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Flawed benefit tests: Scottish CABs saw over 75,000 cases last year

Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to today’s statement by the Mental Welfare Commission about the flaws in the benefit system.

CAS Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says, 

“For years now we have been consistently pointing out the serious flaws we see in the Work Capability Assessment system for the Employment Support Allowance (ESA).   

“The Mental Welfare Commission today highlights one particularly distressing case, but it would be wrong to imagine that such cases are unusual. ESA cases are the single biggest issue that we see in the Scottish CAB service. These cases include people with both mental and physical health problems who have been judged ‘fit for work’ when they are very clearly not, which causes them great distress and pushes many of them into poverty. 

“In 2010/11 the Scottish CAB service saw 36,827 ESA cases. In 2012/13 we saw 75,967. That’s an increase of 106%. Significantly, 61% of the appeals we undertake for ESA clients are successful, which shows there are endemic problems in the original decision process. 

“So anyone who is having problems with ESA or any other benefit should know that they can get free, expert help and advice from the CAB. But it’s very clear that there are very serious flaws in the whole system, and that this is still affecting a large and growing number of people. The government needs to over-haul the system and tackle these flaws before anyone else has to suffer unnecessarily.”

For more information on our case statistics, see the link below. 


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