Preventable Harm and the Work Capability Assessment

Author: Mo Stewart

Mo Stewart has been one of the most important disability researchers in recent times. She has persisted in tracking down the source of some of the most regressive changes to the welfare state - now misleadingly named “Welfare Reforms”. Her book Cash Not Care provides a detailed survey of these changes and the reasons behind them.

In this short discussion paper she provides a brief overview of some of the most important elements in the development of a policy which is causing preventable harm to UK citizens:

  1. The initial change in policy, introduced by Mrs Thatcher, which aims to shift people from a system of public security to one of private health and disability insurance.
  2. The influence of UnumProvident Insurance, a US insurance company, in advising Government and supporting the development of an assessment tool that will reduce eligibility for support.
  3. The development of the phoney biopsychosocial model of disability which has undermined genuine assessments of need.
  4. The work of Lord Freud, who weaponised this model in order to design a Work Capability Assessment (which is used to determine eligibility for Employment & Support Allowance) which continues to be used to strip sick and disabled people of necessary support.

More of Mo Stewart's research is available on her website:

Read and download the free pdf in your browser, link below.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Preventable Harm and the Work Capability Assessment © Mo Stewart 2018.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


Paper | 06.08.18

social care, England, Paper

Mo Stewart


Independent Disability Studies Researcher

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