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Review Of Work Capability Assessment To Publish Findings

November 23, 2010

A report on the government’s methods to test whether people are too ill or disabled to work is to be published.

The coalition is investigating the “fairness and effectiveness” of reforms brought in by Labour to cut the number of benefit claimants.

The Work Capability Assessment, introduced in 2008, reformed the medical testing of whether people are unable to do a job.

Incapacity benefits cost £13.4bn in 2009/10, official figures say.

By March 2014, ministers want to reassess everyone on such benefits to see if they are ready and fit for some sort of work.

‘Functional assessment’

In November 2009, there were 2.6 million people of working age on incapacity benefits in Britain.

Under the Work Capability Assessment, people are assessed through a “functional health assessment”, denoting their ability to work.

This replaced the use of a “diagnostic medical assessment” by a GP or specialist, which focused on their particular condition.

Prior to the launch of the new system, it was expected that around half of claimants being tested would be declared fit for work.

Since then, however, the figure has risen to about 66%.

The review panel, led by Professor Malcolm Harrington, will deliver its findings later on Tuesday morning, after which the government will respond.

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