New ‘fit for work’ figures
Posted Tuesday 6 November 2012
New statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) released today show the impact of reassessment from the original incapacity benefits onto the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The figures reveal that one third of claimants who have been put through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) have been told they are 'Fit for Work'.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:
We believe the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is deeply flawed and unsuitable in determining whether people with mental health problems are ready for work.
Many people who have been reassessed may have been wrongly declared ‘Fit for Work’.
These people will now be expected to look for work under the threat of sanctions, which may be totally inappropriate.
The statistics also show that 40 per cent of those reassessed were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), meaning they will have to take steps to get closer to work, while 25 per cent of claimants were placed in the Support Group, where they will get unconditional support.
Paul Farmer commented:
Whilst we support the idea of people with mental health problems receiving additional support to return to work, we are concerned they will be subject to strict conditionality, under the threat of losing the benefit they so desperately need.
This pressure often exacerbates people’s mental health problems and pushes them further from work rather than closer to it.
The statistics did not include data about how many people had appealed their ‘Fit for Work’ decision and how many of these appeals have been successful.
We are concerned that the DWP has omitted data appeals as this would be a key indicator of how well the system is working.
What is evident though, by comparing these figures to those released in March, is that many people are successfully overturning 'Fit for Work' decisions, signifying that the system is failing far too often.
Notes to Editors
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