Government Renounces Any Liability For Harm Suffered By Disabled Benefits Claimants

by richardhutton

In reply to the following question, asked by Margaret Garioch (Countess Of Mar) in the House of Lords:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what person or organisation is legally liable for the wellbeing of benefits claimants who are found to be fit for work under the work capability assessment and who are then made to work.

David Freud answered at length:

The purpose of the work capability assessment (WCA) is to assist DWP decision-makers in assessing eligibility for benefit, or levels of benefit. The WCA is not a medical diagnosis and the decision affects benefit only; it does not oblige anyone to work.

Whilst the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is legally responsible for all benefit decisions made by officials of the department on his behalf, there is no legal responsibility held by the Secretary of State for the well-being of benefit claimants.

Therefore, neither DWP nor WCA healthcare professionals are liable for any adverse consequence suffered by a claimant following a decision that the claimant is fit for work or for work-related activity.

It has long been known by the Department for Work and Pensions that a high number of people made to attend Work-Related Activity Groups have died within a short space of time. So, not only do the government know this – they also refuse to take responsibility for it.

Source: Written Answers, Column WA301, Wednesday 19th December 2012 (Hansard)