Assessments on incapacity benefit claimants have found that more than one in three of the West Midlands are fit to work.
The figure emerged in checks on those who currently qualify for incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance or income support paid on the grounds of illness or disability.
Of the 11,890 people so far assessed – the majority of whom receive the incapacity payment – 4,790 were deemed healthy enough to find a job.
And another 4,060 were placed in a “work related activity group”, which means they are deemed to be capable of working eventually with the right support and training.
Just 3,040 of those assessed so far were found to be unable to work.
Claimants are being assessed to see if they qualify for a new benefit called Employment and Support Allowance.
Those on incapacity payments deemed fit to work will be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
But, like other claimants, they will have to prove they are looking for a job or face losing their benefits.
In Birmingham alone, 1,040 of the 2,550 claimants were found to be “fit for work” while another 900 were told to join a “work related activity group”, leaving just 610 with an automatic right to continue claiming benefits.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “These figures show how much of a waste of human life the current system has been.
“Too many people have been left languishing on benefits for too long.
“We are providing support to those who need it – but it is right that those who are able to work should do so.
“It’s much better to help people on the journey back to work than to leave them on benefits for the rest of their lives.”
Labour’s work and pensions spokesman, Birmingham MP Liam Byrne (Lab, Hodge Hill) said: “Incapacity benefit went through the roof under the Tories, that’s why Labour changed the law so those that could work must work.
“Now what we really need is jobs, because welfare to work won’t work without jobs.”
The assessments involve filling in a questionnaire and, in some cases, a medical examination.
But they have been condemned by campaigning group Hardest Hit, which is backed by a range of charities including Scope, Mencap and Action for Blind People, amid claims the tests find people fit for work when they are not.