Help create a future beyond the Work Capability Assessment: an invitation

By Stef Benstead
September 25, 2015

Ekklesia is committed to the abolition of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). We are therefore working with Stef Benstead, an independent researcher who lives personally with the issues she is researching, to help develop a new system designed by disabled people. We invite you to take part in our survey. Trigger Warning: The survey is a standard questionnaire which we hope the majority of people will feel comfortable with. We are aware, however, that for some people, filling in a questionnaire like this will remind them of the distress caused by the WCA. If you feel this may be the case for you but have ideas about the new system, we invite you to send your thoughts via the email address provided.

Do you have a mental or physical health condition? I am pleased to be able to invite you to help to design a new system for sickness benefits that is informed by disabled people and their real-life barriers to work.

This survey is part of a project to design a replacement for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). We consider the WCA to be too flawed and broken to be satisfactorily fixed. It needs to be abolished and a new system developed. The people best able to do this are those who are affected by long term illness.

The survey is designed for people with long-term illness to contribute their views on what affects their ability to find and keep work, what support they need and what a proper assessment process should look like.

Our survey results will be analysed and written up into a report that will present a newly designed system which will be based on the majority views given in this survey.

The survey consists of thirty questions, mostly multiple choice, and you can save your progress and return to where you left off.

Give us your views about what a replacement to ESA and the WCA should look like here: http://tinyurl.com/wcasurvey

Read more about the project, and some guidance notes, here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22113

Download the PDF (Adobe Acrobat) or Word versions of the survey at the foot of this page (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/esawcasurvey) if you prefer to read it through before completing online here, or in order to complete on paper.

I am pleased to be working with Ekklesia and to be collaborating with grassroots disability groups on this project. I have been working on issues relating to disability and social security for over four years, since I first became ill myself. Prior to becoming ill, I was at university studying for a PhD, but I was unable to sustain this work.

Most of my work in the last four years has centred on ESA and the WCA, investigating the multiple flaws in the WCA and studying how other countries assess incapacity benefits.

Founded in 2002, Ekklesia is a public policy think-tank that explores the changing nature of the relationship between politics and beliefs in a plural world. It is committed to social justice, peacemaking, environmental sustainability and new economy - and especially to fresh ways of policy making which start with, and are accountable to, people living at the sharp end of public and political decision making.

We are grateful to the Passionist Small Grants Fund for supporting this project financially.

Thank you for taking part in this project, and/or for promoting the survey to others you know. Together we can make a difference!

* More on disability issues from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/disability


© Stef Benstead is an independent researcher specialising in issues related to long-term illness and disability. Contact: ekklesiasurvey@gmail.com

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.