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Friday, 18 October 2013

An Example of Work Capability Assessment Cheating by Atos and the DWP

Yesterday's Casework and Members' Wellbeing section of he KUWG business meeting heard how one of ours folk recovering from a cancer operation and living with asthma had been awarded only 6 eligibility points from her most recent Work Capability Assessment. (She has been retested a number of times in the sick game that could be called 'Atos Roulette'.)

The report that was used by a Department for Work and Pensions 'decision maker' in awarding 6 eligibility points (threshold 15 to qualify for Employment and Support Allowance) included Atos lies that she could raise her hands above her head, and followed such long delays in her getting the result, that after a recent cancer operation she was feeling totally worn down. The Atos 'Disability Analyst' had lied in saying that the person examined as a 'claimant not a patient' could raise her hands above her head. ('Computer services' company Atos with its contract to conduct assessments for the UK Government assumes that getting medical staff to think of people as 'claimants not patients' assumes that such mental gymnastics overwrites the Hippocartic Oath.)

One of our members had attended the WCA with the 6 pointer and can thus give testimony as to her true capacity to raise her hands above her head, but the rules or goalposts regarding appeal deadlines keep changing, so our Miss X who could not attend our meeting yesterday might be timed out of justice.Another member reported that at his first WCA he wanted the Atos staff member to focus on his mental health situation while he was crying his eyes out and found it bizarre that in a limited time appointment he was asked to raise his hands above his head. He had been awarded 0 eligibility points at his first WCA. When he attended with a knowledgeable friend he was able to get the 'Disability Analyst' to have a better focus, and was subsequently put into the Support Group of ESA claimants. But even when a claimant has a supportive friend, they have no control over the number of times or frequency with which they will be retested, or the targets that the DWP denies exist but numerous cases testify to. Contrary to ministerial statements, Atos Roulette is generally not life enhancing.

KUWG blames the DWP for the way that it awards Atos Healthcare bonuses of about £1,400 per claimant that they declare fit for work.

The meeting also decided to help the claimant concerned pay parking fees so that she can attend our meetings.

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