Claimants asked how they caught Down’s syndrome

The Work and Pensions Committee* has revealed that following a call last year for evidence on the medical assessments for disability benefits PIP and ESA they had a staggering 4000 responses.

Claimants were invited to share their experiences of the assessment process undertaken by private contractors Atos, Capita and Maximus on behalf of the DWP and this inquiry has revealed that “the unprecedented response was also remarkable in the consistency of the themes that emerged through the honest and often distressing accounts from thousands of people navigating the claims process, alongside, of course, managing their disability and mental health issues.”

Just a selection of the stories shared leave you astounded at the assessment process, the lack of understanding of health conditions and the sheer ignorance portrayed by assessors. Below are just a few examples of the experiences shared by the Work and Pensions Committee:

  • Following reading her own report one claimant commented: “Apparently I walk my dog daily, which was baffling because I can barely walk and I do not have a dog!”
  • Another claimant told them that her assessor wrote in her report that “I ‘arose from the chair without any difficulty’. I was in bed the whole time (she let herself in) and I only have the one chair in the room and she was sitting in it. She said that I had no difficulty reading with my glasses yet I do not wear glasses to read.
  • People living with Down’s syndrome were asked how long they had had the condition or when they had ”caught it”.

A final report has been published by the Work and Pensions Committee and delivered to government with their recommendations on changes to the process.

*The Work and Pensions Committee is a body that exists to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Work and Pensions and its associated public bodies.

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