29/05/2014 - Discredited Atos continue to cause harm

atosTens of thousands of jobless disabled people in the north-east are being refused benefits as the ConDem government continues its vicious attacks on the most vulnerable unemployed workers. 

New research from the Unite union showed that last year 28,702 unemployed disabled people in the region were refused Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) — which replaced incapacity benefit — after being subjected to assessments by discredited private assessor Atos.

Atos’s contract is being ended early after it was found guilty of “significant quality failures” even by government standards.

The union said last year 28,702 disabled people were “sanctioned” — denied benefit or had it removed. Of those, 22,814 allegedly failed “to participate in work-related activity.”

Of 13,994 cases reviewed, 8,508 decisions were overturned, and 90 per cent of appeals against decisions were successful.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of the Solidarity union, said: "It's disgusting that people are suffering hardship as a result of decisions taken by the discredited Atos. The latest figures relate to the North East but this is a problem up and down the country."