Monday, 24 February 2014

No more repeat Work Capability Assessments until Atos replaced

Some huge news has emerged today after a Freedom Of Information request by the Benefits and Work website.

It appears that the DWP have suspended all repeat Work Capability Assessments with Atos. This means that those who currently receive Employment Support Allowance and are in the Support Group or the Work-Related Activity Group will not be called back for repeat assessment unless the DWP are informed that their health has changed. This appears to be a move to clear the backlog of those in the Assessment Phase of ESA who are waiting for Atos to call them in for a WCA. It is unclear how this might affect the migration for those who still receive Incapacity Benefit. According to Benefits and Work the DWP memo states:
“The number of cases currently with Atos Healthcare has grown. A decision has therefore been taken to control the referral of repeat work capability assessments. Therefore, with effect from 20 January 2014, further routine repeat assessments referrals to Atos will be deferred until further notice.

“Controlling the volume of repeat Work Capability Assessments should help us to reduce delays for new claimants and those that have already been referred.”
Benefits and Work also claim that the DWP did not intend to inform either MPs or claimants. The uncertainty over the timing and outcome of the WCA is a huge problem for most people who rely on ESA and the knowledge that they will be left alone in the near future would be a great help so it is a further sign of cruelty that the DWP don't care enough to inform anyone.

Dr Greg Wood put some speculation into the thinking behind this decision on his blog in the form of a fictional memo - Work Test Whistleblower: A Note For The Minister?

Source: Benefits and Work: All repeat WCA medicals to be stopped


  1. I got a mandatory reconsideration and am in the process of appealling. I suddenly got a letter from DWP saying thank you for the further evidence we have now put you back on benefits. I sent them no evidence so I presume they have bottled out due to the flack.

  2. WCA isn't dead yet, I personally won't be sure it's dead until it's staked on a crossroads at midnight, but it's clearly in trouble. This is dangerous for us as IDS may seek to portray us as the aggressors in order to cover up his failure, just as Atos did on Friday. We need to keep pushing, otherwise we may find ourselves facing something even worse than WCA, being run by a company even worse than Atos (yes, G4S, I'm looking at you!).

  3. Be warned - exactly the same approach has been taken to Blue Badge applications - so prepare yourselves for a battle there too.

  4. I agree with DavidG. ID-S never once criticised Atos, but hid behind "continually striving for improvement". He could not, because they were simply doing his biding. However, there is no doubt who makes benefit decisions and we all know that they were biased in the same direction as the WCA. It will be interesting to see how he slithers out from underneath this as there is no doubt he will try. #sackduncansmith