On the PUK facebook page there was a post to invite your MP to a parlimentary meeting being held by parkinsons uk and the ms society to make them aware of the financial implications that a progressive condition places upon people and make them aware we need better support
I invited my local mp and i just thought i would share with everyone the email i received today from my mp
Re: Invite: Are people with progressive conditions able to access the right financial support? Joint MS and Parkinson's meeting 16 October 10-11.30am committee room 15 (Case Ref: ZA11993)
Ian Austin MP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Dear Ms. Horton,
Many thanks for your email, it's good to hear from you again.
I know that this is an issue that you have had some personal experience of, and I have worked hard to raise concerns about the way that people with debilitating, progressive conditions are being assessed for disability benefits.
Since the government ramped up the number of Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) taking place, I have heard from a number of local people and disability organisations who are worried that they are putting disabled people under unnecessary stress, and that the process doesn’t represent the difficulties that disabled people face in finding work.
I think that Atos in particular have proved themselves completely unfit to run Work Capability Assessments, and I called for them to be sacked immediately. Many also express fears that private providers such as Atos are not carrying out reassessments quickly or thoroughly enough, with 40 per cent of assessments being overturned on appeal. As you know, the fact is that they’re wrongly labelling too many people as able to work.
As you may know, Atos have recently announced that they are seeking an early end to their contract to perform these assessments. This is the perfect opportunity for the government to look again at the overall impact that cuts to welfare are having on the disabled and make changes.
I have worked hard to seek assurances from the Government that WCAs are carried out thoroughly and professionally, and that the criteria used fully represent the obstacles facing disabled people seeking work. I have also tabled a number of Parliamentary questions on this issue to press the government on these concerns which you can find here:
In the long-run I think there needs to be much better tailored support for disabled people, including better training for assessors, improved access to assessment centres and more individual support.
I have meetings on Thursday morning which I will try to alter so that I can go to the meeting on Parkinson’s and MS, but I hope you will also be pleased to hear that I have now written to Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, on your behalf. I have set out your concerns about Work Capability Assessments, and urged the government to address them.
I will write again as soon as I receive a response to my letter. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any other concerns or if there’s anything else I can do to help.
Many thanks and best wishes,