The Government’s announcement over the weekend that people with “severe health conditions and disabilities” in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will no longer be reassessed for work capability is welcome news. The Government’s austerity measures sit heavily enough upon the shoulders of those striving to adjust to the daily challenges of a life changing impairment. However, when the outcome of assessments are by no means certain and the prospect of no income and inability to put food on the table very real, the strain placed upon claimants’ mental health is profound.

Every case that Aspire’s Welfare Benefits team has supported at Tribunal has, on presentation of the claimant’s medical evidence, successfully overturned the original Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) decision. This suggests that the extra costs and pressure on already stressed individuals imposed by the current assessment process is both unnecessary and avoidable. We can only hope that ending work capability reassessment for people with “severe health conditions and disabilities” represents a step towards a fairer, rational and supportive disability benefits system, and that a similar announcement can be soon expected regarding Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the mandatory two to three year review periods for these same individuals.

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