Dick Acworth, a former vicar and Archdeacon of Bath and Wells, has a son with bipolar disorder who was wrongly found fit for work by the DWP using the controversial Work Capability Assessment.
In May, as part of an ongoing Judicial Review of the Work Capability Assessment, three judges ruled that the process is unfair for people with a mental illness and puts them at a ‘substantial disadvantage’.
Despite this, the DWP is continuing to use the process to assess roughly 6,000 people a week with mental health problems.
With backing from the national charity, Rethink Mental Illness Dick’s petition calls on Iain Duncan Smith to temporarily stop reassessing people with a mental illness who are being moved from incapacity benefit to the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), until changes are made to the test, to ensure it’s fair.
The 76-year-old said: “If my son didn’t have parents to support him and push through a benefits appeal, I don’t know what he would have done. I really fear for other people who don’t have anyone to help them through such a difficult process. I try as much as I can to shield my son from the stress, but this has taken a real toll on me and his mother.
“It is intolerable that the government is putting people through so much stress and anxiety just to get the support they need. In many cases this unfair test is making people more ill. Everyone deserves the chance to be treated fairly.”