Atos scandal victims speak to the Daily
AFTER Scotland's newspaper highlighted the Atos scandal scores phones in. Here are just
A DRIVER forced back to work by Atos
after a serious ankle injury was told by
his employers he wasn’t fit to do the
Delivery driver John Blair lost the use
of his ankle ligaments after a crash,
but was assessed as fit to work as he
“could use a wheelchair” in a bizarre
Atos-Department for Work and
When John was refused Disability
Living Allowance to support his three
kids, he was given his old job back
delivering car parts.
But without the use of his right ankle,
John, from Motherwell, lasted five
days and was left living on child
benefit and family tax credits for three
weeks earlier this year.
John, 59, said: “I’m not a scrounger. I
was 17 years at my previous jobs.
“The assessment is done on a points
basis. You need 15 points. They said it
might be possible to return to work in
a wheelchair. They gave me zero
“I had to plead with my employers to let me return. But the pain of driving was
unbearable and they decided it was too dangerous, so I had to give up my work.”
John took his case to an independent appeal but it was thrown out.
While he was trying to work, John did not qualify for jobseekers allowance and,
from February to March, had to support son Lee, 15, and daughters Nikki, 14, and
Danni, 12, on just £170 a week from family allowance and family tax credit.
He said: “For a growing family, it was a disaster.”
John now gets employment support allowance – an extra £71 a week but still has
no disability living allowance. He said: “Is that not why I worked and paid my
taxes all of those years? So that in my time of need there would be a safety net?
“I’ve written to Iain Duncan Smith and the letter one of his minions sent back was
a joke. I ripped it up.”
GERARD Barrett says he was
made to feel like a “beggar” by
Atos after he was forced to
give up his well paid job when
he suffered nerve damage
during a gall bladder op.
The 52-year-old, of Prestwick,
Ayrshire, said: “I have chronic
neuropathic pain and am on 23
tablets a day.
“The people at Atos made me
feel like some kind of beggar.
They have decided I should not
be getting any money.
“I just lie in my bed most of
the day with the pain. Lying
down is the only way I get any
relief. I’m on sleeping pills
which are so powerful the
doctor says I should only take
them every second night.
“So on the nights when I take
them, I get a few hours sleep –
and when I don’t, I struggle to
“Atos deemed me fit to work. I
couldn’t believe it. If I could
work, I would.
“They are demonising the disabled. I got one year’s money and then I was cut off –
that was it.
The married dad-of-three added: “I had a great job with a courier and was on
good money. I wouldn’t just not do it for no good reason.”
PETER Leckie, 59, worked for 41 years
without claiming a penny in benefit.
But after Atos ruled surgery on his neck
had worked – despite the fact he can’t
walk more than 30ft – he went 11 weeks
without any cash.
Peter, of Sandyhills, Glasgow, said: “I
was a delivery driver and worked in the
days before health and safety was a big
concern. My problem now is basically
wear and tear.
“I have a spinal injury which causes me
severe pain and have a diagnosis from a
neurosurgeon. My problem was caused
through hard graft.
“I was told I was eligible for support but
Atos came to their own conclusion and it
was taken away. I went 11 weeks just
there with no money.
“I also have depression, which has been
made worse by the way I have been
treated by Atos. I felt like I was some
kind of criminal. They made me feel like a lump of s***e.
“People who are medically unfit and have real problems are being targeted in a
The dad-of-three added: “Atos are just going after everyone and anyone. They
seem to be a law unto themselves.”