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What do you think of the Work Capability Assessment?

Consultation on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)

People who make new claims for benefits because of impairment or illness are assessed using the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Do you have information - personally or through your group - about the way that that assessment is working?  For example, is it accurate and consistent? How could it be improved? The DWP apparently expected about half of claimants to be found fit for work, so why is it that, in practice, about two-thirds have been classed in that way?

Until September there is an independent check in progress on the operation of the WCA , and they want your information or opinion.

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the test that is used when people apply for Employment and Support Allowance (the benefit that replaced Incapacity Benefit and other benefits) for new claims in 2008. The assessment It is carried out by private contractor (ATOS Healthcare) for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Prior to the launch of ESA, the expectation was that around 50% of claimants undertaking the WCA would be found fit for work. Since the launch, around 66% of people have been found fit for work.

The law that brought in the ESA also required the government to carry out an independent review and Professor Malcolm Harrington has been asked to do this  He is now asking  for evidence for his report which will go to Parliament later this year (though there is no legal requirement for DWP to act on any of the recommendations). Consultation started in July and continues until September 10th. 

Further details, including the exact questions that the review is considering, and how to make your response , are on the DWP website:

WCA Independent Review, The Work Capability Assessment: a call for evidence, July 2010

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-cap-ass-call-for-evidence.pdf