downwithallthat

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Cecilia’s Story: Fighting Cancer But Atos Find Her ‘Fit’ For Work.

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The Belfast Telegraph has reported on the case of Cecilia Burns, a lady who has experienced, as so many have before her, the de-personalisation, humiliation, intimidation and bafflement which results from being processed through this government’s screening instrument for health related benefits – the WCA. The story is predictably familiar:

“It was basically sitting in front of a computer screen answering questions, can you do this? Can you do that? Lift your legs, move your arms, head, hunker down.

This at a time when, as she informed Atos, she was still undergoing chemotherapy in her fight against cancer. Despite this fact she was coerced into attending the assessment with the threat that her benefits would be cut if she did not.

Like many people before her, Cecilia had innocently believed that the seriousness of her illness would entitle her to some respect, and that if the system was fair then she had nothing to fear. Instead, also like countless claimants before her, Mrs Burns was shocked to find herself declared ‘fit’.

“When I got the letter telling me I started to cry. I thought, ‘This can’t be happening to me’.

She posed the questions: “How can someone do an assessment when they didn’t have my medical notes, they weren’t a doctor, and how does lifting your arm or leg deal with you having cancer treatment?”

Well, the reason, Mrs Burns, is that the WCA was designed with great selectivity and narrowness of the ‘capabilities’ upon which people are assessed. These criteria work to exclude the majority from entitlement to benefit. That is its purpose.

Many people like Cecilia, who has worked and paid taxes for over 30 years, are under the impression that the government will act with good faith toward them should they fall ill. Little wonder that so many, the first time they reach out for support and fall foul of this deceitful process, are left with nothing more than a sense of stinging betrayal.

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Written by bigleyma

March 24, 2012 at 12:54 am

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