Three quarters of incapacity claimants ruled capable of some form of work after Atos tests

 

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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas