Work Capability Assessment

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the test designed and used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the United Kingdom to determine the entitlement of disabled welfare claimants to Employment and Support Allowance. Atos Healthcare, part of the multinational company Atos, will continue to conduct this highly controversial disability assessment until March 2015. The test has been criticised for the high proportion of those tested being found ‘fit for work’…

Over the summer, it emerged that there was a growing backlog of hundreds of thousands of ESA claims.  At the end of October, the DWP announced that the US firm Maximus would take over the WCA contract from Atos – but not until March 2015, only five months short of the planned termination date of the five year Atos contract…

A government study published in 2012 found that one-half of the people identified as “fit for work” by the Work Capability Assessment in the UK, remained unemployed and without income…

Government statistics reveal that between January 2010 and January 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of being assessed. Government statistics also revealed that of those who had been put into the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ (which prepares claimants for future work), 1300 died within 6 weeks. Critics of ATOS allege that the number of deaths is far greater. In mid-January 2012, there was a significant scandal as media were alerted to the fact that the WCA had found a man in a coma to be ‘fit for work’.

Work Capability Assessments have found patients with brain damage, terminal cancer, severe multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease to be fit for work. On 24 April 2013, a woman who was a double heart and lung transplant patient died in her hospital bed only days after she was told, after a Work Capability Assessment, that her allowance was being stopped and that she was fit for work…

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