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Last on

Tue 20 Dec 2011 20:00 BBC Radio 4

40 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Government wants to cut the benefits bill, but how should it decide who is and isn't fit for work? Anita Anand investigates the new assessment scheme being used to decide between deserving claimants and those who are playing the system.

This programme takes us inside the controversial new series of tests and forms being used to decide who is eligible for the 'employment support allowance' - the replacement for the old incapacity benefit - and who needs extra support in getting back into the jobs market. Disability campaigners claim the new system is too crude to measure fairly claimants' fitness to work, but how exactly does it work?

Anita Anand follows four people with different disabilities and health problems through the process. She meets claimants, sees their day-to-day lives and learns how their medical conditions affect them and the jobs they could do - from visual impairment to depression, cerebral palsy and ME. We follow all four people through the assessments - from filling in the forms to the 'computer-led' medical, the results and the appeals process.

  • Is the new disabled work benefit working?

    Is the new disabled work benefit working?

    Employment minister Chris Grayling says he is confident glitches in the system used to decide who is fit to work have been fixed. Two years after the new 'work capability test' was introduced, what's it like for those who go through the assessment?

    Read producer Helen Grady's article on the BBC news website


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