The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that US firm Maximus will take over the contract to deliver the Work Capability Assessment from the current provider, Atos Healthcare. The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the process used to determine eligibility for the disability benefit, Employment and Support Allowance.
Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:
“We hope that the appointment of a new provider to carry out Work Capability Assessments will be used as an opportunity to make much needed improvements. The assessment process continues to cause a great deal of distress for people with mental health problems and often fails to recognise the impact of people’s conditions on their ability to work. We have long been calling for assessors with expertise in mental health, and greater use of evidence from professionals who knows the applicant best."
“However, the WCA needs to be understood in the context of a wider benefits system that is failing people with mental health problems. Only a tiny proportion of people with mental health problems are moving into employment through this process, and actually many people find the pressure placed on them is making their health worse and a return to work less likely. We still need to see a complete overhaul of the system and a more personalised approach which helps people with mental health problems move closer to work and continues to provide ongoing support once they’re in work.”
This announcement was originally reported by the BBC and has since been confirmed by the DWP