Trapped in a Cycle of Work Capability Assessments and Appeals

Disability claimants pushed to the brink by 'faceless' benefits system

Charities express anger at near-continuous work assessments that patients with incurable conditions are forced to endure

Fourteen years ago, Christian Dalley sustained serious brain damage in a motorbike accident and had to undergo two emergency lobotomies in the days after the crash. Although in some ways his recovery has been remarkable, the injuries to his brain have left him barely able to read and struggling to organise his life.

His neurosurgeon's assessment is that he will find it "very difficult to return to any form of paid employment", a conclusion that Dalley, with some regret, views as accurate.

However, shortly before Christmas, Dalley had his third Atos work capability assessment in as many years. He points out that since 2009, he has been caught up in a near-continuous process of persuading benefits staff that he cannot work. He was twice ruled fit for work and he twice appealed against the decision at a tribunal, where judges on both occasions found him not capable of working and reinstated sickness benefits.

Charities have expressed anger at the number of people with long-term, incurable conditions who are caught in a similar cycle, being forced on repeated occasions to prove that they are not able to work, despite supplying medical evidence that indicates that their condition is permanent and will not improve.

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