MS Society responds to fitness for work announcements
A major independent review was published yesterday on the Work Capability Assessment – the test designed and used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to determine the entitlement of disabled welfare claimants to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).The Government’s appointed Independent Reviewer Paul Litchfield, released his final report recommending a series of changes to improve the process.
Meanwhile, the Government has outlined its plans for action in relation to harsh criticisms made by the Work and Pensions Select Committee earlier this year.
A flawed system
We believe the assessment process is deeply flawed and is failing disabled people, with devastating consequences.
Claire Nurden, Senior Policy Officer at the MS Society and Co-Chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, said:
“Wrong decisions can mean people are left with little or no support at all, in some cases struggling to pay for their homes and basic essentials like food and heating”.
“Significant changes need to be made urgently to stop disabled people suffering at the hands of the process as it currently stands. The test has to be more than a box-ticking approach and properly recognise the barriers many disabled people face in getting and staying in work.
“As things stand, this will be the last opportunity to shine a light on this broken test. Government should be committing to further independent reviews to monitor the impact of the test on hundreds of thousands of disabled people. All political parties must explain how they will improve the test if elected next year.”
The MS Society is part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) – a national coalition of over 50 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system.
Using our combined knowledge, experience and direct contact with millions of disabled individuals and carers, we seek to ensure Government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people.
We are working with the DBC to push the government for improvements to the WCA.
If you would like further information on this issue, we will be producing detailed analysis of the announcements on our Campaigns blog.