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 Atos Disability Benefits Test: Woman With Spinal Arthritis Deemed Fit To Work Wins Appeal

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PostSubject: Atos Disability Benefits Test: Woman With Spinal Arthritis Deemed Fit To Work Wins Appeal    Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:41 am

Atos Disability Benefits Test: Woman With Spinal Arthritis Deemed Fit To Work Wins Appeal

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 scandal."

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 Crohn's disease.

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 warm."

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 a desperate plea for help after her benefits were stopped.

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.”
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