Disability benefit assessors trouser £50 rewards for squeezing extra tests into their day
Disability benefit assessors have trousered £50 rewards for squeezing extra sessions into their day, a leaked letter reveals.
MPs fear the cash piles are an “incentive to ride roughshod over claimants” by making tests rushed and inaccurate.
The powerful Commons Work and Pensions Committee launched a probe into the policy tonight after being shown the letter by the Mirror.
Atos staff assess four people per day for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which gives disabled people up to £141 a week.
But the outsourcing giant wrote to its health professionals in May 2017 offering £50 for every test they ran beyond four.
The letter said “incentives” were being extended and invited health professionals to work overtime.
It added: “You’ll receive an additional £50 for any assessment you do above four, within an assessment centre session, and three within a home consultation session.”
It comes despite Atos failing to meet its target of 97% of tests being “acceptable” – and tribunals overturning more than 100,000 PIP assessments since 2013.
The policy, which Atos told the Mirror was genuine, was shared online by an ex-assessor who said running more than four tests a day was “unrealistic”.
The assessor told the Mirror: “Every morning caused anxiety for me, knowing one claimant who required more probing questions could set the day back.
“I would spend evenings exhausted and unmotivated and anxious.”
Tonight Work and Pensions Committee chairman Frank Field wrote to Atos demanding to know whether the policy was genuine, how widespread it was, and how Atos polices the quality of tests.
He said the incentive was never mentioned in Atos’ evidence to his committee and claimed it would “go against everything” he was told.
Mr Field’s letter to Atos states: “I am concerned financial incentives to complete assessments quickly may compromise the accuracy and quality of assessment reports – causing further distress to claimants.”
Read the full article online: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/disability-benefit-assessors-trouser-50-12535091
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Disability benefit assessors trouser £50 rewards for squeezing extra tests into their day - 16 May 2018
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