Three quarters of incapacity claimants ruled capable of some form of work after Atos tests
Wednesday 07 November 2012
More than a third of people going through the controversial incapacity benefit reassessment have been found to be fit for work, new figures published today show.
Of the 139,200 people reassessed between December 2011 and February 2012, 36 per cent were found fit for work, transferred onto the less generous jobseekers allowance and must now look for a job.
Just under two thirds of people who were claiming the old incapacity benefit were found to be eligible for the new Employment and Support Allowance.
However, a further 39 per cent were judged to be capable of work in the future. They were put in the Work Related Activity Group, meaning they are currently too ill or disabled to work and entitled to the benefit, but will be expected to take steps towards an eventual return to work.
Only one in four of those reassessed were allocated to the support group where they get unconditional support as they are too ill or disabled to work.
Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said: “The old incapacity benefit system condemned too many people to a life on benefits without any hope of ever going back to work. This was simply wrong. By reassessing everyone for ESA we can help thousands of people move from benefits and back into work if they are capable while giving unconditional support to those who need it.”
It is estimated that a total of 1.5 million people will undergo reassessment by 2014. The process is now over halfway through and is on schedule.
Charities have voiced concern that the test for people on incapacity benefit, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), is unfair. The test is carried out by the French healthcare firm Atos to determine whether claimants are “fit to work”.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope said: “The latest figures released showing the number of people found ‘fit for work’ need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
“There remains an alarming dossier of evidence that the Work Capability Assessment is a deeply flawed test.
“Factoring in successful appeals would significantly lower the number of people found ‘fit for work’.
“Many disabled people want to work but they face a host of barriers when it comes to finding a job.
“The Government’s fitness-for-work test should be the starting point for giving disabled people the support they need. But the flawed test means thousands are still not receiving the support they need to genuinely find a job in this challenging economic climate.”
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.”
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...