Sick Scots face long delay to get benefits
Monday, 3 September 2012
Sick and disabled people in Scotland are waiting 12 weeks to be assessed for benefits by a private company hired for the job.
Waiting times for the Work Capacity Assessments have risen by 85 per cent in two years – from 33 days to 61 days. French IT firm Atos have a £110million-a-year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out the medical assessments to see if claimants are fit for work.
Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Labour Tom Greatrex said: “These figures show that rather than improving, the reality is that the chaos and confusion at the heart of the work capability assessment is getting worse.”
Atos have been mired in controversy since starting the assessments. The firm recently assessed 32 people who were terminally ill as being fit for work. And it was revealed that 40 per cent of all assessments carried out by Atos are overturned on appeal.
The DWP said Atos had faced “recruitment challenges”.