A ‘big society’ scheme born out of legal aid cuts has won back £1m in benefits for sick and disabled clients wrongly assesssed as able to work
Almost all of the 200 “fit for work“ test appeals undertaken by a student volunteer project have been won, providing more evidence of the unreliability of the government’s controversial work capability assessment (WCA).
The programme was created by Avon and Bristol Law centre, two years ago using a handpicked team of law students to fill the gap created by legal aid cuts in 2013. Legal aid has all but disappeared for welfare benefits work.
The centre revealed this week that the students have won 95% of the appeals they took to Bristol’s Social security and Child Support tribunal, successfully reinstating £1m of benefits for ill and disabled clients wrongly assessed by the WCA as able to work.
Most of those clients who turned to the Avon and Bristol project after being found fit for work had mental health problems or severe physical illness.