Claims DWP assessors ask: “Why haven’t you killed yourself?”

Doctor

Mentally ill claimants complain they are being asked to justify why they are are still alive 

2nd March 2017 by Robert Armour 5 Comments

Disabled people are being asked why they “haven’t killed themselves yet” by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)-contracted medical assessors, it has been claimed.

A number of claimants who are being assessed for the new Personal Independent Payments (PIP) have spoken of their outrage on social media after being asked  "deeply inappropriate questions" by assessors employed by Atos and Capita

Alice Kirby, who has mental health issues, posted on Twitter that an Atos assessor appeared to be questioning the validity of her illness because she was “still alive”. 

Assessors are usually medical proferssionals trained to conduct the assessments but can have limited knoweldge of mental ill health. 

Kirby said: “Cuts are costing disabled people their lives, but the assessments themselves can also put us at risk. They are designed to be intrusive and manipulative, and I wanted to raise awareness of that.

"When applicants are asked questions like this, we are forced to explain our reasons to stay alive. No one should be expected to do that, especially in such a toxic and unsupportive environment. Assessors do not have the time or skills to explore the answers to this question with us, and they are not able to provide the support which may be needed afterwards.

“This question was also completely irrelevant to my assessment, it had no impact on the outcome of my award and it wasn’t even referenced in the report. And so we must question the motives behind it.

“These assessments are not safe, people are terrified of going through them, and many are traumatised afterwards. Government needs to investigate the assessment process as a matter of urgency, and it needs to explain why questions like this are being asked.”

Another tweeted: “I was asked that too,” while one tweet recounted an incident where the person’s brother was asked the same question as Kirby.

An Atos healthcare spokesperson said: “We are unaware of a complaint but we will investigate if one is made. Our role is to provide a well evidenced report based upon information obtained using the criteria laid out by government.

“The professional and compassionate service we provide to claimants is our primary consideration.”

Atos says its Personal Independent Payment assessors undertake “thorough training, particularly on assessing those with mental health conditions”, and that experienced mental health professionals are available to teams to offer additional guidance and support when needed.

2nd March 2017 by Jeff Smith

Truly disgraceful, and shows just how arrogant and ruthless these so-called 'assessors' have become.

3rd March 2017 by jeffrey davies

atos the land of of the liars yet these highly trained hcp hmm are just there to stop one getting through to your benefit if these hcp told the truth then the government would sack all these companies that do its bidding

3rd March 2017 by Still Oaks

Brown envelope on the doorstep arrived It said an “Invitation” to claim for PIP Of my “Lifetime” Award I was deprived Means to survive they meant to stripMental Health Problems? Suicide tried? Why are you still alive? The Physiotherapist asked My failure in death? Explanations, I must provide His sneers and ridicule barely maskedHis bonus in mind my failure he did contrive The report full of lies and speculation Zero points. Not enough to be worthy of being alive Of my ultimate demise it lays the foundationFor the lives being lost they live in denial For the lives they have taken they must stand trial...

3rd March 2017 by Still Oaks

Apologies the above formatting was not as the original...

21st March 2017 by Julie Fowles

I was assessed aswel an she said she had 20 yrs experience as a nurse ,she didn't know anything about my mental health or my mobility issues it's degrading and i hated every minute i was there ,the government seriously need to change the way ppl get assessed