Over a million sickness benefit applicants found to be â€˜fit for work'
Figures by the Department for Work and Pensions found that a million people who applied for sickness benefit were fit for work.
The DWP claims that 980,400 people were judged capable of work between 2008 and March 2013; 32% of new applicants for Employment and Support Allowance. Over a million others withdrew their claims after interviews.
Disability campaigners have said that the work tests were “ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair”. A spokesman for Disability Rights UK has said that many of those passed fit will not be capable of entering the workplace due to physical or mental health problems. “They are finding people fit for work when they aren’t and they are not even giving them the support they need to get a job. It is a disgrace,” he told BBC News.
Work Capability Assessments aims to judge how a person’s condition limits their ability to work, rather than discussing how eligible for benefits one may be due to a certain impairment.
Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said: “As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, it is only fair that we look at whether people can do some kind of work with the right support – rather than just writing them off on long-term sickness benefits, as has happened in the past. With the right support, many people with an illness, health condition or disability can still fulfil their aspiration to get or stay in work, allowing them to provide for themselves and their family.”
The DWP says that people who withdrew their claim after face-to-face interviews with officials returned to work, recovered or claimed a benefit “more appropriate to their situation.”
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