Changes to sickness benefits rules criticised as "incomplete"

MINISTERS are under fire for failing to make changes to a controversial 'work test', being introduced for 84,000 sickness benefit claimants across the region.

An independent review slammed progress on improvements to much-criticised assessments of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants as "disappointingly incomplete".

Professor Malcolm Harrington, in his third and final report, said the department for work and pensions (DWP) appeared committed to improving the work test, but added: "This job is not yet complete. The improvements that have been started must be carried through to the end.

"A number of the major charities say that, although they have seen some change for the better, it is disappointingly incomplete in coverage and depth. I agree with them."

Liam Byrne, Labour's work and pensions spokesman, described the review as "devastating", saying: "Progress is slow and incomplete.

"Ministers are failing to grip the shambolic appeals system and the whole process is utterly failing to get people back into work."

But Mark Hoban, the Conservative work minister, said the review had found that his department had already had made the WCA "more accurate and effective".

Those changes included better communication with claimants, the introduction of 60 'mental health champions' into assessment centres to provide advice and a simpler process for cancer sufferers.

Over three years, Atos will test about three-quarters of the 122,000 people in the North-East and North Yorkshire who claim IB.

About 30 per cent are expected to be judged ready for work and be placed on job seekers' allowance (JSA) instead - losing at least £25 a week in benefit.

A further 40 per cent are likely to be assessed as able to look for work, with support. That means they will be moved onto JSA after one further year, if they have savings above £16,000, or their partner works.

Comments (3)

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8:33pm Tue 20 Nov 12

grumpyoldpops says...

This is an absolute sham i know someone who was examined by 2 specialists from Social security over 10 yrs ago who both said they could not work because of their condition which would get progressivly worse and it has, they were examined by ATOS who said they were fit for work
This is an absolute sham i know someone who was examined by 2 specialists from Social security over 10 yrs ago who both said they could not work because of their condition which would get progressivly worse and it has, they were examined by ATOS who said they were fit for work grumpyoldpops

11:18pm Tue 20 Nov 12

IanfromCrook says...

Maybe people should take a look at the no.10 petitions website. An example being http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/41600.
Maybe people should take a look at the no.10 petitions website. An example being http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/41600. IanfromCrook

1:20pm Wed 21 Nov 12

simmo707 says...

Professor Malcolm Harrington's third review of the not fit for purpose Work Capability Assessment ,carried out by ATOS has basically said nothing has changed except that 60 Mental Health Champions ,have now been employed ,the way ATOS promote their nurses as Health Professionals probably means the Mental Health Champions are ex cleaners from Rampton .There is no getting away from the fact that the DWP contracted ATOS to blanket find at least 90% fit for work as a means to a new start on a strategy to cut benefits ,that is the fact of the matter .Several Petitions including two Epetitions can be signed at :
www.brokenbritainund
ertories.com
Professor Malcolm Harrington's third review of the not fit for purpose Work Capability Assessment ,carried out by ATOS has basically said nothing has changed except that 60 Mental Health Champions ,have now been employed ,the way ATOS promote their nurses as Health Professionals probably means the Mental Health Champions are ex cleaners from Rampton .There is no getting away from the fact that the DWP contracted ATOS to blanket find at least 90% fit for work as a means to a new start on a strategy to cut benefits ,that is the fact of the matter .Several Petitions including two Epetitions can be signed at : www.brokenbritainund ertories.com simmo707

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