Jan 162013


DPAC Press Release 

WCA Descriptors fail, DWP fails, Atos fails.  

Does any part of Work Capability Assessment actually work?

A recent case has come to light which proves beyond doubt, as many people suspected, that:

 -the Work Capability Assessment is a complete shambles,

 -the WCA Descriptors are completely inadequate at assessing fitness for work,

-the Descriptors fail miserably to capture a person’s level of disability,

-the Descriptors fail to predict the long term prognosis of a disabled or a sick person,

-the DWP and Atos over-reliance on these descriptors explain the number of successful appeals against Fit to Work decisions.

 It is unimaginable that the DWP and Atos are unaware of these failings, however they continue to give more weight to WCA Descriptors than to Professional Medical Evidence.

 In the following case, and many other cases, judgement based on Medical Evidence is the only solid basis for robust, fair and reliable assessment of a level of disability.

 It is also the only solid basis for predictability of ability to return  to work. This is  clearly illustrated by Charles’ story (shown below).

 Finally the asinine crudeness and sheer stupidity of what the DWP have the impudence to call a ‘medical report’ is shown by a copy of Charles’ report (attached).
If there is a case to illustrate the inadequacy and the irrelevance of  using Descriptors for WCA assessment, it is this.

 If there is a case to show the casual and irresponsible attitude of the Department of Work and Pensions towards Sick and Disabled benefit Claimants, it is this.

 If there is a case to show that Atos computer based assessments are not fit for purpose, it is this.

 How much longer will this rotten system be allowed to continue to fail Sick and Disabled people within our Society?


Here is Charles’ Story:

 Charles stopped work after contracting a serious viral infection in July 2009 and was also diagnosed as having ME in November 2009. He claimed ESA in June 2010.

 In 2011 he had an Atos WCA assessment, which found him fit to work but after appeal he was put in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).

 He was placed again in the WRAG after a second assessment in January 2012, although he felt he should be in the Support Group, but was too ill to appeal the decision. 

A few months later, in April 2012, he was diagnosed as having Leukaemia and a degenerative dysfunction of the spinal cord.

 Following this, on several occasions he contacted the Benefits Office to request to be put in the Support Group, but received no direct response.

 In April 2012, his ESA was stopped because his savings exceeded the threshold but in August 2012 he notified the Benefits Office that that was no longer the case and sent a letter in September to explain his financial situation.

 He did not receive any response, and he was still not receiving any benefits, although in September 2012, he was sent another ESA50 form to complete.

 In September 2012, he requested a copy of the report from his last ATOS assessment from January 2012.

 Although he did not receive this report despite a further request, a few days later he received a Medical Report dated mid 2012, which until then he did not know existed, having never met the ‘author’ of the Report, a Registered Nurse and Approved  Disability Analyst.

 Reading the report, Charles was astonished to discover that although the nurse who reviewed the medical evidence stated explicitly that he was unlikely to return to work the medical evidence did not score any points for him against the descriptors.

 As Charles has been too unwell to return to work, it seems that the nurse’s judgement, based on the medical evidence presented to her, was right, and that the descriptors were unable to capture Charles’ level of disability and his long term prognosis.

 This fact was recognised by the nurse who wrote that if Charles was called to Board he would score above the threshold but that there was insufficient evidence that he met the LCWRA descriptors.

 But because the DWP decided that more weight should be given to the descriptors than the medical evidence, the nurse’s recommendations were disregarded, although ultimately they were correct.

 Charles pursued the matter, with assistance, and the decision not to place him in the Support Group was reversed in November 2012, backdated to February 2012


 the link takes you to  a copy of the Medical Report for Charles’ case (reproduced with his permission), clearly showing that the Descriptors give Charles a clean bill of health, while in reality he is completely unfit for work.

 For further information, please contact Annie Howard anniehoward83@gmail.com

 ESA report form 



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  10 Responses to “DPAC Press Release: WCA Descriptors fail, DWP fails, Atos fails.”

  1. I was born with juvenile rhoumatiod arthritis I worked till 15 years ago I am 59 in april it just got to much so I lost my job through ill health then last year I was sent for a medical I was under the hospital for my hips and the nurse could see how much pain I was in but on her report my hips were normal so I lost my appeal am the stopped my money with a month the hospital said my hips were so bad they needed a operation which I have just had 10th jan when I got home there was a letter saying I have to go to another medical 28th jan I cant walk around the flat

  2. What’s the betting Charles gets called for another assessment in February 2013 and the result will be identical, another 9 months of waiting and worrying and another reversal!

    The time has come as said in the House of Commons to fix what is broken, not by stickng it together with sticky tape and chewing gum, but by disassembling and reassembling correctly.

  3. I’ve seen reports like that one before – that’s what happens when they decide it’s not even worth looking at capability for work, and skip straight to LCWRA (SG criteria).

    What that’s saying is that he obviously meets the LCW (WRAG) criteria, not worth going into detail, but does not meet the LCWRA (SG) criteria.

    Though it’s pretty hard to figure that out.

  4. This is just one of the horror stories of Atos and DWP decision makers getting it totally wrong. They are a complete waste of taxpayers money. People are dying without managing to overturn wrong decisions.

  5. This is another disguting case of the shameful behaviour by ATOS and the DWP it is clear to me that what they are doing is intentional and as such I find myself wishing for some harsh penalty to be meted out upon the members of these organisations, ones I do not normally favour, a public flogging in ever town at a pillory then the said fellons to be taken to Trafalgar square and burned in a wickerman, I know thats a little extreme but so is victimising and hounding disabled people to death

  6. NOTHING can or will change as it is UNUM Insurance who boast that they are ‘guiding UK welfare reforms’.

    Successive UK Gvts have already decided to remove the welfare state to move the UK to the US system of ‘welfare’ funded by private insurance, and Unum Insurance were on the committee that agreed the entirely bogus so called ‘descriptors’.

    See: Welfare Reform – Redress For The Disabled at: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html
    This report was quoted during the welfare reform debates in the House of Lords and the Gvt refused to accept the many ammendments advised from the House of Lords.

  7. The descriptors are beyond a joke. I admire Charles’ courage, not just for fighting back, but for standing up and being counted.

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