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Work Capability Assessment - Latest Stats (April 2011)

DWP have released the latest statistics for Work Capability Assessments relating to Employment and Support Allowance Claims (ESA). The data covers ESA claims to August 2010 and WCAs to November 2010.

The data really hasn't changed since the initial statistical reports from October 2009.  The headline figures are:

  • Support Group – 6%  (7%)
  • Work Related Activity Group – 16% (20%)
  • Fit for Work – 39%  (35%)
  • Claim closed before assessment complete – 36% 
  • Assessment still in progress – 2%

However, that's before the appeals on the Fit for Work decision have been made.  Around 40% of cases on appeal are won by claimants.  The figures in brackets are the post-appeal figures.  Worryingly when there are lower numbers of appeals, DWP decisions are more likely to be upheld.  Does that mean claimants are getting a fair and consistent service?

DWP's own research in early 2010 showed that of the "claim closed" cases, 50% are still sick, and only 13% move into employment.  It would be interesting for the same survey to be repeated now to reflect the current labour market conditions.

We aren't quite sure if the data supports Mr Grayling's assertion that, "We now know very clearly that the vast majority of new claimants for sickness benefits are in fact able to return to work," but the national roll out of WCAs for current Incapacity Benefit will commence this summer, regardless of the figures.  

Click here for the DWP press release and access to the April 2011 statistics (which isn't really April 2011 data at all - that's just the publication date).

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