by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass
Three judges ruled that the Work Capability Assessment was unfair and discriminatory for sufferers of mental illness. The ruling, which was passed on Wednesday, came as a huge victory for welfare campaigners and charities such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the National Autistic Society who all took part in the case to provide evidence based on the experiences of members and supporters.
The WCA requires candidates being put forward to supply all of their evidence from people and places that will help build their case, such as GPs or social workers. Acquiring this information is wholly the responsibility of the claimant, and this is what the case focused on.
The responsibility to gather this information for some sufferers of mental illness is simply too much, and this lead to some cases being unfairly decided upon because claimants found it impossible to gather everything they needed for the Assessment, and decisions were made without full knowledge of circumstance.
The DWP was found in breach of the Equality Act 2010, having failed to make reasonable adjustments for those with mental disabilities. The DWP must now ensure that evidence is not left out, and is taken into account.
Above: Rethink Mental Illness and Mind – Two of the charity organisations giving evidence in the case.
Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness said:“This ruling proves once and for all that this cruel and unfair process is unlawful. The judges have independently confirmed what our members have been saying for years – the system is discriminating against some of the most ill and vulnerable people in our society, the very people it is meant to support.
“This ruling will help improve one aspect of the Work Capability Assessment, but there are still many other problems with it. We will keep campaigning on behalf of everyone we represent until the whole process is fair for everyone.”
This is a huge victory for campaigners who have worked for years to fight the cases of those suffering. We can only hope this is the first step to more justice for those who are being penalised unnecessarily.