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Iain Duncan Smith's Fit For Work Test 'Actively Discriminates Against Those With Mental Health Problems

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The judges ruled it unfairly discriminated against people with mental health problems | PA

The government's 'fit for work' test actively discriminates against those with mental health problems, a judge has ruled, in a verdict described as a "victory for thousands of people".

The Work Capability Assessment, is too difficult to navigate for those with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties, putting those with the disability at a significant disadvantage, it concluded.

The judges ruled that the DWP's process puts certain groups at a substantial disadvantage after the case was brought by two people with mental health problems, whose identities have been protected.

The Department for Work and Pensions said they disagreed with the ruling and will appeal against the decision.

DWP Press Office
We disagree with today’s ruling on WCA and will appeal. Already made significant improvements to the WCA for ppl w/mental health conditions

DWP Press Office
WCA was introduced in 2008, since 2010 the % of people with mental health conditions who go into support grp for ESA has more than tripled

DWP Press Office
We will carry on working with charities – incl Mind and the NAS - to continually improve the WCA for people with mental health problems

The WCA tests decide whether people are entitled to Employment and Support Allowance and are carried out on behalf of the government by companies such as Atos. Other documents are submitted along with the test, such as doctors notes. Lawyers for the two said it would be difficult for people suffering from mental illness or who have autism or a learning difficulty to find supporting documents and it should be up to the government to seek additional medical evidence.

The charities Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society intervened in the case to provide evidence showing how the people they work with have found it difficult to claim.

Mind's chief executive Paul Farmer said: "The judgment is a victory, not only for the two individuals involved in this case, but for thousands of people who have experienced additional distress and anxiety because they have struggled through an assessment process which does not adequately consider the needs of people with mental health problems."

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