Disability Benefit Assessments ‘Underperforming’ In Spite Of Rise In Cost Finds NAO

Same Difference

The government is failing to achieve value for money in carrying out assessments for disability benefits, the National Audit Office has said.

The spending watchdog’s report found tests were becoming more expensive, but quality was not improving. However, oversight was better, it said.

The cost of some assessments went up by 65% after a US firm secured a contract to carry them out in March.

The Department for Work and Pensions says it will look at the findings.

Disability charities said the assessment system was still failing claimants.

Problems ‘exacerbated’

Health assessments for Employment and Support Allowance are carried out to ensure claimants are eligible for benefits.

Private provider Atos quit its contract in 2014 and was replaced last year by US firm Maximus.

The new contract requires an increased number of face-to-face assessments – with more staff needed to carry them out.

The NAO said there had been a…

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