Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Work Capability Assessment

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which was introduced in 2008 is the primary assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, the main social security payment for ill and disabled people. In the above documentary advocates, lawyers and claimants outline the fundamental problems with the (WCA), and the adverse effects it has on claimants. They show how the WCA fails the disabled and fails on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) terms; it can worsen people’s health and does not help them return to work. The WCA is carried out by private companies (initially Atos now Maximus). Although some assessments can be carried out smoothly and professionally, others are in buildings that do not have disabled access, require people in pain to sit for hours on hard chairs, and are carried out by cold or even cruel assessors.
The film director Ken Loach  made a film "I Daniel Blake'  to show the harsh reality of applying for benefits .This month  the government plans to cut the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for ill or disabled claimants who are judged to be able to work in the future.The allowance will be reduced by a third to £73.10 per week, the same as Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is designed to give an incentive to disabled people to find work.
Ken Loach says the most vulnerable are being targeted by the new 'benefit reform'.His film "I Daniel Blake' followed two benefits claimants plunged into poverty.The Department of Work and Pensions says, "Our welfare reforms are increasing the support and incentives for people who move into work, while keeping an important safety net in place for those who need it." yet many people who rely on it, in their time of need find it degrading and cruel, and reducing disabled and vulnerable peoples incomes even further is only going to make life harder.
Legal advocates say the assessment system for benefits is getting to many decisions wrong, forcing thousands of claimants to go to court.More than 1,600 complaints have been made against nurses carrying out fit-for-work assessments in the last five years.Read more at
These crude tests have caused horrifying suffering and led to homelessness, ill health , despair and tragically even suicides as people with serious health conditions are found fit for work and left without enough money to eat or keep the heating. There is also evidence that these tests have caused relapses in  claimants who also happen to be patients with serious mental health conditions. People witl long term mental health issues get very distressed about being assessed, because they don’t feel they are being listened to in their interviews or treated as  even as human, just as another tick on a box.There are also cases  of claimants who can barely leave their homes due to anxiety, depression, PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] or obsessive compulsive disorder being deemed fit for work and therefore having their benefits cut or removed, as a result there have been many reported cases of people relapsing as a consequence of getting distressed
Debbie Abrahams, the Shadow Work and Pensions Minister says 'it's a punitive system designed to get people off benefits, even if it has the effect of making people feel they have no choice but to take their own life'.The Work Capability Assessment is totally inhumane for people with invisible, but well documented mental health issues, especially for people with a factual  history recognised by their Consultants and General Practitioners.
It’s important to acknowledge that there are many people  who simply cannot work, and to force them through degrading assessments is simply appalling.I personally live in a state of fear and anxiety , just waiting to see if a brown  letter will  arrive, ordering me for re-asseesment. It is of many peoples opinion that  the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), no matter how much it may have been rejigged and  re-designed, is deeply flawed and  is simply not fit for purpose, and that no-one has any faith in it because of the appalling damage already inflicted on so many vulnerable claimants across the land. Many also  believe it needs to be scrapped, but the Tory's with no soul would never agree to this, and will probably as I write be thinking up more draconian measures, in which to inflict their brand of conscious cruelty.
The people who made the above video would like to thank everyone who their time to talk about the WCA. Some people have requested anonymity, therefore they have either used their voice only or got actors to record what they said (a lot of claimants are scared of the DWP).

(Music: )

Here is a link to Disabled People Against Cuts Website ( a very valuable resource ):- 

This post is dedicated to all those who are suffering , have suffered and those who have died whilst going through this inhumane process. 

1 comment:

  1. it's not a brown envelope any more - I've just received a white one... formto fill in...then the long wait to find out if face to face assessment will happen...and then...and then...
    My main "disability" is not covered by any of the questions.
    anxiety not a useful thing to be running around my body...