It’s time to take a stand against the Coalition’s new benefit-reduction enforcer

The leaflet advertising the anti-Maximus 'Mass Action' day.

The leaflet advertising the anti-Maximus ‘Mass Action’ day.

Today’s the day, people! It’s time to show the government what you think of its new Work Capability Assessment company – Maximus.

Demonstrations against the American insurance provider, which is said to have a long history of denying the existence of medical disability in claimants (in order to avoid paying out on claims), are taking place up and down the United Kingdom.

This writer has been asked to mention the campaign outside the Atos/Maximus assessment centre on St Agnes Road, Heath, Cardiff CF14 4YJ, taking place between 1pm and 4pm. Readers from Cardiff or parts nearby are urged to go along and show the strength of their feelings about this firm.

The main demonstration is in London, at the address in the image at the top of this article.

In Edinburgh, it is at Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9SJ.

Maximus has been hired by the Coalition Government after ending the contract with Atos due to “significant quality failures”. The contract is worth no less than £595 million over three years – nearly £200 million per year. No doubt public sector employees could have provided the service cheaply and more efficiently but right-wing ministers like the Tories always prefer contracting-out; it means they have someone to blame when things go wrong.

The company has a history of ending lawsuits against it in the USA by making out-of-court settlements costing millions of dollars, with the most notable plaintiffs being the US government in a case involving falsified Medicaid claims, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case involving disability discrimination.

Claimants of sickness and disability benefits in the UK are deeply distressed that their government should be insensitive enough to hire such a firm – the message it sends out to vulnerable people is that the government is happy to renege on its duty of care, when the message should be that vulnerable people should be able to rely on the support they deserve.

Remember, people suffering from long-term illnesses and disability have paid their taxes and are entitled to the benefits funded by those contributions.

So please, whether you are a benefit claimant yourself or are able-bodied but concerned, please consider attending at a location near you. The full guide to events is on DPAC’s (Disabled People Against Cuts) website.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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8 thoughts on “It’s time to take a stand against the Coalition’s new benefit-reduction enforcer

  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    It is time to reject this “regime” for one that knows its proper place as managers paid for by the tax payer and not jumped up nobodies giving themselves stupid titles. Titles are not necessary for doing the right thing! This misnamed government is hell bent on promoting vulgar wealth before common decency and needs to be replaced in May by a decent Labour government which knows its place is to serve the entire community; The well off, the poor, the sick, the mentally-ill, the genuinely unemployed. It should not be difficult to balance fairness between promoting and helping enterprise as well as looking after the less fortunate.

  2. Jonathan Wilson

    The problem is, ATOS actually had a relatively good reputation for the services it provides. Initially even the service of the discredited WCA was provided fairly, usually competently, and was reasonably accurate.

    The Cun’servatives along with the little yellow enablers then changed all the rules so it was less about the sickness or disability and more about kicking people off ESA, they ramped up the number of people tested and basically set unachievable targets of disallowed claims. This was shown through the increase in tribunal appeals that found in favour of the claimants. Because IDS didn’t like that, he introduced the delaying tactic where the now excluded claimant would receive no money while undergoing mandatory reconsideration.

    Because ATOS was now testing far more people than expected, it employed people with no understanding of health, in the technical medical sense, and because it had dis-allowance targets it could not fulfil by using even the modified points system it passed the buck and punishment on to its own staff, who then lied and cheated so they could attain the kick off targets or face punishments themselves.

    Obviously this total clusterf*ck engineered by the cun’servatives looked bad on Atos and started to impact on their other business areas… if Atos was crap at the WCA, they could be crap at the accounting services provided, the occupational health services provided, the logistical services, etc… so they walked… they were not pushed by HMG as told in the less reputable “right wing” papers, they quit because IDS’s interventions were hurting their other business. (I’m not standing up for Atos, they took the money and screwed their own pooch, at the behest of IDS.)

    Now we come to MAXIMARSE (MAXIMUS) a company so rogue in the US it is nearly as toxic as UNUM, also rogue in Australia (same problems, rooting (as the Aussies say) the system), and many other countries… the maximarse brand comes in many subsidiary companies… but ultimately they are sh**, and don’t care, they have no reputation to uphold. I would say they can go no lower, but they can… their total ethos is “make as much money as possible, and if we have to give some back because we get found out; we’ve already budgeted for it.”

    What makes it all the worse is they control the whole system…

    They can get you sacked from your job if you are sick (if their opinion is that your health will not get better soon enough, you can be dismissed)…
    They then then make you “fit for work” (So IDS can tell more lies on the telly) when you were already considered too sick for your job…
    They then take you on as workfare fodder for their own “training” providers…
    Then they place you in work for the dole community service, which they again “provide” or they ship you to real companies for community service, and take a kickback as a WP provider.
    Finally if you do get a real job again, they will get you sacked via “occupational health” so they can push you through the whole system again should you become sick.

    And that is the main revenue stream of MAXIMARSE, f***ing sick people over, so how can you shame a company that has no shame, no morality, and no ethos apart from getting rich by screwing people?

  3. Princess Layla

    Im attending in Brighton because I feel so strongly about this obscene level of injustice. Just for the record I claim no benefits and I’m a taxpayer.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Have you not noticed how the DWP then hires companies with very suspicious histories? Look at Maximus – it trails allegations of fraud like a sinister-looking Andrex puppy might trail toilet roll, and would need a lot of that material to clean up its alleged mess.

      1. Penny Mayes

        Yes, true to the history of the scapegoat, an easy target.
        I assume the thinking is, ‘who can we hire to draw the fire away from us?’.

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