Astriid Responds To Proposed Amendments To Work Capability Assessments (WCAs)

As a charity, we have submitted an evidence-based response to the DWP consultation on their proposed amendments to Work Capability Assessments (WCA).

Our submission details the following:

· Reducing eligibility for the Limited Capacity for Work and Work Related Activity (LCWRA) further erodes the essential safety net of a population who are already at a severe financial disadvantage.

· Other than Astriid, there are no employment support services through the DWP or contractors that understand and meet the unique needs of people with Energy Limiting Conditions, such as fluctuating capabilities and the need for significantly reduced hours. We oppose the extension of compulsory work preparation because the programmes currently on offer do not contain these essential components of employment support.

· The acute shortage of home working opportunities for disabled people. Research shows that disabled people are underrepresented in occupations where working from home is technologically viable, and disproportionally work in low-paid, non-managerial, and routine occupations where working from home is not feasible.

· The negative impact of sanctions on disability employment outcomes. The rationale for moving more claimants out of the LCWRA group is that they would be motivated to undertake work preparation, but there is no research evidence of this. There is, however, evidence that conditionality increases mental distress and that the UK sanctions regime has had an adverse effect on disabled people’s employment outcomes.

· The existing WCA descriptors are already a poor proxy for assessing work capability among people with Long-Term Conditions, and only account for fatigue in terms of mobilising, rather than the broader disabling impact of energy impairment. The system does not take into account the core health-related barriers to work faced by this population.

We strongly oppose any proposed changes that would lead to even less accurate judgements about disabled people’s capacity for work and expect our submission to be considered with due diligence. Our thoughts are with anybody struggling with increased mental and physical distress at the prospect of such changes.