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Changes urged for 'fit to work' tests

11th May 2011

Six major UK charities have joined force to call for changes to sickness benefit tests.

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They say there are examples of people with serious illnesses being found to be “fit to work” under new sickness benefits tests.

Charities including the MS Society, National Aids Trust, Arthritis Care, the Forward-ME group and Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Parkinson’s UK want to see the tests made fairer, particularly for people with illnesses where symptoms vary over time.

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA), currently being used for first-time claimants, is being reviewed.

The call from charities comes ahead of the Hardest Hit march against benefit changes and other government policies in Westminster.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “As charities, we have been inundated by concerns from people living with a long-term health condition who've wrongly been found fit to work.

“Many of them want to work, but may require extra support to do so. Ensuring that the assessment is fair and consistent is therefore a vital task.”

People claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for the first time now have to go through a WCA test but it has proved controversial and there have been thousands of appeals against its findings.

The charities have published a report for consideration as part of Professor Malcolm Harrington’s independent review of the WCA.

The report says: “We would welcome more systematic research to determine whether, in reality, someone whose condition means intermittent and unpredictable working would be considered for employment in the real world, although they might be considered 'employable'.”

 

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Comments

Trey Junkin

Sunday 29th May 2011 @ 23:33

Dealing with a disease as body wide as Crohn's, impacts not only our bodies but also our minds. It is affecting people of all ages, and even young ones now. There is a lot of promising research on new therapies and technologies that may help end chrons desease very soon. Holistic and Alternative doctors use a few treatments that seem to be working really well to give people back their normal lives. Let's hope this great work continues successfully!


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