Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson today warned that some of the most vulnerable people in Merseyside will be left without support because of a blanket reassessment of disability claimants.
As many as 12,220 people in Sefton currently receive Incapacity Benefit.Many of these now face being called in to be reassessed. Claimants will be assessed on their capability to walk, stand and sit, bend, kneel and reach, including the ability to be able to pick a coin up from the floor.
Bill Esterson said he has already been contacted by people in the constituency who were concerned about the reassessments.
Bill said: "it is quite right that only those who genuinely have a disability receive disability benefits. But lots of people are being left very anxious by the thought they will be called in for reassessment when they clearly are disabled.
"Some of these people have conditions which are related to anxiety and uncertainty. This is making their conditions worse.
"We all want to see people who are able to work back in gainful employment, but we need to do that in a caring way which understands the needs of people who are genuinely unable to work.
"Instead people are expecting the worst. They have already been assessed as unfit for work but now they fear being forced off incapacity benefit by a system which is purely target-driven and about pushing people off benefits regardless of need.
"I want to ensure that those who don't need benefits don't receive them but it is also right that people are not left anxious by this and that those with genuine need are not left without support.
"For those who are reassessed and found able to work, I will be interested to see where they will find jobs. The Tories and Lib Dems seem to be forgetting that they are pushing thousands from the public sector out onto the dole.
"Even the most able are already finding it difficult to find employment so putting thousands more people who are sick or who have disabilities under pressure when they cannot work is going to make life harder for many vulnerable people and for people who need support to get back into work."