Atos pays off government to escape disability assessment contract early

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 12:54 -- nick

Hated work capability assessment (WCA) company Atos has had to pay off the government to be allowed to escape its contract a year before it was due to end.

The French firm's contract had been due to end in August 2015, but it has paid a "substantial" amount of money to be allowed out of it early.

Mike Penning, the minister for disabled people, said:

"Today we are announcing that we are seeking a new provider to replace Atos, with the view to increasing the number of assessments and reducing waiting times.

Government apology for coma woman told to find work

Fri, 28/02/2014 - 13:24 -- nick

The government has apologised for a letter sent to a woman in a coma telling her to attend "intensive job-focused activity".

The letter, written by Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), was received by the family of Sheila Holt.

Ms Holt had been suffering from physical and mental health problems and had fallen into a coma in December, her family informing the DWP and SEETEC, the organisation providing job-focused activity, at that time.

IDS targets seriously ill for benefit and support cuts

Mon, 25/11/2013 - 12:29 -- nick

Hated Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to target some of the most seriously ill benefit claimants for cuts.

They include people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Smith is proposing to  dump the work-related activity group (WRAG), which provides support including training and interview practice to those who are deemed fit-to-work with help.

550,000 people are in this group, and half have got back into work within three years despite their issues, but this is considered insufficient.

50,000 disabled people could lose jobs over benefit changes

Fri, 15/11/2013 - 13:42 -- nick

More than 50,000 disabled people could lose their jobs as a result of benefit changes - and this could cost the country hundreds of millions of pounds.

The government is planning reductions in disability mobility payments, and many people use these to get them to and from work.

Atos whistleblower doc tells of forced report changes

Thu, 01/08/2013 - 11:05 -- nick

The doctor at the heart of the Atos whistleblowing case has given an interview telling why he did it.

Greg Wood was employed by Atos to carry out work capability assessments - the test that works out whether disabled and long-term sick people should be forced into work - but says he was repeatedly made to change reports by other staff who had not met the clients.

Bedroom tax challenge fails in court

Tue, 30/07/2013 - 13:00 -- nick

A court challenge to the government's bedroom tax has failed today.

The bedroom tax takes an average of £14 from the housing benefit of people with a spare bedroom with the aim of getting people to move to properties of the right size, but it has been criticised for not taking into account the lack of smaller flats available in most areas and for not understanding the care needs of disabled people.

Those who have carers who stay overnight still lose money if the arrangement is not full-time.

Sitting a Work Capability Assessment soon? Practice questions here

Wed, 24/07/2013 - 14:31 -- nick

Have you been told to sit a Work Capability Assessment soon? The website Benefits and Work has put together an online test just like the one you will go through so you can be prepared for what is to come.

The site makes clear that you might come to different conclusions than the assessor, but it should help you understand how to deal with the test ahead.

Go to the online test

More young disabled people to access mainstream work

Thu, 18/07/2013 - 18:07 -- nick

The UK government has launched a campaign to get more disabled people into mainstream work.

Research has shown that companies' attitudes are significant barriers to people with disabilities entering jobs, and the campaign, under the slogan 'Disability Confident', aims to overcome these.

Activities will include internships provided to those aged 16-24 with learning difficulties and disabilities, who will get careers advice, CV and interview preparation, training in English language and maths and five-month work placements supervised by further education colleges.

Atos apologises for mistakes in assessing disabled people

Thu, 18/04/2013 - 12:51 -- nick

Atos, the controversial company responsible for assessing long-term sick and disabled people's fitness for work on behalf of the government, has apologised for mistakes it has made.

Speaking to Radio 4's You and Yours programme, Lisa Coleman, the manager who oversees the firm's contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said "If we get something wrong then I'm very happy to say sorry."



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