Since the Work Capability Assessment fit-for-work test (which in large part determines eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance) was introduced in October 2008, more than 400,000 people with serious illnesses and profound disabilities have appealed against the decision to strip them of state support.
As we report elsewhere today (12 November 2012), the WeAreSpartacus network of disabled people have today published a detailed and compelling 70-page People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment, which has taken some months of hard work under difficult circumstances to research and compile.
The 'We are Spartacus' (http://wearespartacus.org.uk/) network promoting disabled people's views on welfare reform, is launching a major campaign today (Monday 12 November 2012), and aims to make a big social media splash from 8am onwards.
Successive UK governments, and their media allies, have been vigorous in smearing benefit claimants. To achieve this, politicians and their propagandists have played on popular stereotypes, stoking up prejudice against ‘scroungers’ while lavishly rewarding members of their own class at taxpayers’ expense. Savi Hensman looks at the reality behind the rhetoric, especially in relation to assessment.
With the government still apparently willing to make sick, disabled and vulnerable people pay for a financial slump brought about by greed, de-regulation and speculation, the press-mediated propaganda assault has begun ahead of the next House of Lords debate on welfare reform (17 January).
This week the Welfare Reform Bill returns to the House of Lords, following three damaging defeats for the government last week. Disability Living Allowance, the subject of the #spartacusreport, will come into the spotlight. But so will assessment - not least the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which is being used in relation to Employment Support Allowance (ESA). It is the process by which people in receipt of the allowance are formally tested to see if they are "fit for work".