Citizens Advice warns that genuinely disabled and seriously ill people are being stripped of benefits following inadequate tests. {jcomments on}


Sky News obtained the figures from Citizens Advice showing that more than 150,000 people have raised serious concerns about fit-for-work tests administered by a private healthcare company on behalf of the Government.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, warned: "Atos is failing to do its job properly, failing to give taxpayers value for money and worst of all, failing thousands of sick and disabled people who bear the brunt of wrong assessments."

It comes as a woman recently widowed told Sky News about how the decision that her husband was fit for work was not even overturned while he was dying from a rare and aggressive cancer.

Lyn Coupe's case was raised in Parliament this week by her local MP Dennis Skinner.

The 81-year-old Labour politician famed for his passionate performances in Parliament implored David Cameron to "abolish this cruel, heartless monster called Atos".

The Prime Minister admitted that every MP had heard similar stories in their own constituencies.

Mrs Coupe, from Calow near Chesterfield, said she felt compelled to speak out even while organising her husband David's funeral.

He was assessed as able to work late last year despite ulcerated legs, back pain that left him in agony, diabetes and heart problems. Mrs Coupe said the couple were forced to sacrifice food and heating to deal with the cut in benefits.

Once Mr Coupe was diagnosed with terminal cancer that would kill him within months, his wife contacted Atos again but still the appeal was not brought forward. Mr Coupe told her he wanted to survive long enough to see the decision overturned - but it was not to be.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mr Coupe during what is obviously a very difficult time.

"A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence we are given. The previous Government appointed Atos. We have made significant improvements to the Work Capability Assessment and we are bringing on board additional providers to carry out assessments."


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