January 9th, 2013
I have myself received hundreds of heart-rending accounts from all over the country, and it’s difficult to do justice to the fear, indignity, distress and panic attacks that have been perpetrated on so many hundreds of thousands of disabled people (a total of 1.6 million recipients of Incapacity Benefit now being assessed at the rate of 10,000 a week).
I just give a handful of examples:
* “I went in to the assessment expecting a medical. What followed was the most humiliating experience of my life. The Atos ‘medic’ treated me worse than a piece of shit on his shoe. For 40 minutes I was subjected to his disapproving and disbelieving glare every time I opened my mouth to answer on of the very personal questions. I felt stripped of all dignity, belittled and degraded”.
* “I live with the constant fear that if my mental health gets worse again, I will be left with nothing. Because of Atos’ quotas and inhuman tests, I feel that I am living without a safety net. I’m only a few steps away from living on the streets because I know I will be denied benefits as have thousands of others because mental illness is invisible and easy to deny”.
* “I have a genetic, debilitating, degenerative condition that has no treatment and no cure. Even when Atos knows I can’t even attend one of their centres and has to send a doctor out to my home, why then do they start the whole procedure again and again?”
There’s a great deal to be said about reforming a patently flawed and failing system.
As Linda Burnip, DPAC co-founder, has written:
“The original groups, i.e. the support group and WRAG, are totally wrong. Because of this some people who have physical disabilities but who WITH THE RIGHT SUPPORT could work (if there were any jobs available) go into the support group because they can’t touch their nose, lift a pint of milk above their heads, etc., while people with mental health conditions, fluctuating impairments, or who have long-term illnesses are found fit for work simply because they can do a range of simple physical tasks, and that is more or less all the WCA tests for – purely functional abilityand the ability to do something once not repeatedly”.
Michael Meacher MP