22 May 2013
What: The upper tribunal delivers its judgement on the Mental Health Resistance Network case, finding that DWP breached its duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act by leaving claimants to collect their own medical evidence for their assessments. It orders DWP to investigate how to ensure the necessary medical evidence can be obtained, with the judges set to deliver a final ruling later this year.
Why significant: Judges reaching the same decision about the unfairness of the WCA that had been reached by claimants, activists and politicians. The case is crucial in highlighting DWP’s continuing refusal to make changes to the collection of medical evidence in the early stages of claims, particularly for those with mental distress. But the judgment also makes clear that the WCA is not purely a “functional” test. One of the problems associated with points – based testing is that there will always be exceptions for claimants who don’t fit the ‘right’ boxes. Any concession on ‘exceptions’ is effectively an admission that points-based assessment just does not work for all.