MORE than 500 Barnsley residents will be told this week that they will no longer be eligible to claim Employment Support Allowance.

Some 530 Barnsley residents will join the 92,000 people nationwide receiving letters from the government this week, stating the benefit will stop from Spring next year.

A Barnsley Council spokesman explained: "This is not because their health has improved, but because new restrictions on the time a person is entitled to contributory based Employment Support Allowance is being introduced from the spring of 2012.

"As part of the Government's reform of the social security system, people in receipt of contributory Employment Support Allowance – Work Related Activity Group - will have their benefit stopped after they have received it for 12 months.

"For people with no other income, or whose income is too low, means-tested benefit will be offered.  For many people with an alternative income or higher rates of savings this could mean that they lose entitlement to benefit all together."

The council will be offering advice through its Welfare Rights Service (772360) - only those who get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions need to be concerned.