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The People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA): Further Evidence
This is We Are Spartacus 2nd people's review of the WCA. In it, they cover the following:
- Principal issues
- Introduction to the Work Capability Assessment
- Policy development
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Annual reviews of ESA and the WCA
- The Reality
- Deaths and Suicides
- Accounts from MPs
- Accounts from Advisers
- The experience of sick and disabled people
- Views expressed by medical and other professionals
- Opinions from public bodies
- Views expressed by Church leaders
- Views expressed by charities and Disabled People’s Organisations
- Policy context
- The UK’s human rights obligations under UN conventions
- Monitoring of standards
- The Financial cost of the WCA
- Contractual and audit issues
- Work-related obligations and sanctions
- Training of WCA Assessors
- Progress on the Audio Recording of Assessments
- The long-delayed “Gold Standard” Evidence Based Review
- Court of Appeal rules the WCA is discriminatory
Independent living – what exactly is it?
Our former Chief Executive, Lorraine Gradwell, has contributed this blog to the new Independent Living Debate website. She gives an overview of the meaning of independent living, with some background, whilst also stressing the need for simplicity:
"And here is the key, I believe: large (and small) institutions (and therefore also the undoubtedly clever and committed people who work in them) can get so tied up in implementing and tweaking the latest processes, that they can overlook the objective - namely independent living. And to get back to the simplicity notion, at the end of the day what independent living is about is autonomy, about being in charge of our own lives, making our own decisions, and yes – taking our own risks. And this means in all areas of our lives, not just the ‘care’ element."
What price independent lives?
This new report from Habinteg aims to begin to demonstrate the cumulative impact of benefit cuts on disabled people. Based on a detailed analysis of their tenancy data, and featuring tenant’s personal experiences, 'What price independent lives?' shows how the combined effect of a range of benefit cuts is threatening disabled people’s independent living. Key findings include:
- Two-thirds of Habinteg tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people and of these, after six months of the new rules being in place, only a third had been exempted from paying by local authorities.
- Only 15% of tenants who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) but live in general needs properties have been given bedroom tax exempt status – and may be further impacted by reduced income when tested for eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
- The localised criteria for bedroom tax exemption have created a new postcode lottery for disabled people, reinforcing the barriers disabled people face if they want to move.
- Many disabled people are being refused DHP support and tenants in similar circumstances are being treated entirely differently depending on where they live.
Court of Appeal Agrees that Work Capability Assesments are Discriminatory
The Court of Appeal have upheld an earlier judgement that the Work Capability Assessment - for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance - does not work properly for people with mental health conditions, people wth autism and learning disabled people.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) gave expert advice in discrimination law as a third party, following an earlier finding by the Upper Tribunal that people with mental health impairments were put at substantial disadvantage by the assessment process for Employment Support Allowance.
The Department for Work and Pensions appealed against this, but the Court of Appeal agreed with most of the earlier findings of the Upper Tribunal, especially that the process was unfair and discriminates against people with mental health conditions. The EHRC said:
"The Commission told the court that the law required the Department to anticipate the extra assistance that a disabled person may require during the assessment process. It said assessors should automatically seek further evidence for all people with such conditions from the outset, , such as obtaining their GP or consultant’s view, rather than doing so only in limited circumstances."
Campaigners have asked for the test to stop until the process is fixed.
For more on this, see:
Access to Advocacy Survey
We have been asked to publicise this survey:
"Research has highlighted that the absence of advocacy support is a key barrier to enabling disabled people to fulfil their potential.
The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) has commissioned the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) to conduct some research to look at what needs to be done so that disabled people can have access to joined-up advocacy services to enable work, education, independence and participation in wider society.
As part of this research we want to hear from organisations that provide advocacy services to find out more about the types of advocacy provided, gaps in provision and examples of good practice. We would be grateful if you could help us by completing this survey (which should take around 15 minutes), by Friday 19th December. If you are happy to help, please follow this link:
Completing this survey will help to ensure the ODI knows what is happening in the advocacy sector and gives you as an advocacy provider, a chance to have your voice heard.
If you require the survey in an alternative format, if you would like to complete it over the phone, or if you have any other questions about the survey, please contact Naomi Harflett, Researcher at NDTi at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for your help.
National Development Team for Inclusion"
"Social variations in disability prevalence"
This set of statistics from the Office for National Statistics shows the different levels of reported impairment by occupation type.
In the 2011 Census, people were asked to say whether their day to day activities were 'limited a lot', 'limited a little' or 'not limited'. Their data reveals that more than twice as many people in so called 'routine occupations' reported experiencing a limitation than those in higher managerial or professional occupations. There were also significant regional differences: