Fitness to work test DOES disadvantage mentally ill: Court of Appeal upholds ruling against Government

Hundreds of thousands of people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and autism have to go through the Work Capability Assesment to find out if they are eligible for Employment Support Allowance

Social Affairs Correspondent

The Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that the Government's controversial fitness to work test does disadvantage people with mental health problems.

An Upper Tribunal decided in May that the test used by the Department for Work and Pensions to decide who receives disability benefits disadvantaged people whose conditions affected their ability to gather evidence about their case. The decision was immediately appealed by DWP.

Hundreds of thousands of people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and autism have to go through the Work Capability Assesment to find out if they are eligible for Employment Support Allowance.

The case was originally brought by two anonymous claimants with mental health problems. Their lawyers argue that their conditions make the necessary gathering evidence from GPs or social workers more challenging, as they may not understand or be able to navigate the complex processes involved.

The Court of Appeal decision means a judicial review can now be brought against the policy, unless DWP take the matter to the Supreme Court.

In a joint statement Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society, the charities which brought the case, said: “Today’s ruling is a victory for welfare campaigners and marks an important step in our fight for a fairer benefits system.

“The judges in the original ruling independently confirmed what our members and supporters have been saying for years – the system is unfair for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and is failing the very people it is meant to be supporting.

They added: “In light of today’s ruling it would be irresponsible for the DWP to carry on using these flawed assessments as they are. They must halt the mass reassessment of people receiving incapacity benefit immediately, until the process is fixed.“

A DWP spokesman said: “It is a complicated judgment on an appeal against an interim judgment by the Upper Tribunal with no effect on day-to-day business which continues as usual.

“This case is still on-going and will return to the Upper Tribunal to consider whether the adjustment to the process proposed by the claimants is reasonable.”

The department also pointed out that Mental Health Function Champions have been introduced by Atos Healthcare, the controversial company conducting the tests, whose role is to advise assessment staff on how to deal with a case involving mental function or learning disability.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map