Mickey Brady: ‘Fit For Work test not fit for purpose’
The British government should suspend the assessment process until such time as the Work Capability Assessment can be shown to be fit for purpose, according to Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady. Speaking to Newry Times, Brady said, “In light of a recent report which revealed an appalling record of failure by Atos, the company paid to carry out ‘fit for work’ tests on those currently in receipt of Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance, I am calling on the British government to suspend the reassessment process until such time as the Work Capability Assessment is shown to be fit for purpose.”
He added, “Systems failures are notoriously costly to the taxpayer, when that failure also involves the infliction of unnecessary distress onto some of the most vulnerable people within our community, it is doubly incumbent on those responsible to do something about it.”
The study was carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau, “Right First Time” and published last week. The CAB was concerned about the accuracy of the WCA test carried out by Atos to determine eligibility for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the benefits replacing Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.
The CAB became concerned after receiving hundreds of thousands of inquiries about the WCA, with many questioning the accuracy of the test. Inaccuracies were creating huge difficulties for thousands of ill and disabled people who were being declared ‘fit for work’ despite the serious nature of their condition. Thousands of people appealed the WCA decisions that had thrown them off benefit. Of those overturned on appeal, 60% involved cases where the claimant had originally been awarded no points by the WCA.
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