Login FormClose

Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Over 80,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.


A three judge panel of the Upper Tribunal has ruled that the Work Capability Assessment substantially disadvantages claimants with mental health problems, because the system is designed to deal with a high volume of claimants who can accurately report the way in which their disability affects their fitness to work.

The court ordered that the DWP has to take reasonable steps to address the disadvantage to people with mental health problems, but rather than specifying what those reasonable steps should be, ordered the DWP to carry out an investigation and then return to court to explain what steps they propose to take.

The claimants’ solicitor, Ravi Low- Beer of the Public Law Project said:

“Today’s ruling confirms what disabled people have been saying for years – although ignored by Ministers - that the Work Capability Assessment process is not fit for purpose.

Today, the court has considered the evidence, and has endorsed the view of the experts and NGOs that have repeatedly called for medical evidence to be sought and considered by the DWP at the early stages of a claim. It is up to all of us now to put pressure on the DWP to investigate – and then implement - real changes to the process without delay or prevarication, as the court has ordered. It is in everyone’s interests that the DWP changes course - if they continue to rush people with mental health disabilities through the process as it stands, more ill people will be wrongly refused support, more ill people will suffer a deterioration in their mental health as they try to navigate the appeal system, and more public money will be wasted.”

The DWP intend to fight the decision, however. A spokesperson said:

“We disagree with today’s ruling and intend to appeal. We believe we have made – and continue to make – significant improvements to the WCA process for people with mental health conditions. The percentage of people with mental health conditions who go into the support group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has more than tripled since 2010.”


#6 Jim Allison 2013-06-10 21:39
Actually, it wasn't a three Judge panel of the Upper Tribunal. This was an application for Judicial Review, heard by three High Court Judges who found in favour of the appellants.

Therefore, the DWP will have to following the ruling of the High Court, until if/when it is overruled by the Appeal Court.
+2 #5 stripey66 2013-06-07 10:23
To force this issue into goverment open debate, it would help all disabled persons to sign this petition
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154 for the Goverment to look again
#4 johnb 2013-06-06 18:26
Hi drewan
The answer is YES your AMH Consultant or any of his/her team are able to issue you with a Med 3 fitness for work ask your CCO (CPN), AO or EIP Team for support. You could also ask for your diagnosis sheet from hospital records from patients reports, confirming all of your your mental health issues plus dates you been diagnosed and dates of treatment from your diary once you got them you can save a copy for Atos & send the DWP copy as a vulnerable adult.

Hi John
The HCP has broken the basic gold rule of confidentiality between
professional's and should be reported even dismissed and remind Atos that there are Consequences for HCP comments of suicide Human Rights Act Sec 2 plus "Liability for Suicides" could Atos be blamed for a potential tortfeasor?
What an interesting thought
+1 #3 XFACTOR 2013-06-06 18:12
More people are getting into the support group than previously but I suspect that is those who manage to get good evidence to support their case, and the majority of SG decisions are probably without a medical
It is the medical process where the problems arise for too many. a unintelligent and frankly biased calibration of assessment methodology combined combined with negative incentives to HCP's to take their time assure a bad result for too many If more than 3 times are getting into SG since 2010 it must have been appalling between 2008 and 2010, the early days of ESA. I saw a ATOS video on their website back then and it said 5 per cent were expected to get into the SG
+2 #2 drewan 2013-06-05 09:44
I have been told by DWP staff that a decision on appeal can be taken at a local level, without necessarily having to go to a tribunal. Is this correct and (as I have mental health problems and my GP is being less than supportive re: fit notes) can the Mental Health Team issue fit notes?
I would welcome any comments as I am drowning a bit in the system!
+8 #1 John 2013-06-01 20:23
I wonder if the "significant improvements" involve more HCP asking people with a history of suicide attempts "How come you are still alive then?" or HCP refusing to read a letter from a consultant Psychologist and then doing exactly what the letter told them would harm the patient. Then there is the scientifically proven rule that if you smile when the HCP mentions a pet then you can't be suffering from depression.

You need to be logged in to comment