Work Capability Assessments 'Are Unfit To Work'

SDLP Welfare spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has said reiterated his call for the work capability assessment (WCA), which is used to assess whether or not people should be in receipt of incapacity benefit, to end immediately.

Mr Durkan has been questioning how effective the new Work Capability Assessment is given the high number of successful appeals against removal of incapacity benefits.

The Foyle MLA said: "The Social Development Minister must scrap the current Work Capability Assessment which is resulting in so much suffering for many people who are incapable of working.

"People who are genuinely unfit to work are being penalised by this flawed assessment process and after being told their benefits are to be removed, which is a stressful enough situation, they are having to appeal decisions causing even greater anxiety to people with illnesses.

"Questions must be asked about the capacity of the relevant bodies to hear these appeals in a timely fashion and give some kind of closure one way or another to those who are concerned about losing their benefits.

"The high level of appeals being upheld also underpins arguments that I, my SDLP colleagues and GPs have been making that the Work Capability Assessments themselves are unfit to work.

"All of this after the highly irresponsible remarks by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland that most incapacity claimants are fit to work – yet another demonization of those on benefits by the Minister who has shown no willingness to fight the Tory benefit cuts.

"DSD, both at ministerial and official level, need to urgently address the backlogs in the appeal process, listen to GPs and reassess the nature of the capability assessments before any more genuine claimants are done a life-changing disservice by the system they used to trust."


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