(satire – barely)
Sources inside the Department of Work and Pensions have revealed the French-owned company ATOS – who undertake ‘work capability assessments’ to assess if disabled and sick people are fit enough to work – is planning to reduce the assessment questionnaire to just one yes or no question – ‘Are you alive?‘
A spokesperson for the DWP explained how the new test will work:
If the person replies “yes” to the question, then they will be put into the ‘work-related activity group’ and will be expected to find a job. If however the answer is “no” then they will be given support to help them find suitable employment – depending on their individual level of lifelessness and needs as a deceased person.
Medical experts however have criticised the new test, saying that oversimplifying the assessment criteria will mean the needs of genuinely deceased people will not be met and the changes will see hundreds of thousands of seriously dead people at risk of losing vital benefits.
One expert explained some of the difficulties the new test might pose:
No test is perfect but by reducing a complicated medical assessment to a simple yes or no question such as ‘Are you alive?’ means it will not be possible to take into account other possible answers such as ‘barely’ or ‘maybe’.
A government spokesperson defended the changes, claiming that the government was keen to make sure anyone claiming to be dead was genuinely unable to work:
If the person is clearly dead, then they can claim incapacity benefit but it’s possible a certain percentage of people who claim they are not alive may be capable of finding some kind of employment and we are keen to weed out any people who may be technically deceased but despite their condition are still eligible for work.
You might think that’s just satire but please take time to read about the even more ridiculous changes being made in real life to the Work Capability Assessment test:
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