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Citizens Advice welcomes new legal ruling on WCA

Two people with mental health problems have won a legal challenge against government tests for sickness benefit.

Commenting on the ruling, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said:

"After years of campaigning on behalf of people subjected to unfair sickness benefit tests, Citizens Advice welcomes a new legal ruling that finds parts of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) fails to make reasonable adjustments for people with mental illness, learning disabilities and autism.

"As a Citizens Advice recent report recommended, using claimants medical evidence to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) decisions right first time, is vital to the well-being of vulnerable people and the taxpayers pocket.

"DWP should grasp this opportunity to proactively request medical evidence and not rely on claimants to submit it themselves at an average cost of £35 out of their weekly benefit of £71.70 a week.  This will also save on costly appeals tribunals where more than a third of all ESA decisions that go to appeal, are overturned. This challenge was brought under the Equality Act - it's great to see the Act in action and making a real difference to people's lives."

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
  3. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  4. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  5. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.

 

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