AFTER Scotland’s newspaper highlighted the Atos scandal scores phones in. Here are just three cases.
A DRIVER forced back to work by Atos after a serious ankle injury was told by his employers he wasn’t fit to do the job.
Delivery driver John Blair lost the use of his ankle ligaments after a crash, but was assessed as fit to work as he “could use a wheelchair” in a bizarre Atos-Department for Work and Pensions decision.
When John was refused Disability Living Allowance to support his three kids, he was given his old job back delivering car parts.
But without the use of his right ankle, John, from Motherwell, lasted five days and was left living on child benefit and family tax credits for three weeks earlier this year.
John, 59, said: “I’m not a scrounger. I was 17 years at my previous jobs.
“The assessment is done on a points basis. You need 15 points. They said it might be possible to return to work in a wheelchair. They gave me zero points.
“I had to plead with my employers to let me return. But the pain of driving was unbearable and they decided it was too dangerous, so I had to give up my work.”
John took his case to an independent appeal but it was thrown out.
While he was trying to work, John did not qualify for jobseekers allowance and, from February to March, had to support son Lee, 15, and daughters Nikki, 14, and Danni, 12, on just £170 a week from family allowance and family tax credit.
He said: “For a growing family, it was a disaster.”
John now gets employment support allowance – an extra £71 a week but still has no disability living allowance. He said: “Is that not why I worked and paid my taxes all of those years? So that in my time of need there would be a safety net?
“I’ve written to Iain Duncan Smith and the letter one of his minions sent back was a joke. I ripped it up.”
GERARD Barrett says he was made to feel like a “beggar” by Atos after he was forced to give up his well paid job when he suffered nerve damage during a gall bladder op.
The 52-year-old, of Prestwick, Ayrshire, said: “I have chronic neuropathic pain and am on 23 tablets a day.
“The people at Atos made me feel like some kind of beggar. They have decided I should not be getting any money.
“I just lie in my bed most of the day with the pain. Lying down is the only way I get any relief. I’m on sleeping pills which are so powerful the doctor says I should only take them every second night.
“So on the nights when I take them, I get a few hours sleep – and when I don’t, I struggle to get any.
“Atos deemed me fit to work. I couldn’t believe it. If I could work, I would.
“They are demonising the disabled. I got one year’s money and then I was cut off – that was it.
The married dad-of-three added: “I had a great job with a courier and was on good money. I wouldn’t just not do it for no good reason.”
PETER Leckie, 59, worked for 41 years without claiming a penny in benefit.
But after Atos ruled surgery on his neck had worked – despite the fact he can’t walk more than 30ft – he went 11 weeks without any cash.
Peter, of Sandyhills, Glasgow, said: “I was a delivery driver and worked in the days before health and safety was a big concern. My problem now is basically wear and tear.
“I have a spinal injury which causes me severe pain and have a diagnosis from a neurosurgeon. My problem was caused through hard graft.
“I was told I was eligible for support but Atos came to their own conclusion and it was taken away. I went 11 weeks just there with no money.
“I also have depression, which has been made worse by the way I have been treated by Atos. I felt like I was some kind of criminal. They made me feel like a lump of s***e.
“People who are medically unfit and have real problems are being targeted in a ridiculous way.”
The dad-of-three added: “Atos are just going after everyone and anyone. They seem to be a law unto themselves.”