Disability rights campaigners have long been expressing disquiet over the fairness of “fit for work tests” or Work Capability Assessments (WCA). Many people have been found well enough to look for employment, even though their own doctors are of the opposite opinion.
Thousands of individuals judged well enough to work have died within months, and the stress of undergoing the assessment has now been identified formally as the trigger for at least one suicide.
So this seems like a good moment to look at the actual likelihood of finding a job once you’ve been found fit to work.
Work programme results not as great as they look
You may have heard the recent DWP figures about the Work Programme: 459,000 people helped into employment, which sounds like a great result, until you look at it as part of the overall number of people pushed through the scheme, and find that it represents just 8% of the total. 1.26 million unemployed individuals have found themselves still unemployed at the end of the process, and you may not be surprised to learn that the worst-affected are those long-term sick and disabled people who were declared fit.
After a year on the Work Programme, only 7.7% of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants had achieved what is described in the jargon as a “job outcome” (does this mean a job?) This figure, which is for June, compares with 18% for all claimants and also shows a 1% fall on the previous quarter.
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