Review of the Work Capability Assessment
This week, a review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the assessment used to determine who is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), has been published. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has been very involved in this review and we’re delighted that it is a really a positive step towards fairer and more accurate support for people applying for ESA.
The review reflects a lot of our concerns about making the WCA fair for people with autism, which we have been raising through the Don’t Write Me Off campaign. It highlighted a number of areas for improvement, including increased support for claimants throughout the process of applying for ESA, the appointment of ‘champions’ with expertise in intellectual and cognitive conditions to carry out assessments and an increased focus on additional evidence provided by individuals, such as a report from your GP. The Government has committed to implementing the suggestions of the review, and, as Mark Lever (NAS chief executive) comments;
“The Government urgently needs to make good their commitment to implementing the changes from today’s Harrington review. Adults with autism tell us the medical assessment for out of work support is a routine exercise in ticking boxes which neither takes account of their difficulties nor reflects the level of help they need”.
The NAS is also working with Mind and Mencap to review the descriptors used in the assessment process to make sure that the assessment recognises the problems people with autism, mental health problems and learning disabilities may face in getting in to work. This is a great achievement for us and is an important success for our Don’t Write Me Off campaign!
You can read a copy of the review and the Government’s response on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website.