David*, a father of two from Stroud, Gloucestershire, has watched his teenage son struggle with anxiety and increasing mental health problems after the WCA process found him fit for work. His son’s benefits were stopped six months ago, when he refused to attend a jobcentre. He does not blame the test for his son’s worsening mental health, but believes he was unfairly assessed, which did not help his situation.
The 19-year-old has severe irritable bowel syndrome and associated incontinence, for which he is receiving treatment, as well as mental health problems that were undiagnosed until recently. He was receiving employment support allowance (ESA), a lifeline that allowed him a degree of independence from his parents, who live in a semi-rural community.
“People are complex, people are different, that’s why the system is cruel,” David said. “Sometimes my son can take the dog for a walk, but other…
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