BENEFITS chiefs are under fire amid fears thousands of claimants may have had their health reports “tampered” with.

Almost 70,000 people who receive disability support have had their assessments “audited” by the Department for Work and Pensions since 2015.

But critics have raised concerns such audits are being carried out by officials who were not present during the initial assessment.

It comes after SNP MP Marion Fellows, who represents Motherwell and Wishaw, highlighted the case of one constituent who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

The 50-year-old had his payments stopped after an “auditor” altered sections of a nurse’s report.

The original said the man, from Motherwell, required “specialist input”, while the audited copy said he did not.

Likewise, an assessment that he “needs prompting” to prepare a meal was changed to say he could prepare a simple meal himself.

Official figures show there were 11,705 audits of Personal Independence Payments between January and August this year.

Ms Fellows has demanded urgent answers from Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.

She said: “These figures show that there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of vulnerable people who may have had their health assessment reports tampered with by someone who wasn’t even in the room.

“These audits must be halted and Esther McVey must answer to parliament with a statement this week.

“The case of my constituent shows that for many, the system is rigged entirely against them and that decisions are a foregone conclusion.

“The Tories aren’t just making the system difficult for people; they are now cheating people out of essential support.”

She added: “Thousands could have been forced into working by these ‘auditors’ who haven’t even met these people.

“The Tories’ welfare regime is targeting the most vulnerable people in society – all in the name of saving money while the wealthy receive tax cuts. It’s time they stopped attacking people and started supporting them.”

The DWP previously told the MP: “If a health professional’s advice is of poor quality which could result in an incorrect decision, the case will fail the audit activity.”