People suffering from incurable conditions are being forced to undergo multiple checks in order to retain their benefits or be declared as fit for work.
The government say the scheme helps weed out cheats, but the Department of Work and Pensions are asking people with incurable, life-threatening conditions to undergo multiple checks in order to keep benefits.
New figures reveal that 18,450 cancer sufferers have had to undergo multiple tests between October 2008 and February this year.
Another 2320 people with multiple sclerosis have been through repeated work capability assessments as well as hundreds of others with Parkinson’s and dementia.
Although not all the tests involved face-to-face assessments, it is an unnecessary stress on someone who is already going through a difficult time and have been assessed by their doctor as still suffering the same condition.
Tom Greatrex, an MP who has campaigned for reform of the fitness to work test, said:
People suffering from illnesses like cancer and dementia are having to go through this process over and over again.
If someone with an incurable and progressive condition like Parkinson’s isn’t fit to work after the first test, where is the sense in assessing them again?
At a time in their lives when sick and disabled people need to be supported by the government, they are actually being hounded in the cruellest way.
Elspeth Atkinson, director of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
We need the benefits system and the NHS to work more closely to stop repeat assessments of people who are clearly unable to work during their illness.
Becky Duff, of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said:
The Work Capability Assessment is particularly inappropriate for people with complex and fluctuating long-term conditions like MS. It produces huge numbers of incorrect decisions, and has denied many people vital support.
Kirsty Yanik, awareness manager at Alzheimer Scotland, said:
The change from the former benefit structure to this new system can be particularly confusing for people with dementia. They are likely to struggle with some of the administrative procedures.
A DWP spokeswoman said:
Individuals with conditions where a return to work is unlikely will only be reassessed after two years and, where possible, this assessment will be paper-based.
Source: Daily Record