Government to Overhaul ‘Cruel’ Disability Benefits System
31 Oct 2016
The Government is planning a major overhaul of disability benefits assessment – a system that has been described by critics as “cruel”.
On Monday, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green will launch a consultation on how to reform the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which was overseen by Iain Duncan Smith under the last government.
It is used to determine how much financial support people with disabilities should receive while they look for work.
The Government says it wants to provide more “targeted and personalised support” to help people return to work as soon as possible.
The consultation will look at how people claiming Employment and Support Allowance can get enough continued help from Jobcentre Plus to re-enter the workplace.
Mr Green says the system has to “be one that works for all those who can, (provide) help for those who could, and care for those who can’t”.
Labour’s Debbie Abrahams has welcomed the consultation but says: “Theresa May needs to take responsibility for her part in these disastrous social security reforms. To suggest that these have been a success is derisory.”
The shadow minister says the whole Tory approach is “cruel” and commits her party to scrapping the WCA and replacing it “with a holistic, person-centred approach, based on principles of dignity and inclusion”.
The disability charity Scope’s chief executive, Mark Atkinson, has also welcomed the Government’s fresh look at the system.
“The current fit-for-work test doesn’t accurately identify the barriers disabled people face in entering or staying in work,” he said. “(People) need tailored employment support.”
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