Sick and disabled claimants are experiencing severe distress and some are even close to suicide due to botched disability benefit reform, an insider has revealed.

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Britain’s sick and disabled, but the assessment process which should take no longer than 26 weeks is sometimes taking twice as long.

The insider, or should we say whistleblower, is a call centre worker for the private contractor Capita, who together with the disgraced private healthcare firm Atos are responsible for assessing PIP claimants on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The two companies are set to make £540 million from the new benefit in the next five years. Atos will receive the larger share of around £400 million, despite heavy criticism and a poor record in delivering ‘fit for work’ tests for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), while Capita will make roughly £140 million.

PIP can be claimed by sick and disabled people regardless of their employment status.

Under the new disability benefit PIP, claimants are required to attend face-to-face assessments to determine their eligibility and the level of benefit they will receive. The whistleblower claims that mismanagement, IT problems and staff shortages are to blame for a backlog of 145,000 cases.

While waiting to be assessed for PIP, many sick and disabled people are often left penniless and unable to pay their rent, because their DLA has been stopped, the whistleblower said.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the whistleblower said:

“I’ve had people on the phone crying their eyes out and saying they are going to commit suicide.

“On one occasion I had to call an ambulance because they said they had stopped taking their medication. Some people have been going for months and months without money.”

“We’ve started getting calls from people saying their DLA will run out in a month’s time and they’ve not even got an appointment for an assessment.

“Others have been left with nothing because their DLA has been stopped. People have lost their home because they can’t pay their rent.”

She continued: “It’s a shambles. Day in, day out there are people ringing up to say, ‘Why is my appointment cancelled?’ I’ve seen appointments cancelled time and time again.”

According to the whistleblower, Capita call centre staff have been given instructions on what excuses to use when claimants ask why their PIP assessment has been delayed or cancelled. “I am having to lie on a daily basis about why things are taking so long”, she said.

Minister for Disable People Mark Harper told the Daily Mirror: “By the autumn, we anticipate that no one will be waiting for an assessment for longer than 26 weeks.”

Capita said they would be hiring more staff to help reduce the backlog.


If you have been affected by the issues raised in this news report please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (UK only) or visit their website.



  1. its always been the tory way by rtu ids to robostly filling out of these reports while peoples dies and starve yet they capita sais they take on more staff whot will that do has reports head back to atos who do the culling for rtu ids yes they state they doing this in the mean time more will suffer more will perish has of his robust filling out of reports perhaps it was his way of culling the stock jeff3

  2. 26 weeks is six months many cant fill the damned forms in either…the conservatives looking after themselves and leaving the sick and disabled to starve…disgusting!

  3. You would have thought that as a Christian with other faiths too our Government would be caring for sick, vulnerable and disabled people and not pushing some to suicide.

  4. …Minister for Disable People Mark Harper told the Daily Mirror: “By
    the autumn, we anticipate that no one will be waiting for an assessment
    for longer than 26 weeks.”…

    "because by then we'll have killed the weakest of the disabled community and successfully brushed them under our mighty propaganda carpet", he added with a note of satisfaction to his voice.

    Capita said they would be hiring more staff to help reduce the backlog.

    …meaning, reduce the number of living disabled poor people.

  5. And yet tomorrow I will be taking a constituent to the ATOS centre in Kirkcaldy as she has a PIP assessment.. This is shocking and for this reason. The constituent contacted me earlier this year because the constituent had been waiting months for the assessment. Eventually an assessment was arraigned for March. The constituent has many health problems and Rheumatoid arthritis. The constituents fingers and hands are now almost unusable, has great difficulty walking, rarely ventures out, the joints are now twisted out of shape and the finger joints are swollen and twisted. Anyway, the constituent was well treated at the assessment centre in Dunfermline by a very sympathetic nurse who seemed to know what she was talking about and managed to draw things out the constituent. This was March, in June I got a call to say PIP had been awarded at high care and low mobility. Thats what we'd wanted. Then, last week I got a call to say that the constituent had a letter to go for another assessment this time in Kirkcaldy. I'm very concerned about this. First of all the conditions are inoperable and will never improve, in fact things will get worse with progressive disability and eventually wheelchair being needed. Another test within weeks of being awarded PIP is in my opinion wicked. This can only be described as persecution, in truth there are no words that can describe my anger or what sort of people would do this. The constituent already has great difficulty and now this evil government will torture her. I don't like Nazi analogies but I can't help think of that. It can't be justified. At best this is a waste of money, assessing people who have life long degenerative conditions weeks after they have already been assessed can't have anything to do with saving money, it costs money, it can only be described as evil. But after listening to Esther McVAY i'm not surpirsed, this has to be the most wickedly evil woman. She has obviously no compassion

    I'll need to stop as i'm so angry I don't want to say something I regret. Anyway, i'm really concerned for my constituent. I'll be going to the assessment with the constituent but at Dunfermline where the first assessment took place its not ATOS, at Kirkcaldy it is ATOS .

  6. I see others have picked up on what the so called MInister FOR disabled people said. Can anyone imagine having to wait 6 months for an assessment of immediate need, you already have to have had the condition for more than 6 months and it to be expected it will last more than 6 months.
    Are we supposed to celebrate 26 weeks. Is it perhaps a deliberate ploy in that we will be ever so grateful and ever so pleased if a claim for PIP is completed within the 6 month timescale.
    I put my claim in on the 23rd of June this year, I'm in an Atos area and my DLA has ended. I have not recieved anything from Atos not even an acknowledgement that they have recieved my claim. When I ring up I am left hanging in a queue, I still haven't managed to establish that they do actually have my claim form and that it is moving through the system.
    I know someone in a Capita area and they waited 37 weeks for a decision, she has had open heart surgery and her sick pay from work is £86 per week, it doesn't cover her rent, Yes she can apply for Housing Benefit but couldn't do this until she had the surgery, so has been left wating and waiting and waiting to hear about her PIP claim.
    When she did get the decision back she was awarded standard rate care and was awarded 12 points for the mobility component. This is the truly laughable bit, well it would be if it weren't so serious, she is not entitled to any of the Mobility Component! She rang me to see if it was worth putting in an appeal.
    I told her clearly there must be some mistake and to get back to them because 12 points is the amount she needed to be awarded Mobility, yet again she spoke to one of the phone operators (yes she actually managed to get through) and they checked on the system and confirmd she was indeed awarded 12 points but that she hasn't been awarded the money. She now has to wait for a Decision Maker to ring her back. It's two weeks and counting…..
    This is a completely shambolic system that was meant to do nothing more or less than it is actually doing and that is creating even more stress, putting some people off claiming at all, To compound the difficulties that somone already faces is as far as I am concerned a form of torture and no wonder people feel that they have nowhere to turn and nothing left to lose!

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