This is the test run by Atos which is used to find people ‘fit for work’ and stop their sickness or disability benefits. It is mired in chaos with a huge backlog of appeals and an ever growing number of tragic deaths linked to the process. Even Atos themselves are pulling out of the assessments after fierce campaigning saw their carefully managed corporate identity demolished due to their involvement in the cruel and bungled system.
The WCA has also had its share of legal problems after a Judicial Review last year ruled the assessments are unlawful under the Equalities Act for those with a mental health condition. Rather than accept this defeat and improve or scrap the tests for this group of claimants – or better still everybody - Iain Duncan Smith appealed this decision and lost. During the time this took many people will have seen their mental health worsen, been admitted to hospital or even taken their own life due to being forced to undergo assessments which are not suitable for their condition.
Next week’s court case will largely be about what amendments can be made to make the WCA legal. As Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) explain:
“Under the Equalities Act of 2010, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required to make “reasonable adjustments” to mitigate any disadvantages experienced by disabled people. The forthcoming hearing will be concerned with establishing what adjustments the DWP should make to the WCA process. We already know from the original hearing that they plan to run a pilot study to assess the “reasonableness” of obtaining further medical evidence. We want to ensure that any study will be fair, honest and approached with an open mind. Unfortunately we find it hard to trust that this will happen.”
A vigil called by MHRN and supported by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) will be held outside the court next week on Tuesday, 8th July 2014 at 12 noon to 2 pm. Head to the Royal Court of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL. Full details at: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/07/vigil-for-the-wca-judicial-review-tues-8th-july/
MHRN say they have been too cautious about publicising this important victory. Sometime people have been working so hard for so long that they don’t even see when or what they’ve won. But the Work Capability Assessment – introduced by Labour and which looked unbreakable at the time the current government weren’t elected – is beginning to look broken. That didn’t happen by accident. It happened because disabled people and benefit claimants have fought these vicious assessments in the courts, on the internet and in the streets.
The real opposition to this Government has not been the Labour Party, the unions , charities or even the growing range of celebrity left-wimgers. It has been people who are disabled, sick, carers or people on their own with kids to look after. People dealing with shit housing, homelessness, low or no wages, the bedroom tax, workfare, benefit sanctions and most of all poverty. The people that liberal do-gooders call vulnerable and the Tory press calls benefit scum. Yet we keep winning and those victories should be shouted from the rooftops. As MHRN say:
“We believe that it is vital that people do know about this victory. After all, outrageous lies about disabled benefit claimants have been shouted from the rooftops in much of the national press. Yet where have the front page headlines about this victory been? Nowhere! We now want to rectify this by making as much noise as possible about the truth: that the WCA does not fairly assess people with mental health problems and there has been terrible suffering as a result.”
Please blogs, tweet,share and spread the word about the MHRN/DPAC vigil, and about the court case.
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid