THE programme of reassessing incapacity benefits has been condemned as degrading and humiliating by a woman in North Devon.
The woman, who suffers from the degenerative Parkinson’s disease, is in her late thirties and lives on the outskirts of Barnstaple.
She takes daily medication and says she is unable to hold a pen.
She says she is too frightened of the Department of Work and Pensions to give her real name and asked to be called Angela.
Angela has already had her Incapacity Benefit entitlement reassessed and has been told that she is not fit to work.
Instead she is now eligible to claim Employment and Support Allowance.
But Angela said she was angry that people diagnosed with degenerative conditions were even having to be assessed.
She said: “It’s humiliating and degrading. I have a degenerative illness and it has no cure, so I’m not going to get better. It is hard enough to face up to that.”
Angela did not condone benefit fraud, but said official figures showed that only 0.5 per cent of all benefit fraud related to incapacity benefit.
She said: “The Government is just picking on a minority.”
She said the assessments, carried out by private company Atos Healthcare under a £100 million contract, were a waste of taxpayers’ money.
She said: “If it’s someone who says they have a bad back or a bad knee then yes, it makes sense to check if they still need the benefit.
“But if it is someone who is terminally or incurably ill, or who has been diagnosed with a degenerative condition it is a waste of money. We’re not going to get better.”