The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking evidence about the effectiveness of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and where further improvement is needed. Doctor Paul Litchfield has been tasked with carrying out the Fourth Independent Review of the WCA, which closes for comments at the end of this month.
The Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) began in October 2008 and is a benefit for disabled people and people with a health condition who are finding it difficult to work. The WCA is the key process used to screen claimants' who apply for the benefit. During the WCA claimants are asked to undergo a series of tests to determine whether they should be awarded the benefit and placed into the ESA Support Group, the Work Related Activity Group (and make preparations to return to work), or be deemed fit for work and denied access to ESA financial support.
There have been three reviews of the WCA so far, which were carried out by Professor Harrington between 2010 and 2012. Previous reviews have made a number of key recommendations for improvements, which have been implemented by DWP. These include a new section for the claimant to express the issues they face with a personalised justification as part of the ESA50 questionnaire and improved training has been introduced for Atos Healthcare Professionals and DWP Decision Makers. This is therefore a great opportunity to improve the assessment process for people with rheumatoid arthritis and attempt to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.
Help change policy!
Have you had one or more WCAs in order to qualify for the ESA benefit in the past three years? If so, then NRAS needs to hear from you.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll tell you how you can help the campaign. The sooner you get in touch the better as the consultation ends on Tuesday 27 August.
Many thanks in advance for your help.