A PRIVATE firm hired to slash benefits are promising “a brighter future” to claimants whose payouts are stopped.
Atos Healthcare are being paid £100million a year by the Tories to reassess people on disability and sickness benefits and drive them back to work.
They pay doctors up to £60,000 a year to assess whether claimants are fit to work.
In a job advert for doctors, they claim: “You could make the difference that gives someone on incapacity benefit a brighter future.”
The advert, published on the British Medical Journal website, adds: “It’s a vitally important role that aims to change lives for the better.”
Labour MP Tom Greatrex, who has campaigned on the issue, branded the ad as “insulting”. The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP said: “The Tory-led government need to get a grip on Atos as a matter of urgency.
“This advert is an insult to the thousands of people across the country who have been let down by the shambolic way Atos conduct their assessments.
“The idea that Atos are giving people on incapacity benefit a brighter future would be laughable were it not causing so much distress and pain to those who have been unfortunate enough to go through the process of their assessments.
“Rather than advertising for more highly paid staff, the Tory-led government should demand Atos sort themselves out, so their assessments are fair and reasonable.”
Last week, the Sunday Mail revealed bungled rulings were costing taxpayers £50million. Around 30,000 people appealed against their decisions, with 40 per cent of them successful, which has cost the government around £50million.
But UK employment minister Chris Grayling has admitted no money has been claimed back from the firm for poor medical advice.
An Atos spokeswoman said: “We have no comment on the advert.”
Chemo patient’s despair at ruling
Maggie Mackay was assessed by Atos as “fit to work” when she was still recovering from chemotherapy.
The 51-year-old, from Glengarnock, Ayrshire, was a furniture restorer before breast cancer stopped her in her tracks.
She had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery but was then assessed as being to fit to work by Atos and taken off disability benefit.
Maggie, who bravely took part in our Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show last year, has launched an appeal.
She said: “Two weeks ago I had more surgery as my scar was not healing properly. My side effects include fatigue, not being able to sleep, very sore bones and memory loss.
“The young woman didn’t seem interested. I can’t squat because I have two slipped discs.
“But she wrote in her report that I could squat. She made out I was perfectly fit and healthy.
“Everything you say is twisted to make out that you are fit for work. I now have £8 a day to live on.”
4 thoughts on “Benefits clawback firm promise ‘brighter future’ but victim speaks out”
We are pleased to announce that Maggie has won her appeal and is having all her benefit reinstated, including arrears dating back to September 2009. What we would like to know is why she is not now entitled to claim damages for distress, hardship and misery caused as a direct result of this and why ATOS/DWP should not be made to pay punitive damages?
Im Maggie Mackay..and yes I was given the lowest amount, I wasn’t holding my breath and was surprised to win my Tribunal, unfortunately I’ve accrued so much debt over the last two years of having cancer that I will be using the payout not for luxuries but for debts.
Delighted that you have won your fight.
Am not sure how civil damages might go, but you can sure as H3LL go for punitive penalties.
Refer the damage that has been done to your stress levels and well being by the flawed Atos system to the Health & Safety Executive for investigation of alleged offences under the Health and Safety Act 1974.
You might wish to add to the gravitas of your own position of being ‘pushed to the edge’ by quoting the list of those who have been ‘pushed over the edge’…..
P.S. The HSE email alleged offence reporting link is….