Age Concern has said it fears that the government's Pathways to Work scheme is failing older people.
The initiative is designed to get incapacity claimants back to work in a bid to cut spending by £7 billion.
However, Age Concern England's director-general, Gordon Lishman, believes that the new scheme is offering little benefit to the elderly.
"While we welcome the Pathways to Work initiative, early indications show that it is much less effective for people over 50, compared to other age groups.
"Ensuring older people are helped back to work is vital for the health of the economy. Older people have a huge contribution to make. Yet almost a million people over 50 who want to work cannot, at a cost to the UK economy of around £30 billion each year."
He added that it was vital that the stipulations placed on people finding employment are sufficiently flexible to take account of individual cases.
"Older people who are genuinely unable to take part in this employment scheme, must not be penalised," he insisted.