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UK: Disability test comes under fire from claimants

Posted 10/3-11 at 15.19

At a public meeting in Burnley, Lancashire, MPs on the Pensions Select Committee heard from people who took part in a pilot of the new Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This is used to determine whether a person can work or if their impairments or illness is serious enough to qualify them for benefit.

Participants' evidence was unanimously negative on every aspect of the WCA.

One person reported, "I felt it was assumed that I was lying. It was more like a police officer cross-questioning a suspected offender than someone looking at my health and welfare and mental condition." "

My wife scored zero points," another said. "The test was a total waste of time; it was all physically orientated, nothing about her mental state. ... It was overthrown at tribunal. I can only describe it as mental torture; she was a mental wreck after it."

Although it is claimed that the WCA had been introduced to root out the workshy, a spokesperson, from the local Citizens Advice Bureau argued that the test was not fit for purpose, frequently declaring people with serious health conditions fit for work. He pointed out that 80% of those they supported at appeal tribunals had their WCA result overturned.

After the meeting, Dame Anne Begg, the chair of the committee, said she saw serious problems with the WCA and felt its implementation needed be slowed down.




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