Benefits test penalises most vulnerable, says mental health charity Rethink

In response to Professor Malcolm Harrington’s third and final official review of the government’s Work Capability Assessment (WCA) published today, Paul Jenkins, CEO of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said:

“We are pleased that Professor Harrington has acknowledged how difficult it is for people with a mental illness to get a fair hearing through this process. The way things currently stand, people who are extremely ill and vulnerable, who may not even be well enough to leave the house, are expected to proactively gather their own medical evidence to prove just how ill they are. This is a perverse system, which penalises those who are most unwell and are therefore less able to chase up health professionals and fill in endless complex forms.

“We very much hope the government will listen to Professor Harrington’s concerns and will work with us and health professionals to develop a better system, which we believe should put the onus on decision makers to gather medical evidence, not claimants with severe mental illness.

“In the meantime, the mass reassessment of claimants should be halted. It’s an absolute scandal that every day, ill and vulnerable people continue to be subjected to a process which is not fit for purpose.”


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Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to

Rachel Whitehead
News and Media Manager, Rethink Mental Illness
0207 840 3138
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Rethink Mental Illness is the operating name of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England Number 1227970. Registered charity no. 271028. Registered Office 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP.