Guardian: Bending the rules

From the Guardian’s Melissa Viney, Wednesday 28 October 2009:

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Bending the rules

Critics of new medical tests aimed at getting claimants off benefits and into work say they are target-driven measures that penalise genuinely ill people.

By Melissa Viney

[Photo of Anna Wood] Anna Wood, who has severe ME and is dependent on help from her home carer, was initially deemed ineligible for the new form of incapacity benefit. Photograph: Frank Baron

“Had Anna Wood realised that by bending down to pick up an object off the floor she would be deemed fit to work, perhaps the 33-year-old former academic would have thought twice. Wood, who had been forced to give up a prestigious fellowship position at Strathclyde University last year after developing severe ME, was made to perform the exercise as part of a medical test that all claimants of the new sickness benefit for ill and disabled people have to undertake….”

“…This tough medical test, called the work capability assessment (WCA), is at the heart of controversial changes to sickness benefit that were introduced last October when employment support allowance (ESA) replaced incapacity benefit (IB) for new claimants…”

Read full article here