West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

'Fit-for work' assesment inaccuracies highlighted

Published: 24 January, 2012

A study carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau, "Right First Time" and published within the last two weeks has highlighted huge inaccuracies in the 'Fit for Work' assessments which have been ongoing for those on Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

This has led local Sinn Féin councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald to call on the British Government for a suspension of the assessment until a proven system which is fit for purpose can be found.

Atos, the company employed to carry out the tests, seek to determine eligibility for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) the benefits replacing Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

However following the damning report local councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald has called upon the British Government to suspend the assessments:

"I think it is high time the British Department for Work and Pensions suspended these assessments in light of this recent report. The report details a litany of inaccuracies and failures. This has untold suffering and misery for those who, as a result of these inaccuracies have to go to appeal their decisions. Indeed the report found that a high number of people who appealed their decisions had been vindicated at the appeals stage, highlighting the huge failures by Atos."

"I would have a further concern in that Atos are paid on the basis of the number of people processed. This in itself is wrong and given the worryingly low level of accuracy detailed in the report it is clear that this system isn't the right one.