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Atos wins two contracts to carry out disability benefit tests - Turn2us

Personal Independence Payment information sheet (link opens in a new window)Atos, the company that runs the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, has won two contracts worth more than £400 million to test whether disabled people should continue receiving benefits. This relates to the part of the welfare reforms that will see Disability Living Allowance replaced by a new benefit, Personal Independence Payment, for people of working age (16-64) from April 2013. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced the award of three contracts in England and Wales on 2 August, with Atos unexpectedly getting two of these.  The third contract was given to another private company, Capita.

Disability charities express great concern

Many charities, including Parkinson's UK (link opens in a new window) and Sense (link opens in a new window), as well as the Disability Benefits Consortium (link opens in a new window), a coalition of charities representing people with disabilities, have expressed great concern that Atos has been awarded these contracts. In particular, because the company has been widely criticised for carrying out inaccurate assessments on people who are unemployed.

The Disability Benefits Consortium is calling upon assessment providers to sign up to a set of Personal Independence Payment pledges (link opens in a new window) to make the process as fair as possible.

Source: Guardian news article (link opens in a new window) and Independent news article (link opens in a new window)

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