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Humiliated blind woman asked by ATOS benefits assessor: ‘How many fingers am I holding up?’

Natasha Pogson who was born completely blind, has had her weekly income slashed by over 50% following an assessment by ATOS.  She was told she was “no longer assessed as having limited capability for work” and she needed to get a job.

‘A benefits assessor asked a blind woman: “How many fingers am I holding up?” before declaring her fit to work.

Natasha Pogson, 28, says she was made to feel “stupid” by a female ATOS worker who carried out her disability assessment.

As well as holding up her fingers, the woman also made Natasha try and touch her toes and lifted both arms before asking Natasha to do the same.

Natasha and her dad Karl, who also attended the assessment, say it was made “crystal clear” beforehand that she had been left “completely blind” because she was born so prematurely.

But Natasha, of Billingham, Cleveland, has now had her weekly income slashed and been told to get a job – because she can cross the road with her guide dog.

She said she was left “humiliated” by the assessment and is appealing against the decision from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Atos Healthcare said a full investigation had been launched into the case, and stressed no complaint had been made. But a spokeswoman apologised if any distress had been caused.’

Despite her obvious disability, Natasha was asked:

“How many fingers am I holding up”
“Can you see my hand?’ as the assessor put her hand in front of her face
“How long do you spend reading each week?”
“Can you touch your toes?”
“Repeat my arm actions” as the assessor made arm actions without describing them

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