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1940-01-012023-12-08 Disability Assessments

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Alan McArdle
Alison Ravetz
Amber Rudd
Angus Robertson
Atos
BBC
Ben Baumberg Geiger
Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts
Black Triangle Campaign
Boris Johnson
Brian McArdle
British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
British Medical Association
British Psychoanalytic Council
British Psychological Society
Capita
Carer Watch
Carol Black
Centre for Welfare Reform
Channel 4
Child Poverty Action Group
China Mills
Chloe Smith
Christian Wilcox
Citizens Advice
Colin Traynor
Conservative Party
Court of Appeal
Daily Mail
David Barr
David Cameron
David Clapson
David Freud
David Gauke
Debbie Abrahams
Deidre Brock
Demos
Department for Work and Pensions
Department of Health
Department of Health and Social Care
Department of Health and Social Security
Department of Social Security
Diane Hullah
Disability Murals Project
Disability News Service
Disability Rights UK
Disabled People Against Cuts
Disabled People’s Direct Action Network
Disabled People’s Organisations
Dolly Sen
Dr Paul Litchfield
Dr Stephen Carty
Ed Miliband
Edward Jacques
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Errol Graham
Faiza Ahmed (Sophie)
Frances McCormack
George Osborne
Gordon Waddell
Hannah Kemp-Welch
Iain Duncan Smith
Inclusion London
Jackie Doyle-Price
James Oliver
James Purnell
Jane Bence
Jeremy Corbyn
Job Centre Plus
Jodey Whiting
John Major
John McDonnell
Joseph Rowntee Foundation
Joy Dove
Kamil Ahmad
Karen Sherlock
Keith Joseph
Ker Featherstone
Kevan Jones
Kim Burton
Labour Party
Lawrence Bond
Liam Byrne
Liberal Democrats
Lilian Greenwood
Linda Wootton
Liverpool University
Liz Crow
Liz Sayce
Lord Bach
Luke Alexander Loy
Mad Pride
Malcolm Harrington
Mansel Aylward
Maria Eagle
Mark Barber
Mark Harper
Mark Wood
Marsha de Cordova
Mary Hassell
Maximus
Mental Health and Unemployment in Scotland
Mercy Baguma
Michael Meacher
Michael O’Sullivan
Mike Penning
Mike Wood
Mind
Ministry of Justice
Moira Drury
Ms DE
National Audit Office
National Health Service
New Approach
Nick Dilworth
Nick Wikeley
Office of Population Censuses and Surveys
Pat’s Petition
Paul Donnachie
Paul Farmer
Paul Reekie
Peter Hain
Peter Lilley
Peter Schofield
Philip Pakree
Philippa Day
Priti Patel
Psychologists Against Austerity
Public Law Project
Rachel Reeves
Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance
Recovery in The Bin
Rethink
Revolving Doors
Richards Caseby
Rick Burgess
Roy Curtis
Scottish National Party
Scrap Universal Credit Alliance
Sema
Sheila Holt
Sir Leigh Lewis
Sisters of Frida
Social Security Advisory Committee
Spartacus Network
Stephanie Bottrill
Stephen Carré
Stephen Crabb
Stephen Smith
Steve Webb
Supplementary Benefits Commission
Susan Roberts
Terence Talbot
The Express
The Green party
The Mental Health Resistance Network
The National Autistic Society
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research
The One Nation Group
The Sun
Theresa May
Therese Coffey
Thompson Hall
Tim Salter
Timothy Finn
Tom Osborne
Tony Blair
Turn2Us
UK Council for Psychotherapy
Uncut
United Nations
Unum
Vince Laws
William Beveridge
WinVisible
Work and pensions committee
WOW Campaign
Yvette Cooper
National Assistance Amendment Acts and Determination of Needs Regulations.
National Insurance (NI) Act 1965 and the Ministry of Social Security Act (MSSA) 1966.
Department for Health and Social Security (DHSS) says needs are to be determined by resources.
Invalidity Benefit regulations introduced requiring a doctor’s certificate.
US insurance company Unum Provident advise the UK government on ‘welfare reform’ to reduce the number of claimants of long-term sickness benefits.
Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 receives royal assent.
Key measures from the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 come into force, including replacing Invalidity Benefit with Incapacity Benefit, and introducing the points-based All Work Test, as well as regulation 27 – providing a ‘safety net’ for those who faced a ‘substantial risk’ of harm if they were found capable of work.
Professor Wikeley publishes paper highlighting the risks of The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994, saying that it reaffirms idea of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, begins the move away from GP-led benefits assessments, and is designed to encourage people to take up private insurance, leaving marginalised groups with inadequate protection.
Paper (co-written by US insurance company UnumProvident Vice President) suggests removing GPs from assessing fitness to work.
Ministers in the John Major administration approve decision to outsource medical assessments for benefits.
The Department of Social Security tells the Social Security Advisory Committee that intended policy changes to remove the ‘substantial risk’ rules (which provide vital safeguarding) would have no detrimental effect.
Child Poverty Acton Group (CPAG) writes to the Social Security Advisory Committee.
Department of Social Security says removing ‘significant risk’ regulation is ‘neutral’ despite providing a ‘safety net’ for those facing a ‘significant risk’ of harm if found capable of work. This means the committee does not see a formal referral and the regulation is approved by parliament (the removal will later be found to be unlawful).
Clinicians appointed by the DSS removal of regulation 27, which provides vital safeguarding to those whose mental and/or physical health is ‘substantial risk’ if found fit to work.
Regulation 27 ‘substantial risk’ – a key safety net for claimants at risk of serious harm if they are found fit for work – is removed from regulations.
Child Poverty Action group raises concerns over removal of “significant risk” clause – finding that the Social Security Advisory Committee had been ‘misled’ by the DSS.
‘Permanent Health Insurance’ Westminster Hall debate by Clive Efford MP debated the increasing wrongful denial of PHI claims.
The All Work Test is reformed and renamed the Personal Capability Assessment, and is outsourced to SEMA, which would be taken over by Atos.
National Audit Office report finds “serious problems” with medical assessment of Incapacity and disability benefits.
Woodstock conference on “malingering and illness deception”, partly funded by UnumProvident and DWP, will play a key role in justifying welfare reform.
News programmes expose claims denial practices in the USA at Unum (who are currently advising the UK government on welfare reform).
National Audit Office report finds backlog of assessment cases and early signs of DWP’s failure to seek medical evidence early in the assessment process.
DWP’s chief medical adviser, Mansel Aylward, gives evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee over accusations that health care professionals, carrying out assessments on behalf of DWP, are treating claimants like “lumps of meat.”
US insurance giant UnumProvident says it is driving government policy on Incapacity Benefit reform.
DWP commission a report on ‘The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits’, which lays the framework for the 2006 Welfare Reform Bill.
The New Labour government publishes “A New Deal for Welfare” green paper, introducing the new employment and support allowance, which will replace incapacity benefit and include conditionality for most claimants.
Tony Blair supports welfare shake-up, warning that unemployed people, single parents and those on incapacity benefit that they could no longer expect “a lifetime” on benefit.
DWP publishes progress report on developing the work capability assessment.
Welfare Reform Act 2007 receives royal assent, introducing changes that will impact millions of disabled people, including the new employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA).
Labour announces the new work capability assessment for claiming employment and support allowance, with DWP claiming that “Fifty per cent of those who take the assessment will not pass it”.
Bid to regulate health care professionals carrying out work capability assessments fails.
David Freud suggests that less than a third of those claiming incapacity benefit are legitimate claimants.
Work and pensions secretary (of the Blair administration) announces plans to get tough on “scroungers” by retesting everyone on Incapacity Benefit through the new Work Capability Assessment.
Introduction of Employment and Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment – key elements of Labour’s welfare reform which aims to use conditionality to cut spending on out-of-work benefits.
White Paper ‘Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future’, which claims that “everyone on incapacity benefit” will be moved to ESA, and supports use of conditionality and sanctions, is discussed in House of Lords.
The Express publishes misleading and inaccurate benefit fraud story about incapacity benefit claimants “faking their illnesses”.
The death of Stephen Carré after finding that DWP had confirmed its decision to find him ineligible for ESA.
Coroner Tom Osborne receives initial response to the Stephen Carré PFD from DWP permanent secretary Sir Leigh Lewis.
Coroner Tom Osborne replies to Sir Leigh Lewis, saying that DWP does not need to investigate the circumstances surrounding Stephen Carré’s death but does need to investigate use of medical evidence.
Budget reveals plans to slash spending on disability living allowance through a new assessment process.
Iain Duncan Smith suggests disabled people are to blame for planned cuts to Disability Living Allowance.
Coroner Tom Osborne writes to the father of Stephen Carré, saying he has received no “substantive response” to his prevention of future deaths report.
Professor Malcolm Harrington publishes his first independent review of the Work Capability Assessment, finding that the system is “impersonal” but not “broken” (later evidence would emerge that he had not been informed by DWP of the coroner’s report for Stephen Carré.)
Insurance provider Unum denies it will profit from incapacity benefit reform.
Iain Duncan Smith tells Conservative party conference that incapacity benefit is abused and open to fraud.
BBC broadcasts The Future State of Welfare, which mirrors government rhetoric, and uses faulty data, about the work capability assessment system.
Mind chief executive resigns from Work Capability Assessment (WCA) review scrutiny panel, arguing that the assessment process “isn’t working”.
Doctors vote to end the work capability assessment (WCA), thanks to lobbying from disabled activists.
The death of Karen Sherlock, 2 weeks after she was told she would be eligible once again to receive Employment support Allowance (ESA).
Email leaked from Jobcentre managers to staff after a claimant attempts suicide after being told his sickness benefit would be cut off.
Two investigative documentaries about Atos and the work capability assessment (WCA) are broadcast on the same night, showing evidence of target driven assessment culture.
MP raises concerns over the death of Colin Traynor, whose family say they “hold the Government…personally responsible”.

25 September 2012

The death of Edward Jacques, a week after his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped, which his family say was a major “trigger”. The coroner raises issues with the assessment process, specifically the failure to get medical evidence.

27 September 2012

The death of Brian McArdle, the day after he was deemed “fit to work” following a work capability assessment (WCA).
WOW Petition Campaign, created by disabled people and building on Pat’s Petition, calls for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reforms.
DWP suggests that providing further medical evidence would be too heavy a burden on GPs.
Linda Wootton dies nine days after DWP upholds its decision to declare her “fit for work.”
DWP introduces mandatory reconsiderations – a new internal appeal stage for benefits. 
The death of Stephanie Bottrill  – her suicide note blames the government’s “bedroom tax”.
The death of Mark Wood after being found ineligible for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
The death of David Barr, a month after the confirmation of the decision to find him fit for work, which his Father says was the trigger leading to his suicide. 

24 September 2013

The death of Michael O’Sullivan after being found fit for work.
The death of Tim Salter after being found fit for work. A coroner later ruled that a major factor in his death was the reduction in his benefits.
10,000 Cuts and Counting event in Parliament Square to remember the thousands of disabled people who have died shortly after a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The Spartacus Network leads the Second People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, including accounts of deaths linked to being found fit for work. 
Publication of fourth independent review of the Work Capability Assessment – with no mention of deaths or suicides.
Court of Appeal upholds ruling that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against some disabled people.
Despite the Court of Appeal ruling that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against people with mental health conditions, the DWP tells senior civil servants it is “business as usual”.
Inquest into the death of Michael O’Sullivan, where the Coroner concludes that the trigger for Michael O’Sullivan’s suicide was his assessment as being fit for work, and writes a prevention of future deaths report to DWP, saying that “there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.
The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland publishes a report into the death of Ms DE, finding that the process and denial of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) were a major factor in her suicide.
Launch of New Approach campaign and release of work capability assessment report – finding the process “abusive” and “inhumane”.
DWP data shows increase in use of sanctions against Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants.
The new Conservative minister for disabled people insists DWP is right to ignore reports of deaths linked to benefits.
DWP admits for the first time that it carries out investigations into some deaths of claimants.
Faiza Ahmed (known to her family as Sophie) dies by suicide, hours after telling a jobcentre work coach that she was suicidal.
Litchfield publishes fifth and final independent review of the work capability assessment, with no mention of the DWP’s own reviews into deaths of claimants.
Labour MP speaks of “core visits” procedures, which are supposed to be followed when a  “vulnerable” person is sanctioned.
A man (name kept anonymous) dies by suicide after being rejected for both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
DWP admits that 40 of the 49 peer reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants it has carried out were in response to suicides.
Maximus takes over from Atos as provider of work capability assessments, sparking protests.
The death of Sheila Holt, following a work capability assessment.
Dismissal of further medical evidence case on the work capability assessment and discrimination, but upper tribunal administrative appeals chamber criticises minister.
Black Triangle film listing people whose deaths are linked to the welfare system. 
DWP admits that 10 of the 49 claimants whose deaths were examined by peer reviews had had their benefits sanctioned.
DWP raises issues with sanctions and safeguarding of vulnerable claimants by the companies delivering its Work Programme.
The death of Luke Alexander Loy, three months after being found fit for work and sanctioned. His sister said “he died as a result of Tory cuts”.
The death of Moira Drury, after the removal of her employment and support allowance (ESA).
DWP publish statistics on how many people died while claiming out-of-work benefits.
The death of Alan McArdle, an hour after being told that DWP was threatening to sanction him – stopping his employment and support allowance (ESA).
Information commissioner rejects complaint about DWP refusal to release peer reviews, supporting DWP’s’ response that this would breach data protection.
Mother of Mark Wood (who died after being found ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA)) gives evidence to UN committee.
The death of Paul Donnachie, after his employment and support allowance (ESA) is removed.
DWP, in guidance to healthcare professionals working for Maximus, changes suicide from a “definitive” “substantial risk” if forced into work, to something that should be weighed against ‘benefits of employment”.
Mental health experts describe how “ruthless” DWP forced through Work Capability Assessments despite knowing of harm.
National Audit Office (NAO) publishes report on disability assessments and private contractors.
Information Rights Tribunal hears Disability news Service case against the information commissioner over its finding that DWP did not need to release peer reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants.
Disabled activists ask Scottish police to investigate ministers over work capability assessment (WCA) deaths.
Capita faces fresh calls to be stripped of personal independence payment (PIP) contracts after release of Channel 4 undercover footage. 
DWP releases redacted versions of 49 peer reviews, showing that ministers were repeatedly warned that policies were putting the lives of “vulnerable” claimants at risk.
Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Deidre Brock backs calls to prosecute Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling for their failure to make the work capability assessment (WCA) safe.
The death of Susan Roberts, after being told she had lost a benefit appeal.
New reviews into deaths of people claiming benefits show DWP staff keep failing to follow suicide guidelines.
Changes to DWP guidance (including regulation 35) on safety and risk lead to sharp fall in claimants placed in employment and support allowance (ESA) support group, and increase in number of people found ‘fit for work’.
Freedom of information battle with DWP finds Maximus memo on suicide guidance and medical evidence was sent a few days after the existence of the Michael O’Sullivan prevention of future deaths report was first revealed.
The death of Lawrence Bond, hours after visiting jobcentre.
Report by Mental Health and Unemployment in Scotland finds that the work capability assessment (WCA) has a negative impact on mental health.
The death of Jodey Whiting, after being found fit for work, despite telling the DWP about her suicidal thoughts.
The death of Diane Hullah, linked to anxiety caused by the personal independence payment (PIP) application process.
DWP “has gone back on promise” to address work capability assessment (WCA) further medical evidence flaw.
The death of Mark Barber, shortly after learning his disability benefits would be cut. Coroner mentions stress linked to reassessment for disability benefits.
DWP data shows some groups are at substantially higher risk of experiencing a jobseekers allowance (JSA) sanction.
Disability News Service investigates allegations of professionals’ dishonesty in benefits assessments outsourced to Capita and Atos.
Government inquiry into benefits assessment processes receives unprecedented number of submissions.
Mental health charity Rethink publishes report on how the work capability assessment (WCA) discriminates against people with mental illness.
The Commons work and pensions committee finds the assessment system is undermined by “pervasive culture of mistrust”.
Research shows that benefit sanctions regime discriminates against disabled people claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA).
The death of Errol Graham, months after DWP wrongly stopped his employment support allowance (ESA), and failed to seek further medical evidence.
Number of DWP investigations (internal process reviews) into deaths of people claiming benefits double in two years.
Scottish government sets out plans to bring benefit assessments in-house.
The sister of a man with learning difficulties says his death was caused by his move onto the government’s “chaotic” universal credit system. 
The death of Roy Curtis, six days after being asked to attend a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA).
DWP figures show thousands died after having personal independence payment (PIP) claims rejected.
DWP figures suggest deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA) may have fallen.

28 March 2019

Secret recording of face-to-face benefits assessment shows Capita assessor lying about woman’s thoughts of suicide.
The death of James Oliver, a few months after DWP’s refusal to grant him personal independence payment (PIP).
The death of Stephen Smith, following an 18-month battle with DWP over being found fit for work.
Responses to freedom of information requests show DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services.
MP Debbie Abrahams asks the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate why evidence about deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA) was withheld from independent reviews.
The death of Philippa Day, after she had been told she would need to attend an assessment centre for a face-to-face appointment to decide her claim for personal independence payment (PIP).
The death of Christian Wilcox, a few days before he is due to attend an appeal tribunal into DWP’s decision to remove his personal independence payment (PIP).
Disability News Service publishes five-year investigation into deaths linked to the work capability assessment (WCA).
A doctor employed by Atos says DWP put “immense pressure” on Atos to find claimants fit for work.
Work and pensions secretary responds to questions from Chair of the work and pensions committee, telling him about DWP’s new “Service Excellence Directorate”, including funding for safeguarding and clarifying purpose of internal process reviews (IPRs).
Coroner’s prevention of future deaths report into death of Faiza Ahmed is made public, showing jobcentre’s failings contributed to her death.
New DWP figures show that, in just two years, 1,700 disabled people died within three months of having their claim for personal independence payment (PIP) rejected. 
Work and pensions secretary outlines DWP’s revised guidance on home visits procedures, while again saying the department has no duty of care.
New analysis of figures suggests DWP is failing to investigate hundreds of suicides of benefits claimants.

26 December 2020

Deaths
Disability Assessments
Duty of Care and Safeguarding
Department for Work and PensionsMaximusPhilip PakreeContent Warning: Self harmContent Warning: Suicide attempts Content Warning: Death
The death of Philip Pakree, after distress caused by an upcoming work capability assessment (WCA).
High court hears evidence from family of Errol Graham in judicial review hearing.
Coroner at Philippa Day’s inquest finds flawed personal independence payment (PIP) system led to her death.
Report from the all-party parliamentary group on health in all policies, says 2016 welfare reforms had devastating impacts on disabled people, and calls for inquiry into deaths of benefit claimants.
Research shows testimony from DWP staff admitting inflicting “psychological harm” on claimants to meet unofficial sanctioning targets during coalition years.
DWP publishes Shaping Future Support – health and disability green paper – failing to mention the internal process reviews carried out by the DWP following deaths of claimants.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the government has made no progress on improving the way its social security system protects the rights of disabled people, and that the disability benefits assessment system has led to “the deaths of a number of benefit claimants”.
DWP refuses to publish figures that would show how disabled people seeking to claim universal credit are experiencing the WCA process
DWP apologises to autistic man after work coach threatens to stick pins in his eyes.
Coroner says DWP ‘must act’ after it told severely ill patient to leave hospital to make a claim for universal credit.
Shadow minister says he wants an inquiry into DWP deaths if Labour wins power.
Whistleblower claims DWP is forcing distressed claimants to attend weekly meetings
Figures show Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) into deaths and serious harm of claimants  have doubled in three years.