The government’s disability testing system is criticised for making wrong decisions, causing “misery and hardship” to benefits claimants at a “considerable cost” to the taxpayer.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced work capability assessments (WCA) in 2008 to assess entitlement to employment and support allowance.
Today the public accounts committee (PAC) said that while there has been much criticism of Atos – the firm contracted to conduct WCAs – most of the problems lay with the DWP itself, and criticised the department’s complacent attitude to the high number of inaccurate decisions leading to successful appeals.
Between 2011 and 2012 Atos was paid £112.4m to carry out almost 750,000 assessments.
The MPs’ report said: “The work capability assessment process is designed to support a fair and objective decision by the department about whether a claimant is fit for work, but in far too many cases the department is getting these decisions wrong at considerable cost to both the taxpayer and the claimant.
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