Benefits: Legal challenge on sickness benefits set to continue

Benefits: Legal challenge on sickness benefits set to continue

A challenge against the Government’s tests for eligibility for sickness benefits brought by two people with mental health issues will be allowed to proceed, reports the BBC.

The case is being brought by two anonymous applicants who suffer from mental health issues, and are claiming that the Government’s test for sickness benefit unfairly discriminates against those with mental health issues including autism and learning difficulties.

The case was first heard by judges in May this year, who agreed that the tests may disadvantage mentally ill benefits recipients; however, the Government launched an instant appeal.

However, now judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled that the original decision was accurate, meaning that the case for a judicial review of the sickness tests should now proceed.

The test under the spotlight is the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) that measure an individual’s entitlement for Employment and Support Allowances (ESAs).

The WCAs were first introduced in 2008.

It is now down to the Department for Work and Pensions to consider whether to take their case against a judicial review all the way to the UK Supreme Court, which would lead to a further delay in the outcome of the case.

Three leading charities, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society, have joined the case to reflect the views and opinions of their members and professional staff.

“The judges in the original ruling independently confirmed what our members and supporters have been saying for years – the system is unfair for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and is failing the very people it is meant to be supporting,” the three organisations said in a joint statement.

The Government stated that the WCA was the brainchild of the previous government and that it had made significant improvements to the process for those with mental health problems since coming into office in 2010.

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