A FORMER body builder left severely disabled after a horror car smash said he contemplated suicide after a “farcical” medical assessment ruled him fit to work.
Jason Groves claims he has experienced 13 months of hell appealing the assessment which reduced his benefits and landed him in severe financial difficulties.
Mr Groves, from Willington, County Durham, has been barely able to walk since a car he was a passenger in came off the road and collided with a concrete and steel fence at 90mph in 1996.
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The 42-year-old father of three said he can spend days in bed, suffers unendurable pain daily and struggles to complete even simple movements.
But a Work Capability Assessment by ATOS on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), conducted over one hour in January last year, said he could be fit to work which ended his 16-year claim for incapacity benefit and left him £440 a month worse off.
Mr Groves appealed that decision and judges have now found in his favour and ordered his benefits be reinstated.
Mr Groves said the test, conducted on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions by ATOS, is aimed at getting people back to work rather than truly assessing their abilities.
He said: “Ninety per cent of disabled people will fail this test, it doesn’t matter what their disabilities are anymore.
“If you can talk, listen or touch your head you are deemed fit for work.
“It’s a farce.”
Mr Groves said he used to be in peak physical condition before the accident, but has had chronic health and mobility problems ever since.
He said: “My legs constantly feel like someone is digging a knife right into my joints.
“I am in agony, and the stress of this appeal and the money worries it causes is enough to make you wonder if it’s worth it, would it not just be easier if I killed myself?”
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “We have made considerable improvements to the Work Capability Assessment to make it fairer and more effective.
“If someone disagrees with the outcome of their claim, they have the right to submit new evidence and appeal."