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We agree with Dick @Rethink_ #unfairWCA: the Work Capability Assessment is unfair for people with Mental Health problems

by on July 3, 2013
Petition to Iain Duncan-Smith: We call on you to stop re-assessments for people with mental health problems until your fit-for-work test is fixed.

Petition to Iain Duncan-Smith: We call on you to stop re-assessments for people with mental health problems until your fit-for-work test is fixed.

IF YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH IT you’ll know what we’re talking about: the Work Capability Assessment. The clue is in the name: it’s a test used by the DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) to decide who is fit for work; and it’s a test that’s been found wanting under judicial review as unfair for people with mental health problems. But it’s still in use, with no effective steps yet taken by the DWP to address that unfairness. [1]

The problem with the test is that those taking it are expected to gather their own evidence in support of their case — which is fine if you’re capable; but if you’re incapacitated by mental illness? In the words of Rethink, “It’s like asking someone in a wheelchair to walk to the assessment centre.”

Dick Acworth is a man who knows from experience just how unfair the WCA is after seeing his own son, who has bipolar disorder, face it — not once but twice, despite an appeal result that threw out the first assessment! Dick’s son was fortunate: his parents were there to fight for him and eventually the DWP backed down, acknowledging a breakdown in communications:

Eventually the DWP called me to apologise for what had happened – it seems there had been a problem with communication between departments. But if my son didn’t have parents to support him, I don’t know what he would have done – he might have thought he’d have to go through the whole thing again, or he might have simply given up like so many seem to.

Not everyone has their parents or a close network of supportive friends on standby, and that’s one of the reasons Dick has now launched a petition to Iain Duncan-Smith at the DWP calling upon him “to stop re-assessments for people with mental health problems until your fit-for-work test is fixed.”

Here at 5 Quid for Life, we agree with Dick. We believe the WCA is not fit for purpose: it’s the WCA itself that needs to be reassessed; and we’ve signed Dick’s petition. We’re asking you to sign it too: please join us in calling upon Iain Duncan-Smith to reassess his department’s assessment test; and to suspend it until it is fit for purpose.

Thank you.

Please sign the Petition: www.iagreewithdick.org


Notes

1. A call for evidence for the Fourth independent review into the Work Capability Assessment was launched on 1st July 2013. According to the DWP press release, “Over 40 recommendations have been, or are being, implemented including … introducing 60 mental health champions into assessment centres to provide advice to Atos healthcare professionals”. We have yet to see any evidence of the presence of these “mental health champions” or their influence, but we stand ready to be corrected: if you know better, please tell us!

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