Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil has written to Atos Healthcare after a constituent faces being left without benefit because Atos has been unable to arrange a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The constituent claimed for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) in September 2012 and has been waiting since November 2012 for Atos to carry out the Work Capability Assessment. The constituent’s entitlement to contribution based ESA ends on 30 September, Atos say that they will carry out the WCA week commencing 21October; this means that the constituent will be left at least four weeks without benefits.
Angus MacNeil said:
“This issue was brought to my attention by Lewis Citizens Advice Bureau, who have been doing good work in trying to resolve this problem for their client.
“This is a shocking example of the system failing. Atos has claimed that the delay in carrying out the Work Capability Assessment is due to our remote location. I do not accept this.
“It is obvious that my constituent has been lost in the system and she now faces the prospect of financial hardship because of the lack of care shown. This whole situation is upsetting and stressful for my constituent and it is unacceptable that she should have to suffer because of a delay created by Atos. I have written to Atos to convey my disappointment at the way in which my constituent has been treated and to request that urgent action be taken to resolve this matter.
“I have also written to Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to highlight this case. When the system fails as it has in this instance, people should be protected against having their benefits stopped.
“An independent Scotland would be able to set its own course when it comes to welfare and create a system that reflects the priorities and values of people in Scotland. Only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will give us the opportunity to do that and ensure that no more damage is done by Westminster’s mismanagement of the welfare system.”