Crippen hears about more dirty tricks played by benefits assessors!

Gasp, shock, horror! Conservative MP Dr Ben Spencer said he had been told that staff working for government contractors were setting traps at assessment centres to try to test claimants’ mobility.

DWP Dirty Tricks 2022

And playing along with this display of outrageous indignation we have our fairly new minister for disabled people Chloe Smith throwing her hands in the air and doing an impersonation of an owl (you should see the photo is the Disability News Service article!) and promising to carry out an urgent investigation into his claims!

Smith confirmed that she “did not recognise these tactics as legitimate parts of the assessment process” and said she was “concerned” to hear of the examples Spencer had provided (I bet!).

This isn’t new. Disabled claimants have been telling us about the underhand tricks employed by the likes of Atos and Capita for years, now it seems that the newest member of this cabal, the Disability Assessment Service are alleged to be doing the same.

Chloe Smith, the minister for disabled people, had been giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions select committee when Spencer (trust me I’m a doctor), a member of the committee, said he had been at an event that was taking evidence from disabled people who had been through the assessment process when he was told of “their perception that they were being covertly assessed”.

He said one claimant described to him how there had been water available at the assessment centre, but the water cooler did not have any cups, although the cooler at the end of the corridor did have cups, which Spencer said was a test “to see if the person was able to walk beyond the first water cooler to get some water”. Another claimant described the healthcare professional who was assessing them dropping a pen to see if they would pick it up “as part of a covert assessment, effectively, of their mobility”.

Don’t hold your beath waiting for the outcome of this latest disclosure. They’ll probably end up giving the assessors a bonus for being so creative!

You can read John Pring’s full account of this story in Disability News Service.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

The scene is outside of a lift on the third floor of the benefits assessment service. A large sign on the lift says: ‘out of order’. Standing in front of it is a white male in a grey suit, holding a clipboard on which he has been placing red crosses against items on a list. At his feet a red faced male figure is struggling on his hands and knees to climb to the top of a flight of stairs. In his hand he’s holding a crutch and he is gasping for breath. The man in the suit is saying to him: “ Ah ha – so you can use the stairs!”

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