In January 2006 New Labour published a Green Paper on welfare reform, A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work. Following a consultation period the 2006 Welfare Reform Bill was published in July 2006. The main concern of the Green Paper was with Incapacity Benefit and the people who claim it. This paper critically engages with the proposals outlined in the Green Paper and the subsequent Bill. Focusing upon the social security and labour market interventions of the proposals, the paper argues that rather than empowering disabled people to work, the relationships held to exist between welfare reform and paid employment in A new deal for welfare are likely to have a limited impact. The paper discusses why this is likely to be the case by examining assumptions contained in the proposals related to the reasons why people claim Incapacity Benefit, the model of disability that structures the proposals and the relationships between disability, paid work and models of family structure that the proposals presuppose.