Families like Mr and Mrs Nicholls are right to demand reassessment – and to take new Work and Pensions secretary Stephen Crabb to task for allowing such maladministration.
The Conservative Government has claimed for years that it has no targets for pushing people off-benefit, and then we get stories like this. Something must have motivated Mr Barham to act the way he did.
Perhaps Mr Crabb should tell us what.
People who were denied disability benefits in Northampton by a man who was later caught on camera admitting he judged claimants before he had even “walked through the door” want their original assessments thrown out.
Last week Channel Four’s Dispatches programme sent an undercover reporter into the Northampton offices of Capita – a firm contracted to carry out disability assessments on behalf of the Government.
The shocking footage showed one assessor, Alan Barham, talking openly about making £20,000 a month, branding one claimant “fat” and admitting that he refused a man the Personal Independence Payment before even meeting with him.
Now some of those who were also turned down for PIP by former paramedic Mr Barham – who has now been sacked – believe their assessments should be voided.
Jacqueline Nicholls, of Murray Avenue, Kingsley, was turned down for the payment, even though she had been claiming the Disability Living Allowance for 10 years.
A brain tumour she had when she was 11 years old has left her with severe mobility and communication problems.
After seeing the documentary, her husband of 24 years, David, has written to the Welfare secretary Stephen Crabb MP, asking that all those assessed by Mr Barham get the chance for a re-assessment.
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