Disability assessment debate

A debate will take place in the House of Commons today about assessments for people with disabilities on their fitness for work. The company which carries out assessments for work capability, Atos, has been widely criticised.

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MS Society: 'People should be assessed'

The controversial test on whether people are fit to work will be debated in the House of Commons today.

Speaking to ITV Daybreak, Simon Gillespie from the MS Society said that the criteria needs to be fitting for the task.

He added that people should be assessed in some way to ensure the benefits they receive are deserved.

Atos Healthcare: 'We investigate every complaint'

Today MPs will debate concerns over the company used to assess people with disabilities on whether they are fit to work.

The Work Assessments were introduced in 2008 and amended in 2010.

We know that this can be a difficult process for people and we do all we can to make sure the service we provide is as professional and compassionate as possible. We have been doing this work for the Department for over a decade and our staff are fully trained and experienced with many coming directly from the NHS.

We know that with a contract as complex and important as this, which has an impact on peoples lives, it is our duty to continually work to improve which is why we ask for feedback from the Department and those claiming benefit. We investigate every complaint that is made to us.

– Atos Healthcare spokesperson

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'We have considerably improved' work assessments

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said that the Government will do all they can to help people off benefits and into work, if they are able.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment Credit: John Giles/PA Wire

He said: "Since 2010 we have considerably improved the Work Capability Assessment - refining the way people with cancer are assessed, while working with the judiciary to reduce the number of appeals and with charities to improve the assessment of people with mental health problems."

He added: "The percentage of people going into the support group, where they get long term help, has more than doubled in two years and we will continue improving the system so it is as fair and accurate as possible."

Atos Healthcare widely criticised by disability charities

  • Atos Healthcare, the company which carries out the work capability assessments for people with disabilities, has been highly criticised for the way it operates
  • The company carries out assessments on behalf of Department for Work and Pensions, using criteria set by them
  • The company has come under discussion by disability charities, who say many people have been unfairly assessed as being fit for work
  • In November 2012, The Peoples Review of the Work Capability Assessment highlighted 70 claimants who say they were wrongly assessed and were forced to go to tribunal
  • Atos say that all complaints to Atos Healthcare are thoroughly investigated and changes are made where necessary
  • A debate will take place in the House of Commons today about assessments for people with disabilities

Debate over disability assessments on fitness to work

Disability charities have said that many people have been unfairly assessed as being fit for work, having hidden conditions like depression Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

A debate will take place in the House of Commons today about assessments for people with disabilities on their fitness for work.

The company which carries out assessments for work capability, Atos, has been widely criticised.

Disability charities have said that people have been unfairly assessed as being fit for work, having hidden conditions like depression and other changeable conditions, such as MS.

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