid in 2010/11 to 29,000 claimants struggling with alcohol problems, while £79.4m went to nearly 17,000 drug addicts.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling told the newspapers that the figures meant that the government’s welfare reform programme.

He said: “We will no longer tolerate a situation where people can be left stranded on benefits for years without anyone challenging them to see if they could get back to work.”

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