Assessors ask: ‘Would missing arm re-grow?’

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A disabled man with no right arm was asked by disability benefits staff whether his limb might grow back during an assessment of his condition.

Gary Swift, aged 30, of Chesterfield, was with his carer mum Tracey Perkins when interviewed by staff from Govenment contractor ATOS healthcare.

Mr Swift and his mum said the interviewer asked: “Do you expect your condition to improve? Do you expect your arm to grow back within the next two years.”

Stunned Gary said: “I replied, ‘Well it’s not grown back in the last 30 years, so I can’t see it happening over the next two’.”

He added that he was later sent on a job seekers’ gardening course — and handed a spade.

“If it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be laughable,” he said.

ATOS Healthcare, who assessed Gary for the Department for Work and Pensions, denied making the comment about whether his arm might grow back.

In a statement, the company said: “That question would never be asked. Staff carrying out the assessment are trained doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.”