See WCA to be abolished, claimants to be sanctioned by bots 13/03/23, for latest update
A number of national media outlets are reporting that the government is considering scrapping or overhauling the work capability assessment (WCA) as well as making it easier for claimants to return to their former benefits if an attempt at working fails.
The WCA is a points based system used to decide if a claimant is eligible for employment and support allowance or universal credit.
A white paper on benefits is due out in the next few months and it is claimed it will include changes to the WCA. Ministers are said to be unhappy that the system currently focuses on what a claimant cannot do rather than what job they could do.
Many Benefits and Work readers may feel that they have heard all these pledges before and that little ever comes of them.
But with employers now struggling to fill vacancies and the number of people leaving the workforce because of illness at a record high, there is a strong incentive for the government to make changes.
Allowing claimants to return to their former benefits if an attempt at working is not successful sounds attractive on the face of it.
But given the enormous delays in processing claims, the impossibility of getting through to the DWP on the telephone and the department’s savage eagerness to sanction claimants, how many are likely to believe a smooth transition back to benefits would be possible?
And how many employers will be willing to take on claimants with a long history of ill-health, especially if their condition is one that varies in its severity?
Abolishing the WCA is clearly long overdue. But the idea of replacing it with a system that tests what claimants can do instead ignores the fact that this is exactly what the WCA was allegedly designed to do.
The reality is that replacing the WCA with a new assessment which is independent of a claimant’s own health practitioners is likely to lead to exactly the same problems as the current WCA.
But, it seems to be increasingly likely that another attempt to overhaul the system to get more sick and disabled claimants into work is about to begin.
Would you welcome changes to the system? And would you trust the DWP to return you swiftly and smoothly to your benefits if you tried work and had to stop again? Let us know in the comments section below.