‘Humiliation’ of work capability assessment

Claimants have described their experiences of the work capability assessment in a report produced by the campaign group We Are Spartacus. The report provides real-life accounts of the way 70 claimants were 'wrongly assessed, humiliated, badly treated' and forced to go to a tribunal to secure the benefits to which they were legally entitled.

The work capability assessment was introduced in 2008 to determine entitlement to employment and support allowance. Claimants going through the assessment have to satisfy the DWP they have a limited capability for work.

Key points

  • The assessment is 'unreliable and unhelpful', as well as being 'arbitrary and cruel'.
  • The assessment challenges the professional responsibilities and discretion of doctors and other medical staff.
  • Operation of the system is contracted out to a multi-national corporation (Atos) with a record of repeated incompetence.
  • 40 per cent of cases are overturned on appeal.
  • All those involved – doctors, Atos and the DWP itself – disclaim responsibility for the outcome of the process. This is a 'perfect storm' of irresponsibility and unaccountability.

Summarising the report, the campaign group describe the work capability assessment as 'essentially abusive, demeaning and not fit for purpose'.

SourceThe People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment, We Are Spartacus
LinksReport | Guardian report

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