Wednesday 11 August 2010

Not fit for work, not fit for benefits.

Many disabled people are currently terrified of the threats to their benefits, and those with mental health problems are especially scared. The benefit system has always been more geared up towards assessing physical impairment, and the new ESA assessments appear to have reinforced rather than reduced the discrepancy.

Meridian Tonight has reported on the case of Nicola Hobbs, who after years of anorexia applied for a job. However, she failed the health test and so was not given employment. As a result of this she applied for benefit and in this case was found fit for work.

A very confusing situation - judged too ill to work when applying for a job, yet fit for work when applying for benefit. But to add insult to injury, these two opposing judgements were made by the same company - ATOS Healthcare, who do the ESA assessments for the government.

Meridian Tonight has a two minute video covering the story on their website. Worryingly, it is not the first time I have heard of cases exactly like this, with ATOS declaring the same person unfit for work when doing an employment health review, yet fit for work when doing a benefit assessment.

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