Are Disability assessments
destroying vulnerable people's lives on Merseyside?
ACCORDING to findings, highlighted on a
petition submitted to the UK Government and Parliament's
website, 2,380 vulnerable people died
shortly after being declared:- 'fit for work' and having their
benefits stopped, over December 2011 to February 2014. In the same period, 9,200
people in receipt of ESA were found 'fit to work in future' and died shortly
afterwards. These statistics we are told have come from a Freedom Of Information
request that was sent to The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is a
shocking bit of information and sadly it appears that this issue could still be
Interestingly this issue was highlighted in national media, like in a feature
that The Independent newspaper ran,
in March 2016, when they reported that more than ? of appealed
DWP 'fit to work' decisions found to be wrong at tribunal! It is
now being said that this controversial assessment might be costing Taxpayers
more that if they had not been introduced!
Atos Healthcare exited the contract with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
to deliver Work Capability Assessments (WCA) at the end of February 2015, after
a shocking run of errors! Shockingly
Disability Rights UK back in 2014 said ATOS
was incompetent in administering fit for work tests, yet it still running
Over the last few months we have been informed that a few people in Southport
and across Merseyside are facing problems with their disability benefits. For
example we have been hearing increasing numbers of issues around the Personal Independence
Payment (PIP) that has replaced the Disability Living Allowance.
The problems are often associated around these tests that are assessed by people
who we are told have no apparent medical qualifications, being able to override
medical information from the likes of GPs and Hospitals, called a 'decision
maker' or DM. We are told that it is made by a:- "impartial, objective and
justified advice" known as a CM's (Claims Managers) who are:-
"trained DWP staff who are familiar with the legislation governing PIP, but who
do not have a healthcare background."
This has in the past lead to some horrific mistakes taking place and is
now leading to huge anxiety within disability community.
We are being told that many healthcare and charities see the actual assessments
and the whole procedures being imposed on thousands of vulnerable people as
totally unnecessary, especially if you take the medical information into
account. These tests are often regarded as totally impersonal, intrusive and
intimidating. Sadly we have no way of measuring the worry and stress that the
letters sent to claimants have on them. That's not even taking into account the
often "pointless" procedures that are conducted around the tests?
1 of our readers has said she has not had a decent nights sleep for months now
and it is getting worse as she awaits her review findings. This is having a
serious affect on her already bad state of health. With stress added on to her
already poor mental state, along with her pains, her re-assessment is proving to
be a torture for her. What's worse is that according to her consultants and
doctors, it's clear she needs the support, so why is the assessment taking
place? This state of health has been made clear in her previous claim
reviewers... But as she is not terminally ill, she has been told that still has
to go through reassessment!
This pressure is leading her into depression and things spiralling out of
control as a result. This will result in yet more strain and money lost on the
NHS, as they will now have to deal with the problems this assessment has
coursed... It's the intrinsic fear that if she losses which is having the
terrible effect on her. If she does loose, well that will leave her suffering,
with no transport, no cash or help... She said:- "I am told that if my
claim is rejected then all my benefits will stop immediately even whilst
awaiting my appeal hearing? What am I to do? I have no savings left! The system
is unfair." This view is echoed by many disability rights groups. Also
most of those affected, like her will not go fully on record, as they are
worried what people might think and also about any possible repercussions it
might have on their claims.
Recently ATOS have again been under more and more fire, but the blame lies
within Government as well. This is more and more apparent after The Cabinet
Office, put the controversial outsourcing under review in March 2016.
What is clear is that this vital service is failing and the system needs an
overhauled and not just the providers that require looking at!
If you have had an assessments for PIP and have any questions or concerns about
the outcome of your claim you should contact the DWP on:- 0345 850 3322 or
textphone:- 0345 601 6677.
Other advice can be found online via the Government's
website and also on the Atos Healthcare
If you agree that the UK Government and Parliament should:- "End the Fit
For Work tests as not fit for purpose, and investigate 9,580 deaths"
please do sign it. You can do this via clicking on this
link, but you only have until 1 May 2017 to
sign it. Also it must get 10,000 signatures, government will respond and 100,000
signatures to be considered for debate in Parliament! So far its just over 5,500
Should Atos be stripped of all of its disability benefit assessment contracts?
Are you having issues?
Please let us know your views on this issue via emailing us to:-
News24@SouthportReporter.Com and let us
know if you have had any assessments.