Figures released this week by employment minister Chris Grayling, in response to a parliamentary question, reveal what chances you have of winning your appeal based on the number of points you were assessed as scoring at your work capability assessment (WCA) medical.

The figures relate to completed appeals made in relation to ESA claims from October 2008 to February 2010 and have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

In that period 246,700 claimants scored 0 points at their WCA. Of these, 85,000 appealed with 29,000 winning their appeal and 56,100 losing. So, your chances of winning an appeal if you scored 0 points are around 34%. That means an astonishing one in three people who were assessed as having no problems whatsoever by Atos were subsequently found to be incapable of work by a tribunal.

In the same period 57,000 claimants scored no more than six points. Of these, 23,600 appealed with 11,100 winning their appeal and 12,500 losing. So, your chances of winning an appeal if you scored no more than 6 points are around 46%.

Just 25,500 claimants scored more than six points at their WCA. Of these, 11,900 appealed with 7,600 winning their appeal and 4,300 losing. So, your chances of winning an appeal if you scored 7 points or more are a staggering 63%.

In a further 6,800 cases the points awarded were ‘​unknown’​ for reasons that are not explained.

Perhaps the most shocking things about these figures is not that two thirds of people with an award of 7 or more points win their hearing, or even that one third who didn’​t get any points at all win.

The truly astonishing thing is that out of the 335,900 claimants who were found unfit for work by their GP but capable of work by the DWP, over 73% were awarded not a single point by Atos assessors using LiMA software. And yet, MPs from all parties thought the test was so lax that they introduced a much harsher one in March of this year.

It seems entirely possible that more than 85% of claimants who fail the WCA will be awarded 0 points under the new, harsher WCA.

In a separate answer
, Grayling also revealed that in the same period there had been 132,800 people found fit for work whose primary condition was a mental health or behavioural one. Of these 50,100 claimants appealed and 21,200 were successful. This gives mental health claimants overall, a 42% chance of success on appeal.

Meanwhile, the number of ESA appeals continues to skyrocket. The first ESA appeals were received in January 2009. Since that time, up to April of each year, there have been:

1,300 ESA appeals lodged in 2008-09
126,800 ESA appeals lodged in 2009-10
197,400 ESA appeals lodged in 2010-11

It’​s hard to believe that the tribunals service can cope even with this level of demand –​ DLA appeals have risen from 70,200 to 79,500 over the same period. But when appeals by incapacity benefit claimants who have failed the transfer to ESA process begin to flood in, the situation will grow a great deal more unmanageable. Little surprise then, that legal aid for welfare benefits advice is being axed.


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