Humiliating and demoralising face-to-face ‘fit for work’ assessment interviews, known as the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), could be scrapped following a report by experts which blamed the controversial tests for delays in processing benefit claims.
It is understood that the Department for Work and Pensions is exploring the possibility of replacing the WCA with a streamlined system, based upon written medical evidence acquired from claimants, their GP’s and consultants.
Critics of the face-to-face interviews argue that scrapping the WCA would lead to a speeding up of the process, fairer outcomes for sick and disabled people and savings for taxpayers, due to less appeals being lodged against negative decisions.
At long last, it now appears as if the DWP may agree. A spokesperson for the department told the Daily Record:
“Expediting the process will reduce the uncertainty faced by claimants, improve outcomes for those not eligible for employment and support allowance and reduce the consequent burden on taxpayers.”
The move comes after private firm Atos withdrew from a £500 million contract with the DWP, forcing the government to seek a new provider. The DWP continue to insist that the contract was terminated by the government.
Labour MP Tom Greatrex said:
“The WCA process hasn’t worked for years and the Government have failed to address it.
“The experience is demeaning, causes anxiety and 40 per cent of the tests are overturned on appeal which demonstrates it’s not fair or accurate.”