Work Capability Assessment still not up to the job
Posted Thursday 10 February 2011
Today the Government publishes new regulations aimed at improving the reassessment process for those who currently claim incapacity benefit but leading mental health charity Mind fears that the Work Capability Assessment remains unfit for purpose and will have a detrimental impact on people with mental health problems1.
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
We have long had grave concerns about the suitability of the Work Capability Assessment. It is not a fair or effective tool to determine whether or not someone with mental health problems is capable of working and early indicators are that many people found fit for work under the assessment later appeal and win.
We fear that the new regulations set out today by the Government will not improve this system and could actually make the process worse for people with mental health problems. It reduces the number of descriptors for mental health by a third which will make it even harder for people to be accurately assessed. The test needs to be more sophisticated not simplified to reflect the very individual impact that someone’s mental health can have on their ability to work.
Mind, together with the National Autistic Society and Mencap has already been tasked with developing proposals to improve the WCA and have been urging the Government to wait for this guidance before pushing people through a flawed test. In addition, there will also be the results of the revised WCA pilots being run in Burnley and Aberdeen which must be taken into account. Making changes to the regulations at this time is taking one step forward and two steps back.
Millions of people stand to be affected by these reassessments so it’s vital that the Government gets this right. There is a great deal of apprehension about this process and for people with mental health problems this anxiety can have a devastating impact on their health.
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. www.mind.org.uk
For more information, interviews or case studies please contact the Mind media team on:
T: 020 8522 1743
M: 07850 788514
ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817
Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.