Atos gets British taxpayers’ money to attack disabled people

This video from Britain says about itself:

Atos not a medical examination” – Dennis Skinner on the flaws of disability benefits assessment

Labour MP for Bolsover Dennis Skinner tells Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi how those who are disabled can be unfairly dismissed by the assessment company ATOS. After recent revelations that the company has to fulfil quotas, the veteran politician says ATOS are not fit for purpose. First aired: 28/12/2013.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Atos & Capita to be paid £700m to throw disabled off benefits

Kick Atos, Capita and the Tories out!

THE TORY government have turned their fire against one of the most vulnerable sections of society: disabled people.

The government has launched a three-pronged attack: Firstly they have cut disabled people’s money by £29 a week; Secondly they have seized their mobility cars, leaving them isolated in their homes; and thirdly they are demanding all disabled people attend extremely stressful assessment interviews where they have to ‘prove’ that they are disabled or face being thrown off benefits and left to starve.

It was on April 1 that the Tories brought in the savage cut for disabled people. Anyone now filing a new claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) will only get £73.10 a week, instead of £102.15, a cut of £29.05 a week. Disability Rights UK said: ‘A £30-a-week cut in income is intolerable, especially when disabled people often live in deep poverty.’

Disabled people are in fact over twice as likely to be driven to food banks than able-bodied people, a newly released report has found. The £29-a-week cut is just one aspect of the Tory onslaught against the disabled: More than 51,000 disabled people have already had their mobility allowance and specially adapted cars seized since 2013. The Motability Scheme gives disabled people the chance to lease a specially adapted vehicle.

Thousands of people are now being denied mobility as they transfer over from disability living allowance (DLA) to the controversial new disability benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The charity Muscular Dystrophy UK said 900 cars are now being taken away every week as more and more people are being rejected from PIP.

Private companies Atos and Capita are the culprits, they are responsible for rejecting disabled people from receiving PIP. Atos and Capita are being paid hundreds of millions of pounds by the government to force disabled people to attend assessment interviews. Not only is it very difficult for disabled people to get to the assessment centres, especially if they have not got specialised transport, they are then subjected to a gruelling assessment.

It is up to the disabled person to ‘prove’ that they are still disabled. Even those who are suffering from incurable conditions are now being forced to attend assessment interviews. Three thousand, five hundred people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease were forced to attend assessments between April and October last year.

In one case, 41-year-old mother Sam Adams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), was told she did not need her mobility car after the assessor tickled her hand with a feather (a test for body surface sensation) after which she concluded that Sam Adams could walk up to the benchmark.

When PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance, the benchmark distance for someone being ‘virtually unable to walk’ changed from 50 metres to 20 metres. Adams said: ‘How she came to that conclusion when she’s not seen me walk, she’s not seen me walk up and down stairs – all she did was tickle my hand with a feather. What conclusions she was coming to from tickling my hand with a feather, I’ll never know.’

Sam Adams is one of hundreds of thousands of people that Atos and Capita have thrown off benefits, wrongly claiming that they are not disabled. For this service to the Tories they are paid and paid royally. Atos and Capita have already received £578m for assessments since 2013, with a further £700m promised over the next five years, a bonus of £200m more than was first agreed.

Rather than spend the £1.28bn on improving the quality of life of disabled people, the government would rather hand this money over to private companies to kick hundreds of thousands of disabled people off their benefits and onto the streets!

Both the private assessment companies and the Tories are hated in equal amounts. Disabled people are fighting back, organising demonstrations outside assessment centres up and down the country, even chaining their wheelchairs together to block the roads outside Whitehall.

They cannot be left to fight alone! The entire working class must be mobilised to back up their struggle with a general strike to bring down the Tory government, and bring in a workers government to abolish the assessments and give disabled people all the finances and assistance they need.

20 thoughts on “Atos gets British taxpayers’ money to attack disabled people

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  5. Friday 5th May 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Benefits claimants are put at risk by the continued use of a Fortune 500 racketeers’ discredited assessment model, writes MO STEWART

    ALMOST 10 years after BBC News reported on the influence of Unum Insurance on the government’s welfare reforms, chronically ill and disabled people whose financial survival is dependent upon statefunded finance have paid a very high price for the influence of this US corporate giant with successive British governments since 1992.

    “A multinational insurance company accused of racketeering and cheating thousands of Americans out of welfare benefits is giving advice to the British government on welfare reform. A BBC investigation has found that executives from Unum have held meetings with senior Whitehall officials to discuss changes to the benefit system.”

    The above quote was the introduction by BBC News anchor Hew Edwards for an exclusive BBC News report, transmitted on November 6 2007.

    Fortunately, some very wise researchers and activists downloaded the transcript of the report as, within a few short days, both the transcript and the BBC News video were inexplicably removed from the BBC News archives.

    Quite whose authority was used to rapidly remove this BBC News investigation remains a mystery. Presumably, the New Labour government didn’t want reference to Unum Insurance and its many court cases to be permanently available, or the multi-million dollar fines it paid out in the US for refusing to honour the company’s Income Protection Insurance policies.

    In reality, Unum Insurance worked with the British government from 1992, and was appointed as official government advisers for “welfare claims management” from 1994, to guide the then Conservative John Major government to eventually replace the welfare state with healthcare insurance policies.

    This official guidance was despite the fact that Unum Insurance was regularly exposed for its resistance to funding insurance payments to as many genuine claimants as possible, and there was a parliamentary debate in 1999 which exposed the preventable harm the US corporate giant created for claimants.

    During the BBC News report, presenter Mark Daly advised that: “US-based multinational insurance giant Unum has shown a keen interest in UK welfare reform since the mid-1990s…

    “Unum are the world’s largest disability insurers, with more than 25 million customers in the US alone. But in 2002, a series of whistleblowers came forward with damning allegations. Linda Nee was a claims handler for UnumProvident, as it was called then.”

    Nee exposed her experiences when working for Unum and is quoted as saying: “I was often placed in a position by a consultant, who was my supervisor, of denying a claim, of telling me to deny a claim, or having a manager tell me to remove documentation from a claim so that an attorney would not have the opportunity to see it.”

    Daly advised: “It was alleged that Unum cheats tens of thousands of disabled Americans out of their rightful insurance claims,” and he interviewed several claimants who had all challenged the Unum decision in court and had been awarded substantial damages.

    Unsurprisingly, less than 12 months following the BBC broadcast, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped the out-ofwork disability funding known as Incapacity Benefit and replaced it with the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in October 2008.

    Introduced by New Labour, to access the ESA sick and disabled, people who were unfit to work were required to endure the new Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as conducted by unaccountable corporate giants, using a “functional assessment” that disregards diagnosis and prognosis and is a replica of the totally discredited moderated biopsychosocial (BPS) model used by Unum Insurance to resist funding insurance claims.

    Almost 10 years since the ESA was introduced, the DWP-commissioned research used to justify the use of the BPS model for the WCA has been totally discredited by academic excellence.

    Coroners have identified a link between the WCA and suicides, the DWP has refused to publish updated ESA mortality totals and Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, the academic architect of the discredited and dangerous BPS assessment model used for the WCA, admitted as long ago as 2012 that it was “unsatisfactory.”

    Yet the DWP continues to use the WCA to resist funding welfare benefit to as many as possible, regardless of the human and often fatal consequences.

    Mo Stewart is an independent researcher and retired healthcare professional. Her book Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state was published in 2016 by New Generation Publishing.


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