Introduced in 2008, the work capability assessment (WCA) is used by the UK government to limit access to the long-term sickness and disability benefit, known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The scope of the assessment was increased in 2010.
Extensive evidence suggesting that the WCA is a dangerous and fatally flawed assessment model for disabled and chronically sick people continues to be disregarded by successive governments. This article identifies the influence of American corporate funders with UK welfare reform policies since 1992.
I argue that these influences have shaped the WCA in ways which cause preventable harm in the lives of chronically sick and disabled people, who are dependent upon the ESA for their financial survival. Further, I argue that the ESA assessment process was adopted to encourage the general public to purchase income protection insurance which intentionally undermines the UK welfare state.
Successive calls for welfare reform in the UK are not as progressive as they might appear to the outside world. From the point of view of chronically sick and disabled people themselves, the problems started thirty-five years ago under the Thatcher government when privatisation, a consumer model of care and individualism were introduced, arguably to the detriment of disabled people.