Thank you to all those who contacted me about the need to reform the assessment process for disability benefits.
There is something fundamentally wrong with how Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) operate currently, as demonstrated by the high number of cases overturned on appeal. I therefore welcome Ministers’ announcement of plans to scrap the WCA requirement for people receiving Universal Credit. However, I urge the Government to clarify how the plans announced in its recent White Paper will work in practice.
The social security system should support, not hinder, people’s journey into work. However, I am concerned that under this Government, too often the system disincentivises work and makes even trying it too much of a risk. There is evidence that WCAs have acted as a barrier for people and the assessments can be arduous, lengthy and stressful.
More widely, Ministers’ lack of meaningful consultation with disabled people is highly concerning. For example, on 26 January 2022, the High Court found that the Government had failed to consult appropriately with disabled people when it drew up its Strategy.
I want to see a social security system that tackles the poverty and inequality disabled people face, including the increased costs they have to deal with, compared to non-disabled people. The future of disability benefits should also provide appropriate support to those who can’t work and help those who can accesses high-quality jobs and good training opportunities. Doing so will allow everyone to fulfil their potential. I know that disabled people and those with serious health issues want and deserve support and reassurance in work and out of it.