In the wake of I. Daniel Blake, Employment Support Allowance and how it is assessed has become quite high profile.
With Politicians from all sides of the House offering their opinion as to if the Work Capability Assessment is fit for purpose. Despite their opposing positions, they all seem to agree that the most severely disabled are the most protected within that process.
So, I thought it was time that I raised awareness of part of the Employment and Support Allowance decision process that directly contradicts the latter Opinion, as in it only affects those who most Severely disabled.
A lot of the public is becoming aware of the rather flawed Face to Face assessment which most claimants of ESA have to undergo, however very few are knowledgeable in respect the illusive ‘paperwork assessment’.
The idea behind the Paperwork only assessment, is that the Most Vulnerable/Severely disabled are not required undergo the Face-Face assessment and Yes, when the Department of Work and Pensions properly handle this, it can considerably reduce the stress upon these persons.
However, there is a fundamental flaw in this, if you go through the WCA face-face assessment, should you be incorrectly scored less than 15 points (which will declare you as ‘not of limited capability for work’ or ‘fit for work’ in non-doublespeak), you then apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration. If this does not correct matters, then you have a right for an appeal.
Once this is all registered, you can continue to file ‘fit notes’ (Sick notes) from your GP with the DWP and they will reinstate benefits (normally at the lower assessment rate) up until the Tribunal hearing.
The issue that arises here is that so called failsafe income legislation is based upon a claimant undergoing the Face-to-Face assessment. As you may have already guessed, those who require a paperwork only assessment (which as I mentioned previously is only applied to those with the most severe mental/physical impairments), will be left with a 12+ month wait with no income at all.
This is made worse by the fact that their impairments are so severe that they cannot even in principle claim Job Seekers Allowance, therefore they do not qualify for hardship payments.
So rather than arguing as to if a Fictional interpretation of the hardships that claimants face is correct or not, let’s start dealing with the 100% proven fact that the current system WCA legislation/Policy is Genuinely failing the most severely disabled persons in our Country.