Saturday, 28 July 2012

Just what disabled people need

An article in yesterday's Guardian appears to confirm that the Government's new approach to the assessment of people with disabilities is to rig the system so that a pre-determined percentage of people applying for benefits will be refused any benefit. The government have always denied that this is their policy but it seems that the secret filming of training given to assessors shows trainers warning trainees that they will need to fail a fixed percentage. As usual in these cases, Atos (the private firm responsible for these assessments) and the government deny that any such agreed percentage exists. In the light of the filming, this is an absurd response. Read the full story here.

Interestingly the article concludes by noting that, on a separate but related issue, the high court has granted permission to two disabled people to bring a claim for judicial review against the work and pensions secretary to challenge the operation of the Work Capability Assessment, on the grounds that it potentially discriminates against claimants with mental health problems. There is great concern that the new system (like the current one) has not been designed to assess people with dementia, nor other people with mental health problems, so could well underestimate the problems such people face.

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