Work Capability Assessment to be scrapped for benefit claimants. But what will replace it?

Uncannily accurate: The Conservative government’s genuine policy towards PIP claimants may as well have been as it appears in this cartoon from 2017. But what will replace the assessment system it satirises?

I should be pleased.

This Site has campaigned against the Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits, practically since I started publishing it at the end of 2011.

In my opinion, it has been misused, as a tool to force people who are too ill to work onto job-seeking benefits that carry sanctions if a claimant fails to carry out particular tasks – tasks which the long-term sick and disabled are often clearly incapable of doing.

In many cases, the results have been fatal. I know this because it took me two years to force the Department for Work and Pensions to release figures showing that 2,400 people died within a limited period (two weeks) after being found fit for work, between dates in 2011 and 2014.

That’s right – these people had been found fit to go to work by this hopelessly flawed tick-box assessment system, and then they had proven themselves to be nothing of the sort.

And the Tory government carried on as though nothing was wrong.

I also have personal experience of the system’s flaws. After my partner – Mrs Mike; remember her? – was wrongly put in the work-related activity group for Employment and Support Allowance, she appealed in the hope of being relocated to the support group.

Instead, whoever received her letter slapped a “Do Not Contact” tag on her file for no discernible reason and allowed her claim to end after 12 months, while she waited – in considerable confusion and distress – for a response that was never going to come.

Fortunately, I was around to kick up a stink and get the situation sorted out. But that just highlights the fact that many thousands of people don’t have that kind of help at hand.

And now, we’re told, the Work Capability Assessment is to be scrapped.

But we’re not being told what will replace it.

This Independent article has comments from a couple of organisations that have a stake in what happens:

Trades Union Congress general secretary Paul Novak [said:] “Scrapping the work capability assessment will be welcome if it means an end to assessments that cause anxiety instead of helping people achieve their aspirations,” he added, while urging greater investment in public services to get people off NHS waiting lists and reduce barriers to training.

James Taylor of the disability equality charity Scope said axing the assessment was “the minimum change needed to even begin improving a welfare system that regularly fails disabled people”, and stressed the need for “a more person-centred system” offering “specialist, tailored and flexible” support.

“Those that want to work should be supported. But for some, that’s not an option and disabled people shouldn’t be forced into unsuitable work,” he said. “There is a lot of work to do for the government to restore trust in our benefits system.”

Notice that they both mentioned ways of getting more people back into work; this is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s aim with the changes to the benefit system.

And that’s why I fear for the future of sickness and disability benefits in the UK.

I think the odious Hunt is planning another push to put sick people into jobs they can’t do. If I’m right, his plan will fail on many levels.


  1. jg March 13, 2023 at 1:35 am - Reply

    The problem with any of this is that they have sowed a pattern of mistrust, scrapping a system that was costing way to much, being left in the hands of companies who’s greed/procedures created the barhams of the world, took trained nhs staff out of the system and to be honest even if they go back into the system, they will need to be re-trained, take safeguarding as a example three times the same assessor asked a person if they self harmed, the first answer was sufficient, they were told quite bluntly not to ask the question again, retrospect a assessor gave someone with dementia zero points, safe to cook and go out alone, so whatever they do the question is can you trust them, if the answer is no, then arms lenght.

  2. Jeffrey Davies March 13, 2023 at 10:23 am - Reply

    But remember in all this atos nurses who took your points away while asking their unions is it right for nurses to do this well their reply was stinky but this government has learned that the sick disabled are fighting back against this and now mes thinks they learned to so are we now going to see another Trojan that works better than this one they are closing you bet so be very very worried would eye jeff3

  3. nora roustamov March 13, 2023 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    brilliant news

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