The first review of the new Work Capability Assessments highlighted particular problems for people with mental disorders and other fluctuating conditions. It appears these may apply at least equally to people with drug problems.
The assessment process is a source of enormous stress and exacerbates feelings of hopelessness and loss of control which can be counter-productive in exacerbating drug problems. There is a need for more information about the different benefits and their associated processes, expectations and conditionality.
Some service users have indicated that it is hard for people with fluctuating conditions to know how to complete the self-assessment form. This highlights a need for improved information and guidance on completing the selfassessment forms and the types of supporting documentation that applicants should acquire in preparation for the assessment process. Independent advocacy support also needs to be made available.
The limited evidence that is available also suggests that people with drug problems may suffer disproportionally from conditionality regimes with severe consequences for both themselves and their families, and our case studies illustrate this.