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Burden of Proof

The role of medical evidence in the benefits system

Our ‘Burden of Proof’ report explores the role that medical evidence plays in assessing ill health and disability benefits, from the perspective of Citizens Advice Bureaux clients, advisers and some of the professionals involved.

This report is based on evidence gathered by Citizens Advice Scotland during 2016 and 2017 exploring the use of medical evidence to assess ill health and disability benefits. It includes findings from an analysis of existing qualitative and quantitative data held by the CAB service in Scotland and, in addition, data gathered via a survey of CAB advisers, an online mapping exercise, and a survey of GPs and other health professionals. Eighteen Citizens Advice Bureaux from across Scotland participated in the project by undertaking surveys in their local areas, and gathering longitudinal case histories and documentary evidence.

The findings reveal a complex picture, but suggest that in many cases, not enough information is available at initial claim stage, or at Mandatory Reconsideration stage, to make fully informed and accurate decisions.

The case analysis showed a pattern in which clients received few points at initial claim stage and are disallowed the benefit, then requested a reconsideration of the decision, at which point the decision remained unchanged, and then appealed the decision and were awarded the benefit in the majority of cases.

Rhiannon Sims
Publication date
June 2017
Publication type
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