Campaigners organise petition
We saw a lot of very enterprising, gutsy disabled people at the Paraolympic Games.
But some of those who rightly claim disability allowances and benefits, are finding their benefits are being cut.
Recently some sick and disabled people have been singled out and made to go through further tests and interviews to qualify for the benefits they need to live. Some have been allowed to continue receiving benefits they have been awarded; whilst others have been told to fill in massive forms – again.
“Proving” you have a disability has become a long drawn-out process, that can make life harder, not easier, for disabled people. And for those who have already filled out the long and intensive pages of questionnaires, it is cruel to ask them to go through this again.
To make matters worse, this week found the government’s new approach to “testing” people isn’t working. The campaigning organisation 38 Degrees say “As many as 100,000 people could have been denied the money they needed, and put under pressure to work when they can’t.”
As 38 Degrees say, Atos, the multi-million pound private company that delivers these tests for the government, has been getting away with making big mistakes. 38 Degrees reckons their errors may mean around 100,000 people were deemed “fit to work”, when they weren’t. Yet despite this terrible performance, Atos have hardly paid a penny in fines. In fact, they’ve made enough profit to sponsor the Paralympics next week.
So as politicians get ready to stand on the sidelines and applaud Britain’s Paralympians, let’s send them a powerful message: don’t forget your responsibility to the rest of the UK’s disabled people – start making Atos pay for its mistakes.
38 Degrees are asking readers to sign the petition now to tell Iain Duncan Smith, Minister for Work and Pensions, to stand up to Atos and sort out disability benefit tests:
Don’t ignore disabled people’s contributions
The Paralympics are one reminder of the value that disabled people add to life in the UK. But for many disabled people, finding work is impossible. Sometimes that’s because of the nature of their disability, and sometimes its because workplaces don’t try hard enough to include them.
When someone has a disability that prevents them from working, they deserve proper support they can rely on. That support shouldn’t be taken away at a moment’s notice because of inaccurate tests. As politicians get ready to support Team GB’s Paralympians over the next fortnight, let’s make sure they start treating the rest of the disabled people living in the UK with the respect they deserve.
The government has the power to hit Atos where it hurts: financially. They can stop awarding contracts, set higher targets and fine them for poor performance. If enough of us sign the petition demanding this happens, then the government will be forced to hold them to account.
On their website the Welsh Disability Forum makes it very clear what Welsh members think of Atos – and goes on to say that another contract for assessing disabilities has been awarded to Capita.
Some of you may shiver when you hear that name – long associated with other NHS contracts. Private Eye has written frequently about this company, but places an R after the initial C – showing what they think of them!