Disabled fear 'pencil test' to claim benefits

Jonathan Brown
Friday 01 April 2011 00:00 BST

Disabled people are "living in fear" as they await new tests to determine whether they are fit enough to work, a charity says.

The work capability assessment (WCA) is being rolled out nationwide on Monday after pilot studies found that up to two-thirds of those claiming incapacity benefit could potentially work in some form, saving the country an estimated £2bn over five years.

The first of 1.6 million people selected for the 45-minute test – which asks, among other things, whether they are capable of lifting a pencil or turning a tap, will be told to attend interviews. Those who fail the points-based test will switch to the lower jobseeker's allowance of £65.45 a week.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, the cerebral palsy charity, said: "If Government is serious about getting disabled people into work, and not just off incapacity benefit, they need to introduce [a test] that... enables people to access the right support, so they can get the job they want and deserve."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in