Call To Halt Fitness-For-Work Test For Disabled People As Court Upholds Ruling

This article titled “Call to halt fitness-for-work test for disabled people as court upholds ruling” was written by Amelia Gentleman, for on Thursday 5th December 2013 12.28 UTC

The fitness-for-work test used to determine whether hundreds of thousands of disabled people are eligible to claim sickness benefits puts people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and autism at a disadvantage, the court of appeal has found, upholding an earlier ruling that had been challenged by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Three charities – Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society – welcomed the judgment and called for the government to stop using the “flawed assessment” immediately until this problem was fixed.

“The judges in the original ruling independently confirmed what our members and supporters have been saying for years – the system is unfair for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and is failing the very people it is meant to be supporting,” the three charities said in a statement after the ruling on Wednesday.

“It’s fantastic that the court of appeal has upheld this judgment … It would be irresponsible for the DWP to carry on using these flawed assessments as they are. They must halt the mass reassessment of people receiving incapacity benefit immediately, until the process is fixed.”

Two anonymous claimants initiated a judicial review into the fairness of the work capability assessment (WCA) earlier this year; this review will continue unless the government launches a further appeal.

The DWP said “significant improvements” were being made to WCA and that the court’s decision would not trigger a pause in assessments.

“It is a complicated judgment on an appeal against an interim judgment by the upper tribunal, with no effect on day-to-day business, which continues as usual,” a spokesman said.


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