The free drinks on offer at the PIP centre in Barrow. FACEBOOK
DISABILITY benefits assessors have dismissed claims that drinks are being used as “traps” to test claimants as being “preposterous”.
Skeptical disability benefits claimants in Barrow had suggested assessors were trying to trip them up by putting free drinks on offer in their offices.
Anyone aged between 16 and 64 who suffers from long term ill-health or disability can apply for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) of between £22 and £141.10 a week.
The PIP is subject to regular reviews and assessments which have come under fire across the UK with some disabled people claiming they have been incorrectly assessed as being fit for work.
Pictures posted on Facebook this week show a water cooler machine and bottles of cordial available in the PIP assessment centre in Dalton Road in Barrow.
Critics of the PIP scheme believe this “complimentary cordial is a great way to observe dexterity, fine motor skills and strengths in hands and arms”.
The assessments in Barrow are carried out by Independent Assessment Services, part of Atos, a multi-national IT services and consulting company based in France.
One person commented on Facebook that a friend had left their job with Atos because of how “underhand and sneaky” they were expected to be.
The company is responsible for delivering the contract for Personal Independent Payments assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions in parts of England and Scotland. In other parts of the UK, Capita carries out assessments.
The five-year contract is worth £700m to Independent Assessment Services.
An Independent Assessment Services spokesperson said: “We offer refreshments to claimants and their companions in the reception areas of all IAS Consultation Centres. It is preposterous to suggest these refreshments are being used as part of the assessment process.”