Protests against benefits
8:04am 13th May 2011
(Updated 1:28pm 13th May 2011)
Members of York Welfare Campaign Group have targetted the local office of government contractor ATOS Origin this morning (Friday 13th May 2011) over the company's role in implementing new benefits assessments that are driving many disabled people into poverty and stress.
They used leaflets and banners to communicate with passers by, and will be delivering letters to staff as well asking them to resist attempts to implement the new assessments, as part of a week of protests to defend disability rights.
ATOS are contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions to assess all claimants of Employment and Support Allowance for their ability to work.
What the York Welfare Campaign Group believe
There are growing concerns that new tests being brought in are not capable of identifying people with complex needs or mental health issues and do not fully take into account the barriers to work experienced by disabled people in the modern jobs market.
Several aspects of the test, including mobility, assume people will be provided with hi-tech equipment for which grants are being cut or phased out.
Professor Paul Gregg, who helped to design the WCA, has described it as "badly malfunctioning" and "a complete mess".
Under the current tests, 40% of those who have appealed have been found to have been wrongly assessed, with campaigners angry at the the immense strain placed on disabled people by the appeals process, as well as the cost to the public from ATOS' mistakes.
People have been denied benefits despite being terminally ill, or been told they must be retested regularly to ensure they continue to suffer from diagnosed chronic, incurable conditions.
PICTURED BELOW: The campaigners this morning outside ATOS
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