Work Capability Assessment Faces Court Challenge

atos_kills_bannerA judicial review into the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) begins tomorrows when two members of the Mental Health Resistance Network will argue that the process is discriminatory towards people with mental health conditions.

A protest in support has been called outside the hearing on Wednesday 16th January at noon, head for the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL – and spread the word.

Mental Health Resistance Network, who are now on facebook, explain the reasons for the case:

“The reason that the ESA process discriminates against people with mental health disabilities is that the process requires ESA applicants to self-report how their ability to work is affected by their disability. While this is challenging enough for many people with physical disabilities, it can be a distressing, and sometimes an impossible task for many people with mental health disabilities. This is because some people with mental health disabilities do not always have insight into their condition, and others may find it difficult to articulate the effect of their disability on their fitness to work for reasons of shame or otherwise. Furthermore some mental health disabilities are complex, fluctuating, and often hidden, and these are by their very nature difficult for Atos Health Care Professionals (who are often not doctors and in general have no expertise in mental health) to properly assess at a short face-to-face assessment. In addition, people with mental health disabilities are often particularly vulnerable to the stresses of the assessment process itself, and often cannot cope with marshalling medical evidence explaining their condition. This means that they face substantial disadvantage as a result of the way in which ESA claims are processed.”

58 responses to “Work Capability Assessment Faces Court Challenge

  1. One of the particular problems people with mental health problems face is the variable nature of their condition. This is crucial when considering employment as employers require someone to be consistent and reliable. ATOS tests are too simplistic and look at ‘tasks’ or perhaps the basic elements of tasks, and don’t consider some os the wider aspects of employment.

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  3. rainbowwarriorlizzie
  4. Reblogged this on Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy and commented:
    Mental Health Challenge for WCA

  5. I hope they win, but given the way the entire system is skewed to screw the population these days, I doubt they will be successful. But I sincerely hope I get to eat my words.

  6. Johnny I can testify to this I have wca form and I was told not to fill it in on my own without my sw assistance as he had had other clients fill it in themselves at a cost

  7. Owen Jones quotes a Whitehall official as saying about benefit claiments “If we want them to tap dance, then they will tap dance,” Pure wickedness.

  8. The poorest in society seem to be the dumping grounds for welfare cuts, patronizing do gooders and downright lies against those that have been put into financial difficulty because of sanctions and cuts.

    Just watched countdown and celebrity financial adviser Martin Lewis quoted at the end of the programme – “mental illness can create debt and debt can create mental illness”. So stress created by debt is now a MENTAL ILLNESS.
    If that is the case then ids, osborne et al have a lot to answer for if they are CREATING illness.

    I found local authorities that do not want to grant housing benefit to those that have been sanctioned (GOING AGAINST PARTY POLITICS), used the mental health act to deflect a claimant who was entitled to housing benefit on as nil income basis, by calling for them to be detained as vulnerable and facing eviction. Even if you were facing eviction for debt it does not mean they are mentally ill, it means they are financially poor.

    Universal credit has lumped all the benefits together to try and prevent a person from claiming for housing benefit separately if you refuse to do as the job centre dictate to you and incur a sanction – again dissension does not equate with mental illness.

    This is the underhand way national and local government are treating those they have put into debt, by locking them up in mental hospitals and making sure the hospital keeps them in there via the tribunals where council officials sit on tribunals, health trusts fabricate lies and then psychiatrists act on this mendacious misinformation to keep you illegally detained. Then we have jv paraphrasing the compounded lie that “some people do not have insight into their condition” This lie is compounded To deny them a voice, this was said about me and I was totally lucid at the time.
    total corruption.

  9. ps I had never been in debt in my life until I was sanctioned so do not need financial advice just income.

    • Have a read “Google” Mr K vs jobcentre plus it goes to show they can be crushed when taking the piss a little too far as they found out in this particular case. I foresee many more like this in the future.The whole system is going to cause total hell as they introduce new santion rules etc and there will be lots more legal and tribunal cases costing millions ,all through ministers being totally pig headed .

  10. Social housing is now manipulating the housing available, showing absolute dumps of one bedroom properties in the local area to those facing bedroom tax and forced to downsize , their housing application requires you sign for an advocate or social agency to bid on properties for you (which they will put you under once arrears kick in as benefit is withdrawn), Again total manipulation from the housing sector in conjunction with the benefits sector, social services and mental health authorities to make sure you get the property THEY WANT YOU TO HAVE, after they have forced you onto these agencies, especially if you are totally critical of them.

  11. Asking those with poverty of speech and poor communication skills to attend,not to mention carers of same with sky high BP trying to protect them,is scandalous,there is no way these vunerable folks should even be asked to attend ,let alone forced,its a complete disgrace,bullying those unable to speak for themselves…..

  12. but with all of us on the disabled or sick we all getting mental health problems throu rheir abuse of us all so it aint only the mental health should be on trial tomorrow its us all but then its fragmented us all so we fight alone nah stand together show we wont go quietly jeff3

  13. I feel sorry for those that are mentally ill and I know that sounds patronising too, but when they locked me up I was caring for stroke victims and those that wanted to talk about their problems, I also saw violence, patients attacking other patients for no good reason at all and was threatened myself, I also saw cruelty from some nurses that was beyond belief yet nobody does anything about complaints, I know I’ve tried and was jumped on by 6 nurses and injected for complaining on behalf of one stroke victim who couldn’t even speak, she used to write everything down or grunt at me if she wanted to go to the toilet as nurses were never around and she could neither walk hardly nor talk – it is most certainly the cindererlla sector. Nobody that is declared ill by doctors and consultants should have to undergo ATOS assessments if they don’t want to, especially as they are nothing but sanction centres.

  14. It mut be terrible for somebody who is suffering from stress/nerves to be put through the merciless hands of ATOS – agents of evil. How many have been pushed over the edge by them? Dylan Thomas wrote “Though they go mad they shall be sane,Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again”

    The morally insane who do this to other people are in far, far worse state than those whom the make tap dance at their whim.

    • We have bullying in jobcentres all over the uk and on the workprogramme and now with atos all aimed at very vulnerable people and likely to push some over the edge.This cant be right.

      This is exactly what ids and the posh boys love across the board. They have companies set up costing the tax payer billions doing absolutely nothing for people who need genuine help.Dismantling the way of thinking leaving them with zero aspirations and to take any old soup kitchen paying job and remove them from the benefits system.The saddest thing is as what was pointed out to me the other-day the people getting paid to advise people how to get work aren’t even qualified themselves so this has to be some kind of fraud going on here.

  15. John

    It’s when you refuse to tap dance that they call you mentally ill. !!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. IJohn

    only know they did in my case, the only illness I ever had was post natal depression after the birth of my son 31 years ago, but never ever considered hurting my child nor did i neglect him or the home but it did not stop the psychiatrist writing an absolute load of rubbish about me at the time, which I only found out about when I could see it under the freedom of information act in 2001, and I have been fighting to get the offensive, fabricated rubbish deleted from my medical records ever since and was used against me to detain me 31 years later – no wonder it was hidden away.

    • Wow somebody with an almost identical history and the worse is yet to come! So desperate to cover stuff up medical authorities or g.p actually changed my date of birth two years ago. How dangerous is that. Support worker claimed it was computer error and i stupidly agreed until i opened envelope from fpc containing medical card and saw it myself! I did not do this how could i?

      • something survived...

        Some weird person changed my date of birth and age, and applied for car stuff in my name though I’m too disabled to drive. In the past the NHS insisted I’m born in August, which is several months wrong.

  17. I am physically disabled with severe spinal problems but also have clinical depression. In the report from ATOS following my assessment they said that I was not depressed as I wasnt rocking back and forward (they say thats a classic sign). Did they not stop and think that someone with spinal problems including a crumbling coccyx would find it extremely painful, if not impossible to rock!! No they didnt – I was awarded 0 points and am now appealing!

  18. some clever git once said something like this, “Insanity is the only rational response to an insane world”.

    as for the guy that said “forgive them, for they know not what they do”, blox!

    • The guy you refer to was, at least to me, making the point that no human being is omniscient and sometimes we do wrong even when we don’t know it. So the the quality that Shakespeare wrote about as something that “droppeth as the gentle rain” is that which is exalted.
      Those who in full knowledge, and with their free-will intact, choose to persecute the poor of the world (in mind/body/spirit/wealth) should read what the same guy wrote about their fate.

  19. how depressed do you have to be to rock backwards and forwards, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Those that have had abuse in their past are said to rock as a sign of comforting themselves. As far as I can see the psychiatry is being used and abused by the exponents of it. I had post natal depression and I never rocked.

  20. I am pleased other people are coming forward with their horror stories, because that is the only way to get at the truth. So called Professionals just stick together, so these people are never prosecuted or brought to justice for their lies and atrocities.

    • You are so right!

    • The problem with my condition is the sufferer tries to hide it, acts normal, or as normal as they can…
      So you get a seemingly fit well muscled bloke trying to explain to someoone with no clue about mental health
      I was royally screwed until i got help from Citizens Advice, after getting locked in the psychiatric unit, i may add, the final breakdown caused in no small part by the stress of the ATOS assessment and subsequent massive reduction in benefit after this “picture of health” passed with flying colours.

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  22. I’m on wrag my ESA ends soon and I still have agorophobia that was brought on through being dragged out of my home by police officers and thrown into a van on the say so of a mental health assessment doctor who never even entered my home. I cannot deny esa benefits are better than jsa and apart from Atos I get no interference from mental health services now, am not forced on any drugs nor on a community treatment order nor should I ever have been forced onto these agencies in the first place. I was in Debt because of a jsa sanction for refusing to work voluntarily which they classed as not doing enough to find work, not because I was mentally ill.. Chewies article on the vexation cases towards gp’s and doctors who have written reports of how well a client is just shows the other side of the coin i.e. doctors can either get away with saying you are ill when you are not and can also say you are not ill when you are, whichever way their word is paramount and your protestations to the contrary are irrelevant. When did doctors become Gods?

  23. Well this is my first post,after walking mental marathons through many a site i think i have found an intelligent one….I myself have Schizho-affective bipolar disorder….have been sectioned on many occasion,put in secure units and even locked up in the cells for awhile. So i know the mental health system backwards from a young age…But what the present and previous government have done is nothing short of a selected slaughter of the poor and vunerable.I went through my Atos shite when i was manic,so i was found fit for work…yes i was MANIC…..over talking,my racing at a million miles an hour,and saying i was perfect,never better,wonderful…give me a job..any the king of the country. How i was found fit is beyond belief,as when i am manic,its err well obvious somethings a bit odd.Two days latter i went beyond manic and to the land of the black fairies and dragons (psychotic to me). SOoooo While sectioned,with the injections…i was found fit….yes fit.Now my illness has ups,lows and psychotic at most times even with my shitty meds. So tell me Mr Cameron…which job on the cabinet have i got.

    • You may have your manic moments Markpossum, but it’d be my guess that you’re still far more sane than any of the politicians we’re blessed with. It’s pretty disgraceful that Atos found you fit for work when it should have been patently obvious to anyone with a modicum of medical training that something wasn’t quite right.

  24. Alistair Campbell who was Tony Blairs spin doctor, openly declared he had treatment for manic episodes.. Churchill spoke of the black dog on his shoulder and probably won the war due to the fact he understood Hitlers dark side.
    so those who have been diagnosed with mental illness in ATOS’s mind are still capable in good times of excelling at their jobs, although my argument was about being labelled mentally ill when I was not, nor had I any history
    other than post natal depression which was totally irrelevant to my diagnosis of being delusional, which I most certainly am not.

  25. Disability – Found this sneaky change

    Thousands to lose disability benefit after Government makes eleventh hour changes to fitness test boundaries
    15 Jan 2013 07:17
    THE Government sneaked through a last minute change and toughened up walking criteria.

    THOUSANDS of disabled people will lose benefits after the Government sneaked through a last-minute change to the rules, campaigners warned yesterday.

    Tougher criteria to assess how far people can walk unaided mean that many claimants will no longer qualify for help with transport.

    Paralympics medallist and disabled campaigner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson warned that the change will lead to disabled people being “ghettoised and excluded from society”.

    From April, Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

    To qualify for the higher rate of PIP, claimants have to be unable to walk for 20m unaided. Previously, the distance was 50m.

  26. Guy Fawkes,

    Good point about the HB being stopped upon sanction over JSA/ESA. I myself have had to claim HB on a zero-income basis when spuriously suspended from JSA pending review of a doubt raised over my claim.

    Unfortunately many claimants are not savvy enough to realize that (for now) they can still make a fresh claim for HB even though they have been refused JSA/ESA. They are unlikely, however, to be told this and must take the initiative of contacting the Council to make the claim, to avoid running up unnecessary rent arrears.

    Regarding health records, it is the Data Protection Act you use to get personal information held by public (or private) bodies, not the Freedom of Information Act, which is used to obtain general information such as policy documents e.g. the request, featured elsewhere on the Void, regarding use of cookies on Universal Jobmatch (

    The Catch22 is, they can withhold information they believe the knowledge of which may have an adverse effect on your health – “You’ll go mad if you know what we’ve written about you”!

  27. sorry about which act it was despite knowing the difference, I actually acquired my medical records and promptly contacted the data commissioner regarding having untrue, offensive data removed from my medical records, pointing out inacurate factual data, i.e. I left hospital 3 months before I entered it according to my records of sons birth,nevertheless after being given the run around by the data commissions department I got absolutely nowhere, so data protection is protecting data that is blatantly untrue.

  28. ps I did go mad (not literally) about what was written about me, but it was trying to get this info corrected with intransigent, immovable, bureaucracies that really drives you mad.

  29. This government wants benefit claimants tied up in mountains of paperwork
    of medical info for tribunals, that would take those trained in litigation a lifetime to sort out. The whole system is deliberately loaded against those that are both physically and mentally ill.

    • yup, There is scarcely any pretence about it now. Iain Duncan-Smith can profess his Christianity on television but if he ever read the NT and what it says about those who abuse the poor, the liars, the hypocrites I’m sure it would cause him pause for thought. But then again Tony Blair the “Man of Faith” cannot see the blood on his hands because of the multi-million dollar notes they hold from wealthy grateful supporters.

      Perhaps the most absurd example that comes to mind is from the person whose reign brought about mass rioting, who destroyed whole communities/industries from which we have never recovered and who announced on the footsteps of Downing St as she entered it for the first time “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” Demented.

  30. And they call others delusional.

  31. Looking back over the posts on this site, I apologize for dominating it by highlighting my own specific grievance, mainly because there are few sites that do highlight injustice in the mental health sector. If you were illegally imprisoned in the criminal justice sector, you would be appointed a solicitor to fight your case – the specialised solicitors that deal with mental health only have funding to represent you in the kangaroo court of mental health tribunals and would not hold out much hope even if there were proper courts for such cases, such is the lies and deceit endemic in the mental health sector. I notice Alisdair Camerone did not pingback the comments on this post that is critical of his charitable sector.

    Mark Possum I would like to apologize to you because my reply to your unjust atos ruling sounded unsympathetic, but I was trying to highlight the fact that Under Blair and now Camerone, atos’s ethos was ‘WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT WHAT THE SICK AND DISABLED CANNOT DO BUT WHAT THEY CAN DO’ hence the reason for degrading assessments of people. I wish you well in both your appeal and your health.

  32. Guy Fawkes

    “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad” (anon)…
    To which one might add “… then draw into the labrynth”.

    Yes, the Information Commissioner’s Office is like using a rolled up newspaper on a swarm of locusts (and is now subject to cuts, I believe). The best you can usually hope for, once reduced to a frazzle after months of waiting, is to get your “version of events” (including such trivia as the actual order in which dates follow one another) put in the file with the “official” one. It can then be conveniently ignored by “authorities” as self-serving deceit, or the delusions of a madman who “lacks insight”.

  33. Thanks for that Emzizimiziyu

    i’m not sure how to take that, nevertheless while I’m replying to you I would like to mention that although I did receive housing benefit eventually, they only backdated it after months of trying to obtain it when my benefits were sanctioned and they had locked me up for months in the mental hospital for being a thorn in their side, by challenging both labour and tory ideology and refusing to work voluntarily on new deal or work program.
    I sent off new claim forms for housing benefit they say they didn’t receive them in the post, I would walk 6 mile round trip or get family to put in new forms and the council would deny they had received them, all the while the housing association was hounding me for rent money even though I was sanctioned from jsa and had no benefit.
    I would go to see them at the housing office at their request and they would put some new deal infant who hadn’t a clue what the situation was to deal with me, who accused me of raising my voice and called the police to escort me out of the office – no prosecution because raising your voice to intone your displeasure is not the same as shouting abuse which she inferred to the police and all to get housing benefit I was entitled to off ex council workers who run the social housing sector now.
    With the bedroom tax and my inability to pay 25% rent out of benefits and no decent homes to move into, I’m expecting more merry go rounds from the council, housing association and no doubt dwp. and am still in a 3 tier complaints situation and the housing ombudsmen over their treatment of first wanting to criminalize me and then have me sectioned under the mental health act for nothing.

    • Guy Fawkes

      Ah , yes, the 3-tier complaints system: the labyrinth. It’s designed to wear you down and funnel you towards the Ombudsman and deflect you from the courts, to which you have no resort thereafter.

      Don’t feel bad about telling your story: many may read and empathise.

  34. Emzizimiziyu – many thank for your replies.

    I told my story so that others who may have suffered the same injustice, know they are not alone in their fight against the bureaucrats, because I know there are many out there, some may not be on the net yet, but I may have reached some that are.

    Successive Governments have introduced some very unpopular policies and ministers have made some very antiquated comments in the past but nothing beats the WCA’s that has potentially caused 10,000 deaths .The profit ATOS made through a flawed system can only be classed as blood money .There was outcry at Thatcher as Health minister snatching school milk from children .Edwina Curry telling OAL’s if cold in winter knit a jumper .Norman Tebitt telling the unemployed to “get on their bikes” to look for work .Jack Straw as Home Secretary introducing a bill that makes it illegal for children in care homes to complain about abuse but ID Smith and Grayling supercede all four policies rolled into one by their arrogant disregard to life through their flawed implementation of dealing with the sick and disabled .

  36. something survived...

    (shat on us)
    Someone I know was forced out of work due to being ‘too sick’ but in suing them was told she was not disabled enough to need help doing her job. Also Atos who agreed with employer she was too sick to work in her job (their view not hers), then assessed her and said she was not sick enough for any benefits! Hmm so you can be simultaneously sick enough to be kicked out of your job, too disabled to be rehired by them or anyone else, and miraculously fit for work so not allowed benefits!
    Pardon my french but… The shameless fuckers.

  37. Pingback: Work Capability Assessment Faces Court Challenge | Disability Issues |

  38. you would be fit enough to be head of the DWP .LOL

  39. i suffer with borderline personality disorder which is a very complex mental health problem. i am at the moment getting esa but i am in the work related activity group. but i also get dla with care component because of my illness which the dwp have agreed with my dr’s and cpn that i am a danger to myself and others. so if they rekonize that i am a the hell can they say i am fit for the does not make sense to me. i have also phoned them numerous times for the past 3mths and asked them upon asked them to send and appeal letter for me to fill in, and 3mths down the line still waiting for the letter to arrive. i have given it up as a bad job now,as to me they have no intensions in sending it to me., and i am sick of wasting my money on pointless phone calls and getting nowhere.I hope that they can get some ruling. out of it as they are finally giving each and evryone of us with mental health issues a voice that some of find hard to use

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