13 April 1995
What: The act replaces Invalidity Benefit with Incapacity Benefit, and introduces the points-based All Work Test – a significant move towards so-called Disability Assessment Medicine,. Its scoring system treats impairments in isolation with no reference to the environment, and assessment remains subjective while being focused on narrower criteria, says social security expert Nick Wikeley. Only a few years previously, in 1991, the government had rejected using a points-based system for assessing entitlement to Disability Living Allowance and largely removed medical assessments, which were seen as ‘humiliating’ and ‘intrusive’, (according to Nick Wikeley). But new regulations did introduce regulation 27, which provided a ‘safety net’ for those who faced a ‘substantial risk’ of harm if they were found capable of work because they do not score enough points on the test. This would be decided by a doctor.
Why significant: The existence of regulation 27 shows government awareness of the substantial risk to mental or physical health in finding some people ‘capable of work’.