Aug 30th, 2012
ATOS: FAILING ON DISABILITY BENEFIT TESTS
By Belinda Turffrey
For months now, people who are sick or living with a disability have been made to go through lots of tests and interviews to qualify for the benefits they need to get by. “Proving” you are living with a disability has become a long, drawn-out process, that can make life harder, not easier, for people living with a disability.
To make matters worse, this week we’ve found out that the government’s new approach to “testing” people isn’t working. More than 100,000 people were denied the money they needed, and put under pressure to work when they can’t.
Atos, the multi-million pound private company that delivers these tests for the government, has been getting away with making big mistakes. Their errors have meant 110,000 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 people living with a disability – start making Atos pay for its mistakes.
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.
The Paralympics are one reminder of the value that people living with a disability add to life in the UK. But for many people living with a disability, 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 – not 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 people living with a disability 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.
Sign the petition now to demand the government stands up to Atos and sorts out the disability benefits problems.