Atos Disability Benefits Test:
Woman With Spinal Arthritis
Deemed Fit To Work Wins
A 55-year-old woman who suffered from spinal arthritis, sight
problems and depression has successfully appealed the results of her
Atos disability test after it suggested she was fit to work.
The former industrial worker from Durham faced an 11-month battle
to have her results reviewed after the test.
Initially the miner’s wife was awarded zero points, a score that went
up to 26 after the tribunal, the Sunderland Echo reported.
The Durham Miners Association described the tests as “scandalous”
adding their criticism to a growing number of groups condemning the
Atos disability test.
DMA executive committee member Alan Cummings told
the Sunderland Echo: “There are people who have serious disabilities
who are being hounded by the DWP. The tests are an absolute
The Department of Work and Pensions contracted French company
Atos to provide "work capability assessment" upon which they base
decisions to award benefits.
They are reassessing the 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit and
employment support allowance (ESA) by 2014, the BBC reports.
Activists insist their clampdown on benefits claimants is simply a
money-saving exercise and that many disabled people are having
their benefits cut wrongfully on the basis of the Atos test.
They claim this is forcing disabled people to live in poverty and in
some cases driving them to take their own life.
A DPAC-led protest against the tests is is taking place outside the
DWP headquarters Caxton House on Wednesday.
Earlier this month a woman who had her benefits cut, after it was it
was judged she was fit to work, died.
Cecilia Burns, who was suffering from cancer, began an appeal
against the assessment by government contractor Atos in February.
Her benefits were returned just a few weeks before her death.
Standup comedian Chris Coltrane recently posted on his blog an
account of his friend's struggle to be properly assessed for her
He writes: "One of the very few notes the Atos doctor wrote was 'No
obvious external signs of generalised systemic disease found'.
Pouring scorn on the comments, he adds "I hear the trend in Milan
this season is to wear your intestines as a scarf, to keep your neck
According to The Independent, more than 40 medical practitioners
working for the company have been reported to regulators the
General Medical Council.
Earlier this week, a mum of four with a severely brain damaged
husband made adesperate plea for help after her benefits were
Tamsin Wood posted a despairing blog describing her experience
with benefits assessment as “ridiculous”
She said received a letter from the job centre, which stated that her
brain damaged husband Alex he had a job interview on the 28th
September. It said if he didn’t attend could affect his benefit
(Employment Support Allowance.)
She writes “They tell me when I ring the job centre they’ll do it over
the phone instead…??? Do they not get it? He is utterly and
completely incapable of this…!”
She told the BBC she had only has £9.24 in her bank account after
struggling with her own benefit application. Following the report, the
DWP said they would reinstate one of her benefits.
Atos has said "We do not make decisions on people’s benefit
entitlement or on welfare policy.”