Work capability assessment system at ‘virtual collapse’, says judge

Benefit tales

Robert Martin, outgoing head of benefits appeal tribunal, says DWP was too optimistic about conducting fit-to-work tests

The outgoing head of the tribunal which hears appeals relating to social security benefits has said that the work capability assessment (WCA) has undergone “virtual collapse” and accused the Department for Work and Pensions of being overly optimistic about the pace at which fit-for-work tests were being carried out.

Writing in the Judicial Information Bulletin, a confidential journal distributed to tribunal members, Judge Robert Martin, who retired as president of the social entitlement chamber at the end of last month, says that the tribunal was advised by the DWP to expect a surge in its workload. But he says problems with delivery of the government’s welfare shakeup and the removal of legal aid funding for challenging benefits decisions meant there was actually a drop in cases, from more than 50,000 in July 2013…

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