Parliamentary Question | who’s legally liable for wellbeing of claimants found fit for work? | 19 December 2012

December 20, 2012


Well, apparently, no one!

The Countess of Mar tabled a written question that asked the Government: “What person or organisation is legally liable for the wellbeing of benefits claimants who are found to be fit for work under the work capability assessment and who are then made to work?”

In his written reply on 19 December 2012, the Minister for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) replied:

The purpose of the work capability assessment (WCA) is to assist DWP decision-makers in assessing eligibility for benefit, or levels of benefit. The WCA is not a medical diagnosis and the decision affects benefit only; it does not oblige anyone to work.

Whilst the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is legally responsible for all benefit decisions made by officials of the department on his behalf, there is no legal responsibility held by the Secretary of State for the well-being of benefit claimants.

Therefore, neither DWP nor WCA healthcare professionals are liable for any adverse consequence suffered by a claimant following a decision that the claimant is fit for work or for work-related activity.

5 thoughts on “Parliamentary Question | who’s legally liable for wellbeing of claimants found fit for work? | 19 December 2012”

  1. The WCA is not a medical diagnosis and the decision affects benefit only; it does not oblige anyone to work.

    Really? For a great number of people it may not oblige them to work, unless they want to eat of course….

    Now I may be wrong here and if I am please do correct me but when filling out the ESA form do the DWP not reserve the right to inform your GP of their decision? If the decision only affects benefit why do they do this?

    Typical of the self absolution of modern politicians who want all of the glory (and remuneration) but who are not prepared to take any responsibility for their actions.

    1. Both of the links you provided are interesting, thanks Sasha. I noted in the Prime Minister’s response to Ian Lavery he stated that money being spent on disability benefits will go up over the next few years. I wonder exactly how this money will be spent – will it be to increase the amount given in benefit to each individual, does it mean that they expect more people to be claiming disability benefit than the existing number or is it because they will spend more money on administration.

      In fact, it would be interesting to know what the administration costs are for the typical claimant and have these costs increased or decreased since the new changes.

  2. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/06/disability-karen-sherlock-sue-marsh

    “Despite her own terror, she tried to tell her country, her peers, her friends – even journalists – what was happening to her and thousands like her, but shocked tuts didn’t save her. Open mouths and disgust didn’t save Karen; they didn’t save my friend. Perhaps no one could have, but those who hold and abuse power could have eased her fear or reassured her that they would act.

    Karen died on June 8 from a suspected heart attack”

  3. Strange how the Government is responsible for one thing and not another. The power to decide who gets a benefit and the organization who employs thousands of Doctors and Nurses to carry out WCA assessments, but no one either in the Government or the DWP and their related agencies, have the legal power to look after the well-being of benefit claimants, who in a lot cases are very ill and vulnerable people. Obviously the Government think that the claimant(s) if they lose their emtitlement to benefit can go and dig up the pot of gold buried at the bottom of their garden, rely on the generosity of friends and family, or live off the Parish.

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