What you need to know about Atos assessments.

397514_433063430096524_259754982_n

Courageous whistleblower and Scottish nurse, Joyce Drummond, who recently made a heartfelt apology to Atos assessment victims, has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament Select Committee on Welfare Reform.

Joyce forwarded some of her notes to me, containing this information about Atos assessments. I have edited where needed, organised the notes and added some information to the text. I’ve included the contents from Joyce’s notes in full. Both Joyce and I share this information in the hope that people going through Atos assessments will find the information helpful and informative.

Joyce told me: 

“I knew nothing about Atos when I joined, and left as soon as I realised that there was no way to fight from the inside.  I stated at my interview for the job that I believed in social inclusion and social justice.

I went for 4 weeks training in England. The training did not prepare me for what I was expected to do in real life.

The forms that are completed prior to assessment, I have recently found out, are opened by Royal Mail Staff. They are then sent for “scrutiny” where nurses decide whether or not a face to face assessment is required. I was not involved in this and do not know what criteria are used.  

 It is made clear throughout training and working that we are not nurses- we are disability analysts.  Also, we do not carry out “medical assessments” – we carry out “functional assessments”. We did not even need a diagnosis to carry out assessments. I had reservations around consent, as we were expected to assess patients – sorry, we didn’t have patients, we had ‘claimants’ – who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances. 

We were also consistently told that we did not make benefit decisions. The final decision was made by a DWP decision maker with no medical qualification. If our assessment was overturned at appeal we never knew about it. There was no accountability for assessments overruled.”

Please note that assessment starts on the day of your appointment with the Health Care Professional (HCP) reading the form you completed when you applied for benefit. Remember that every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work”. That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government.  This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that you are entitled to.

Things that are noted at this stage are:

  • Did you complete the form yourself
  • Is the handwriting legible
  • Are the contents coherent

These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, your cognitive state and concentration.

Further observations made:

  • Do the things you have written add up
  • Does your medication support your diagnosis
  • What tests you have had to confirm diagnosis. For example a diagnosis of sciatica is not accepted unless diagnosed by MRI scan
  • Do you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or consultants. If you do, it shows that you are able to organise getting this information

Joyce observes:

“This is also a hidden cost to the NHS. I believe that if ATOS request information there is a charge levied by GP’s. However claimants are expected to source medical evidence themselves. It uses valuable NHS time for medical staff to write supporting statements. 

There were no hidden cameras, at least in Glasgow, to watch people arriving for assessment or sitting in waiting room. This may not be true in other areas.”

When the HCP has read your form they input some data into the computer system. The assessment properly begins when they call your name in the waiting room.

At this point the HCP assesses:

  • Did you hear your name being called
  • Did you rise from your chair unaided, did the chair have support arms or not
  • Were you accompanied – assessing your ability to go out alone
  • Were you reading a paper while waiting – assessing your concentration
  • Did you walk to the assessment room unaided, did you use any aids correctly. Did you navigate any obstacles safely – assessing sight

The HCP will shake your hand on introduction – assessing your handshake, noting if are you trembling, sweating – signs of anxiety. The HCP carefully scrutinises everything you do and say. The HCP will often ask on way to waiting room:

  • How long you’ve been waiting – assessing ability to sit, physically, and appraising your mental state
  • How did you get here today – assessing ability to drive or use public transport

Formal assessment begins by listing medical conditions/complaints. For each complaint you will be asked:

  • How long have you had it, have you seen a specialist
  • Have you had any tests, what treatments have you had
  • What’s your current treatment. Have you had any other specialist input e.g. physiotherapy, CPN

The HCP will use lack of specialist input/ hospital admissions to justify assessing your condition as less severe. Medications will be listed and it will be noted if they prescribed or bought. Dates will be checked on boxes to assess compliance with dosage and treatment regime. Any allergies or side-effects should be noted.

  • A brief note is made of how you feel each condition affects your life
  • A brief social history will be taken – who you live with, if have you stairs in your house or steps outside your house
  • Employment history taken – asking when you last worked, what you work entailed, reason for leaving employment

Your typical day – this is the part of the assessment where how you function on a day to day basis is used to justify the HCP decisions. Anything you say here is what is most likely to be used to justify you failing your assessment and being passed as “fit for work”. Along side this, the HCP records their observations.

Starting with your sleep pattern, questions are asked around your ability to function. This will include:

  • Lower limb problems – ability to mobilise to shops, around the house, drive, use public transport, dress, shower
  • Upper limb – ability to wash, dress, cook, shop, complete ESA form
  • Vision – did you manage to navigate safely to assessment room
  • Hearing – did you hear your name being called in waiting room
  • Speech – could the HCP understand you at assessment
  • Continence – do you describe incontinence NOT CONTROLLED by pads, medication. Do you mention its effects on your life when describing your typical day
  • Consciousness – Do you suffer seizures – with loss of continence, possible injury, witnessed, or uncontrolled diabetes
  • HCP observations include – how far did you walk to examination room, did you remove your coat independently, did you handle medications without difficulty, did you bend to pick up your handbag

Formal examination consists of simple movements to assess limited function. Things the HCP also looks at:

  • Are you well presented, hair done, wearing make-up, eyebrows waxed
  • Do you have any pets – this can be linked with ability to bend to feed and walk
  • Do you look after someone else – as a parent or carer- if you do, this will be taken as evidence of functioning
  • Any training, voluntary work, socialising – this will be used as evidence of functioning
  • Do you watch TV – this may be used as evidence of being able to sit unaided
  • If you wear jewelry it will be assumed you have sufficient dexterity to open the clasps on chains and so on

This is not a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of how seemingly innocent questions are used to justify HCP decisions to pass you as “fit for work.” For example, “Do you watch soaps on TV?” is translated as “Can sit unaided for at least half an hour” on the report.

Mental Health:

  • Learning tasks – Can you use a phone, computer, washing machine
  • Hazards – Can you safely make tea, if claiming accident, there must have been some emergency services involvement, e.g. fire service. Near miss accidents do not count

Personal Actions:

  • Can you wash, dress, gather evidence for assessment
  • Do you manage bills

Further observations made by the HCP – appearance and presentation:

  • Coping with assessment interview – any abnormal thoughts, hallucinations, confusion
  • Coping with change – ability to attend assessment, attend GP or hospital appointments, shopping and socialising

More HCP observations:

  • Appearance, eye contact, rapport, any signs/symptoms that are abnormal mood/thoughts/perceptions. Any suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with social engagement/appropriateness of behaviour – any inappropriate behaviour must have involved police to be considered significant
  • Ability to attend assessment, engage with assessor, behave appropriately

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, merely some examples.

Further information: 

At present to qualify for ESA you need to score 15 points, unless the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations apply to you. The 15 points can be a combination of scores from physical and mental health descriptors.

To qualify for the Support Group you must score 15 points in one section. As long as you are claiming income-based ESA then your award can be renewed at each assessment, if you gain 15 points.

You may also qualify without meeting the 15 points criterion, even if you don’t score any points, because of Exceptional Circumstances (Regulation 29 and Regulation 35, (or 25 and 31 for Universal Credit – see link at the foot of article) if there would be a substantial risk to your mental or physical health if you were found not to have limited capability for work. Regulation 29 is about exceptional circumstances for being assessed as having limited capability for work (WRAG) , and Regulation 35 is about  being assessed as having limited capability for work-related activity (Support Group).

Special cases – exemptions from assessment include those people having:  terminal illness, intravenous chemotherapy treatment and danger to self or others if found fit to work.

Contribution-based ESA lasts for 1 year only, unless you are in the support group. After 1 year in the work-related activity group, you may only get income-based ESA if your household income is below a certain threshold. It makes no difference how long you have previously paid National Insurance.

Joyce told me:

“For clarity, as far as I know in the real world, doctors carry out medical assessments, nurses carry out nursing assessments and physios carry out physiotherapy assessments. In the world of Atos, each of these separate professions are employed as disability analysts, carrying out functional assessments.

Nurses are employable for these posts if they have been qualified for at least 3 years, are registered to practice with the NMC, and have basic computer skills.

My interview consisted of:

  • Face to face interview with medical director and nurse team leader.
  • A written paper assessing a scenario, in my case someone with back pain
  • A 10 minute basic computer test

“In order to be approved as disability analyst I had to complete 4 weeks Atos disability training, reach a certain standard of assessment reports – as decided by audit of all cases seen (don’t know what criteria was) and finally approval to carry out Work Capability Assessments  (WCA) from the Secretary for Work and Pensions.

In my opinion the money given to Atos and spent on tribunals should be given to NHS GPs. They are best placed to make assessments regarding patients work capability. They have access to all medical reports, past history, specialist input and know their patients. My concern would be what criteria the DWP would impose on GPs risking the doctor/patient relationship. GPs already assess patients for “fit notes”, which have to be submitted to DWP during assessment phase of ESA.

While I worked at Atos, sessional medical staff were being paid £40 per assessment, as far as I am aware. I have no idea of wages of permanent medical staff. Nurses were on a salary, which based on 10 assessments a day (Atos target) equalled around £10 per assessment. These are approximate figures but may give a clue as to why Atos are employing nurses rather than doctors.”

Appendix

Most Atos HCPs are not doctors, they are usually nurses or occupational therapists. There are some conditions that will mean you need to be assessed by a qualified specialist nurse, or a doctor and you can ask for this.

List of conditions judged suitable for assessment by neuro trained nurses/any health care profession:

Prolapsed intervertebral disc
Lumbar nerve root compression
Sciatica
Slipped disc
Lumbar spondylosis
Lumbar spondylolisthesis
Lumbar spondylolysis
Cauda equina syndrome
Spinal stenosis
Peripheral neuropathy
Neuropathy
Drop foot
Meralgia paraesthetica
Cervical spondylosis
Cervical nerve root compression
Cervicalgia
Nerve entrapment syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Trapped nerve
Paraesthesia
Tingling
Numbness
Brachial plexus injury
Polyneuropathy
Dizziness
Vertigo
Essential Tremor
VWF
Alzheimers

List of conditions judged by the DWP and Atos Healthcare as suitable only for assessment by doctors:

Stroke
Head injury with neuro sequelae
Brain haemorrhage/Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage
Brain tumour
Acoustic Neuroma
Multiple Sclerosis
Motor Neurone Disease
Parkinson’s disease
TIAs
Bulbar Palsy
Myasthenia Gravis
Muscular Dystrophy
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Syringomyelia
Neurofibromatosis
Spina bifida
Polio
Fits (secondary to brain tumour)
Learning difficulties (with physical problems)
Nystagmus Myelitis
Bells Palsy
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Paraplegia
Quadriplegia
Huntington’s Chorea
Huntington’s Disease

Further information:

Special exemptions from the 15 points criteria: The New Regulation 25
Useful updated information about Regulations 25 & 31: Exceptional Circumstances and Universal Credit.
Exceptional Circumstances:
Employment and Support Regulation 31

Employment and Support Allowance: 2013 Regulations in full
The Amendments to ESA Regulations: as laid before Parliament
Clause 99 and important changes to the appeal process: Clause 99, Catch 22 – The ESA Mandatory Second Revision and Appeals
Questions you may be asked at assessment: dwpexamination forum 
How to deal with Benefits medical examinations: A Useful Guide to Benefit Claimants when up against ATOS Doctors
More support and helpful advice here: How to deal with Benefits medical examinations

Essential information for ESA claims, assessments and appeals

Previous related articles: 

Joyce’s campaign:  The Daily Record 
Joyce Drummond and Sue Jones:  After Atos

Further reading:

Targets in Atos contract

7 out of 8 targeted to lose ESA

Amnesty condemns erosion of human rights of disabled in UK

Whistleblower says Atos Work Capability Assessments are unfair

377683_445086432227557_1770724824_n (1)Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent artwork. Many thanks to Joyce for the information she has provided, and for her courage and integrity, which is so strongly evident in her outstanding campaign work.

222 thoughts on “What you need to know about Atos assessments.

  1. Cameron knows the numbers there just hidden in a vault and he threw away the key bit like the kengate tapes charlie the queen are best pals with cameron and all know jimmie saville was a pedo ,, its al a cover up , someone needs to find the kengate tapes to uncover the truth unless we do this will still happen 20 years on

    Like

  2. Hi. I’m writing this for my Sister. She’s due to have an assessment on 23rd Jan. we’ve had it (reluctantly by ATOS) postponed so it can be recorded and so I can get her medical evidence together as the letter about the assessment only arrived on 23rd December.

    She filled in the ESA50 in June last year and was really poorly then. She’s no right hand, only just survived MRSA by a whisker and has been left with chronic neuralgia and is on loads of drugs incl morphine and had a pain pacemaker on her spinal cord but got staph A and had to have it removed urgently.

    When she filled in the forms this was the state of play. She was due for further surgery to have another pacemaker implanted in September but because of her risk of infection and she also has chronic adhesions the surgeon decided it was too dangerous to proceed. Now she is on more morphine and new drugs that have caused aphasia and absences and she is asleep 16 hours a day. Despite a GP fax, ATOS have refused a home examination although they have agreed to pay her taxi fare but have refused to let us complete a new ESA50 to reflect her new circumstances and condition.

    She’s so upset and depressed about all this. Prior to the small bowel obstruction that caused the MRSA, my Sister was earning £30k a year and had always worked (4years ago) with modifications to her workstation to accommodate her disability.

    Can anyone offer any further help or advice as her GP, consultants and the CAB are mystified why someone so ill is being treated this way.

    Thankyou so much and good luck to everyone.

    Like

    1. Unfortunately typical Atos. I would email Atos again and request home visit, citing Gp agreement. I would copy this to your MSP
      / MP requesting their intervention. I usually also copy in Ian Duncan Smith. I would also ask Atos why scrutiny have requested a face to face assessment despite medical opinion.
      At the assessment your sister can tell it how it is now. She should also take letters of
      support from her medical team. Good luck, and get in touch if I can help any further. X

      Like

      1. Thankyou Joyce. I have emailed ATOS already and they have told me that they see no reason why, if my Sister can get to hospital appointments, she cannot make it to theirs.
        She is terrified about the assessment due to the aphasia which is made worse by stress and I fear she is unlikely to communicate her long, drawn out story and catalogue of symptoms well at all at, currently, she can’t even pronounce half of them any more, stares vacantly, cries often and gets frustrated and angry as all she feels people do is talk about her health and poke and prod her these days. Will I be able to answer for her if she gives insufficient answers?
        Joyce, what you did in lifting the lid on ATOS/Government’s real agenda took genuine courage, strength of character and real integrity and I applaud your actions. As Irish statesman and Philosopher Edmund Burke once said; The Only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing. You are the modern day (and female) embodiment of why this quote is still relevant today.
        Thanks for your advice and for speaking out against ATOS in the first place. Best wishes. littletyketess@yahoo.co.uk

        Like

      2. Hi Joyce. I would love to get in touch with you for further help. Please could you advise me how I go about sound this? I do not have a FB account, just in case it had anything to do with Facebook. I do have twitter, and various secure forms of email.
        They have now postponed the face to face until 28 Jan as I exercised my right to have the interview recorded.
        Best wishes and thanks.

        Like

      3. I had an atos assessment today but had it stopped half way through due to having incontinence they said they would send another appointment but did not know when. This was after telling the person that at the beginning that i had wet myself and it took another 20 minutes to stop the assessment. What happens now I do not want to go through this again I have never been so degraded or humiliated as I have today. I need some surgery and have other things wrong. Really would prefer to be signed off now. What happens now?

        Like

  3. It’s nice to know there are decent people around who are brave enough to stand up for what is right. I know it’s no an easy thing to do.

    It’s been breaking me trying to stand up for me and it is true that everything you do to try to help your case, justifies them saying you are able.

    It is there in black and white why I failed my appeal, at the top of the list is, I filled in the ESA50. The other reasons are all twisted.

    Has anyone else been amazed to read their appeal tribunal’s record of proceedings? You have to write and ask for it. Mine is a summarised approximation of what the clerk thought was being said during the appeal. The almost illegible hand writing tells me she was struggling to keep up. The comments said to be mine, are so succint I neither recogise myself nor can I imagine that I said some of the comments in that they are blatantly wrong. I know how I speak and what is written is not me talking. Condensing what I said has had the effect of reversing the meaning. This may not have been intended but why do they allow this practice? Surely I can’t be the only person who has noticed how in shortening sentances, or paraphrasing, the intended meaning is lost?

    I expected the Clerk to record the proceedings or failing that to use shorthand and a typed record to be produced. I expected that the Clerk would have to use our words. I expected a complete record and I expected that it would be signed as a true and complete record of the tribunal. Win or lose, I expected the Record to be true. I expected that the Record would help me understand the deision. I suppose it sort of does. When they were deliberating my case and they asked the Clerk to read back my answers, they heard what they wanted to hear and failed my appeal.

    Like

  4. I too applied for appeal which went to tribunal whereby i was openly mocked and humiliated, which continued even when I was in floods of tears. My problems are complex and involve both physical and mental health problems. I was told from the beginning they would only take into account either the physical or mental health. I was told categorically I had no mental health problems, i did not want to argue this with somebody so insensitive and that did not Know me or my medical background. So I sat there wondering why I was covered in scars on both wrists if I didn’t have any mental health problems and why I was being treated like a fraud or some kind of criminal.

    My physical problems are backed up by X rays blood results and MRI scans, not me simply saying I have XYZ wrong with me. Why are ill people being treated in this manner when at there most vulnerable, the whole system is seriously flawed and you should not have to prove on top of your problems you are genuinely ill. If they they believe it to be a fraudulent claim it should be up to them to prove it.

    Like

  5. I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye bddccgeedgae

    Like

    1. to continue, i was born with congenital and also have adult scoliosis along with the associated problems, have also arthritis and hyperthyroidism plus other age related problems , i have been on severe disablement allowance
      and dla, but i think the appointment i have is for the SDA claim from what i have read. i am worried sick what is going to happen as i have heard others go through some terrible times due to this

      Like

  6. Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance
    from an etablished blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?

    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things
    out pretty quick. I’m thinking about settinng up my own but I’m not sure where
    to start. Do you have any points orr suggestions?
    Thanks

    Like

  7. David Cameron has said that the voters are his boss & then using his own logic lets all do a sir Alan Sugar.”Your’e fired Mr Cameron. Iain Duncan Smith is a mad man & he should have his own wages stopped & see how the other half live. He is a slimey weasel that couldn’t lie straight in his own bed. I have reform for the Tories. Sack 90% of their MP’s as they are not worth the pay.Think of the money we could save & not a disabled person hurt by it.

    Like

  8. Hi all, thanks for the article.
    I too have had a never ending stream of trouble with ATOS/DWP and co, I have a PIP assessment due next month, just sent off a letter for requirement for a home visit
    I have been to tribunal twice, and won
    I have recorded all my assessments, so was able to prove lies by HCP for ATOS- tribunal didn’t care really of course, but as I proved the lies, well that helped I reckon…
    Thing is– don’t give up!!!
    God Bless
    Nick
    p.s. posted this article link on facebook if that’s OK?!
    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy to see it shared, thanks Nick. Agree that having the assessments recorded helps a lot. My first one was unrecorded, the assessor lied, and I also had to go to tribunal. Second was recorded, and I was placed straight into the support group without any ado.

      Good luck with the PIP assessment x

      Like

  9. Hi I’ve been on esa for 10 months at £70 odd per week I have just received my mediacal for dec 29 im so anxious,and am stressing about it im worried how I will get there I suffer from depression and panick attacks it’s been bought on by my son who tried killing himself and my daughter has cancer I have really bad mood swings that can get quite bad I shout and scream and even have thoughts of hurting other people my mum will not travel with me to the medical im 50 yrs old pls help im so worried about failing also im in debt upto my eyeballs can’t afford to go bankrupt as it cost £700

    Like

  10. I should explain about my thoughts I was out with my mum sitting in her car while she walked the dog and another dog went to attack hers my mum was crying I started screaming at the person and they just told me to shut up I then had a thought to run them over my mum had to calm me down sorry I just didn’t want anyone to think I was a bad person I just get in a bad temper due to depression and meds I’ve also put on so much weight I can’t walk on my feet as I have plantar police and feet

    Like

    1. Hi I am in my 7th month of being signed off by the doctor and just had another sicknote for 8wks today i have arthritus in my wrists and hands i have had 6 steroid injections in my thumbs and fingers and my wrist is unstable i have seen a specialist and he said i could have the joint removed from my thumb but this could make the wrist bones collapse so for now i am in limbo i was working as a chef but the punishing regime on my hands and wrists became too much and i had no help from my employers even tho i had been to occupational health and they had been wrote too they werenot willing to reduce the shift lengths which were 11 hours long so eventually i left for a part time job this was a mistake as i was still struggling to hold onto trays and plates etc this led to me leaving the job and having to see the doctor who signed me off long term and suggested i had my health assesed, i am frightened of the assesment and have been hearing horror stories of people having to pay the benefit back etc is this true i have contributed all my life and worked since i was 15 i am now 55yrs old any advice would be much appreciated.

      Like

      1. An update on things still no assesment and its been 12 months contributions based esa at an end awaiting an op on my thumb joint supposed to be 19th june but i had an accident and broke my ribs whilst trying to get out of bath with my arthritic wrists so its been delayed 3 wks i rang esa and said things are deteriorating but they had no answers i will let you know if i get my assesment regards vivien lane

        Like

      2. Sorry to hear about your accident, Vivien, it sounds very painful. It’s disgusting that you’ve just been left like this with no further progress with your claim. Are you still getting some payments to live on?

        I fell onto a bookcase and broke my ribs last year, and boy does it hurt. I have coordination problems sometimes, as my nervous system is affected by lupus. And I’ve De Quervian’s tendinopathy in both wrists, can’t put any weight on them. That is also painful, because we need to use our hands so much just to get through the day. Much sympathy and hugs to you x

        Like

      3. Hi, no all payments stopped surviving on my partners income alone its put a strain on our relationship in agony with my ribs at present operation rescheduled for july 17th for trapeziectomy my specialist is hoping being in a cast helps my wrist or its wrist fusion next feel abandoned by ESA regards vivien

        Like

      4. Hi kitty, I have a date for assessment 22 nd July just recovering from my broken ribs and having trapeziectomy on 17th July (bone taken from my thumb) my gp is seeing me today and writing me a letter of support to take I have already been harassed by the job centre asking what job I would like to do now my contributions based esa is ended I told the lady I’m due an operation 8wks in plaster followed by probable wrist fusion and trapeziectomy on right thumb joint she suggested I could do a telephone job with an earpiece in so I don’t have to use my hands! I am dreading the assessment I will let you know what happens many thanks for your help and advice x

        Like

      5. It’s disgraceful that people who are sick, disabled and in pain are harassed into working, no matter how detrimental it may be to our health. If you can, keep sending sick(fit) notes every month to the DWP to cover yourself. It’s not a jobcentre advisors place to decide if you can work, because they lack the skills, qualifications and knowledge to make that decision. Grrrr!

        Good luck with your assessment. Don’t forget to take care how you answer questions and present yourself as if it’s your worst day. If you sometimes can’t do something, you need to make sure that the assessor knows that, because legally, it means you can’t do it at all. For example, if you can’t get upstairs some days, it means you have to be marked down as unable to get upstairs. There’s lots of info on here – https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/1560/

        Like

      6. Hi kitty,this is unbelievable but I had to go for assessment today soon as assessor called me in and saw I was in a plaster cast she refused to assess me on the grounds it was an unfair assessment I paid £25 to get a taxi there and I am in agony with my operation being on the 17th July only 5 days ago image phoned esa and put in a complaint at my treatment and sent in all my medicalnotes from the gp I’m so disgusted at how it has all been handled I told her I’m having a new cast nxt week for 6/8 wks then wrist fusion I should never of been dragged in there today it was unsafe as I’m prone to falls at this time regards Vivien lane

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, thank you for reply so worried since reading your information already at a disadvantage as i filled in my own form my left hand is far worst than my right which i use to write with i am going to ask to see the specialist again to back me up so your advice has been invaluable thank you

    Like

    1. Really hope you are sorted out. Use the problems you have to your advantage in the assessment. If you struggle writing, make sure the assessor knows.

      I have de quervains tendinopathy in both wrists, it’s difficult because it means effectively it can be too painful to use my hands at all sometimes

      Lots of luck and please let us know how you get on xx

      Like

  12. my dad failed a medical assesment through wearing a gold bracelet !!! WTF !! when questioned on this at his appeals tribunal they says because he would need to unfasten and fasten the clip !! when he told them tht he never takes it off to do these things they more or less laughes in his face ! ATOS right name for them A=Arrogant, T= Tossers, O=Of the S= State

    Like

    1. That’s absolutely outrageous. Many of us wear jewellry that we don’t take off. I’ve a gold locket that was my mothers’, and I also never take it off. That’s clear evidence that Atos are a sham and a front for the govt taking money away from sick and disabled people, and that was scraping the barrel of excuses to stop your dads’ lifeline benefit. Utterly shameful. Appeal.

      Like

  13. I completed the application for medical assessment Feb’ 2015 ( nearly twelve months ago )
    I AM STILL WAITING MY APPOINTMENT !!
    Delays have caused me to be overdrawn and in debt with my credit-card.
    Can I claim any compensation ?
    ‘Phoned Benefits Agency 21st Jan’ 2016 to be told “contact the Medical Services”
    which I did. They told me “to wait my turn – nothing they can do”
    Phoned Benefits Agency again on the 28th Jan’ to be told “they we will flag me – urgent”
    Went to local Jobcentre and they confirmed this had been done and my appointment should be with me 9th Feb’ ( My son’s 18th birthday )

    Suffered stroke Nov’ 2011, partial sighted ( Reg’d), numb lip
    took early retirement 2012. No energy and bouts of both bowel and bladder incontinence
    Pacemaker 2013 December 2013 – tidal surge flooded home
    April 2014 – fell down stairs – ankle pinned and plated
    January 2015 – prostate biopsy proved positive – ” under active surveillance”
    increased bouts of incontinence both ends !!
    Stopped family support to ex-wife.
    Was due to have sons over Christmas – my wife wouldn’t pay for their train fare.

    Like

    1. Sorry to hear about your experiences, Mo. There’s a massive backlog that is leaving people without their money, but you should ensure you get your payments backdated once you get your award. It’s not your fault that the company dealing with the assessments are so incompetent. Hope your assessment goes well, and that you have no problems with your backpay

      Like

      1. I am now in receipt of the report from the DWP and the Health Assessment, which states :

        “Occasional bowel incontinence ”

        This is untrue.

        I am “dirty” most mornings and I have had three “extensive evacuations of the bowel” this year. Two inside the home, one whilst walking back on Friday afternoon, from Canasta Club.

        The Approved Disability Analyst did not help when he said ” Never mind about the incontinence” and his statement ” My MRI scan shown normal”

        My discharge notes clearly show I have :

        ” left homonymous hemianopsia, MRI brain confirmed Right occipital infarct”

        Like

  14. Hi there I have type 1 diabetes and suffered a heart attack a few years back and went back to work 5 days after getting out of hospital and got sent home saying I wasn’t ready to work I have since lost over 6 stone and feel very weak and when I need the toilet I need to go or end up wetting myself it is getting more and more regular its made me depressed but atos reckon I am able to go back to work personally I would like to go to work but certainly don’t feel able and when on jsa I keep getting sanctioned so find it hard to eat in turn not able to take my Insulin and get chest pains a lot I feel dwp wont be happy till I keep over this country is a joke and getting worse

    Like

  15. hi my names Joanna and i had my pip assessment last Wednesday however after an hour of heartbreaking questions which left me really upset the assessor stopped what was happening because as she said “can see your in a lot of pain and distress and don’t want to push you any further” I’m now left confused as i don’t know what is gonna happen next. Does anyone know what happens if they stop the assessment thanks in advance xx

    Like

  16. Re Joannas message…the PIP assessor I had said the same to me; ” I don’t want to put you through this” in relation to performing movement tests as he could see I was disabled. I was refused PIP and despite asking repeatedly for a copy of the assessors report, I only received it 3 months later after submitting an appeal. I was horrified to see an entire A4 page describing all of the movements I could make, including putting my left hand behind my back, yet my left arm hasn’t been able to move for 2 years despite 2 neuro surgery operations. I couldnt believe it. Furthermore, I took loads of evidence to my assessment GP letters., X ray results, MRI results, letters from specialists, hospital appointments, photographs etc, and the assessor said to me that none of it was needed to be copied as he would say he had seen it all on his report and his “word was enough”. At the times I thought great…when I read the report, he didn’t mention a single word regarding evidence apart from “No evidence was produced or available”…Absolutely unbelievable! I’ve read all the horror stories in the press about these assessments and didn’t believe them,..Now I know they’re all true. It’s disgusting and there’s no consequences for these people, they never have to justify their reports and that’s just wrong also.
    IMPORTANT…worth noting and Ive heard this from friends also…within a week of the assessment, expect to receive a phone call from “TNS Global” doing a survey on behalf of the NHS..quelle surprise..the recording of this conversation was presented as evidence for the appeal tribunal, which the tribunal agreed was nonsense and contained nothing of relevance or contradictory.

    Like

  17. I had a so called assesment the assesor was male and he twisted half of what i said and blatently lied about the other half…. The fact that he is not a gp and examined my legs without a female presant i found disturbing in its self….I would never put my self through that again id rather do with out the money than be made out to be a lier….I honestly wish they could be trapped in my body for 1 day to see how they would cope themselves….but you know what they say what goes around comes around and i really hope they get every thing they deserve at some point in there sad little pathetic lives….

    Like

  18. i am 26 years old and have severe mental health issues since being bullied at school and trauma when i was young. im agoraphobic and depressed etc. i failed a medical 2 years ago cause the woman made everything up on the computer. she even had my medication list all wrong when it was written down on paper infront of her. i even had to go the jobcentre to sign on just to get money to live by. my mum was with me every step but it was so hard and humilliating and i even had to use the local food bank as im diabetic and couldnt even afford proper food. i only had my benefits reinstalled due to appealling and having a very good doctors letter to back me up as i was suicidal after all the hurt it caused me. ive not really seen my doctor since as i wont leave my house.
    well im now due for another medical next month and im already terrified. i cant stop crying and i cant sleep with worry knowing the corrupt people will fail me. i just want to end it all but i cant for my mums sake. any advice on how to get through this would be helpful. thanks guys xx

    Like

    1. First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your experience and distress. You can ask for the assessment to take place in your home.

      You have an idea of how the assessments are conducted, and how they are geared towards passing you as “fit for work”. Yes, they lie, leave out information and put misinformation on your report. The best we can do is try and preempt this and be prepared for it.

      You can also ask for the assessment to be recorded. That’s what I did after the first report was nothing like what was discussed and full of nonsense. I had to appeal the first time, too. I did get a decent assessor for the 2nd wca. But it was recorded, too, so the report was accurate. I was placed in the support group then.

      I wrote this, som of the info is from this one, but the “reliably, safely and consistency” rule is very important, and so are the regulations listed, which you may also be able to use – https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/1560/

      If there’s anything at all you need to know, just ask, and let us know how you get on, too. Let the assessor see you at your very worst, and very best wishes x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks very much for the replies Kitty S Jones and also to AL. i really do appreciate the advice. my mum rang them to see if it could be recorded but she was told id have to provide the recorder myself and i dont have any device that can make 2 copies at once sort of thing.
        it hurts knowing the government target the genuine people with illnesses. in a way im dreading it all but i think i have good support from my mum who is my carer and i have a great doctor who im confident would back me up again if needed. im trying to stay strong in the meantime and i have my mum here renting online movies and getting snacks etc just to try keep me calm and take my mind off things bless her cause im so down. this time my mum will be with me at my assessment because last time she was told to wait outside by the lady there. she told them on the phone she be coming in with me and they said its fine as long as she is quiet.
        they wont come to my house because i didnt request it on my questionaire form. but that was because i didnt know they could come to the house otherwise i would have asked for that but its to late now apparently.
        but again thank you both so much. means alot to know there are others that care. i will definately keep you updated too. thanks xxxx

        Like

      2. It is not your fault you did not know how to ask for a home visit. Write to the complaints department and tell them so. They are only following rules. For you this is cruel. Maxumus can be flexible but only if you complain and tell them why this is going wrong. They will say they are only following DWP rules and it is not their fault if folks get hurt. It it the Law. It is only if you complain they have a teeny bit of flexibility. It is going wrong because you cannot do what is required by the rules. No doubt they want to insist on your attending the centre because it proves you can get out, and on time. Your Mum needs to explain how the stress of this WCA has taken over both your lives. As your carer she can explain how distressing this extra stress is now for both of you. You can also tell them that you have applied well in advance to have your WCA recorded. They do have these very special recorders and you neither know what these recorders are, where to get one, how to pay for one or how to operate one. It is their job. It must be done by their rules so they should do it, else you will use your own recorder that you are familiar with. It is your right to have you WCA recorded!!

        Like

    2. Hold on to the fact, that this too shall pass. They know the WCA is not perfect. They know It is damaging. It will pass. Meanwhile we deal with what is. So you may be rubbish on the day. Say all the wrong things, be a sniveling wreck and the assessor can say, ‘Putting it on. Benefits away!! Hurrah!!’ Then you get help and appeal again. And you say, this kind of assessment with under/inappropriately qualified professionals does not suit my condition and me. I cannot perform as is necessary for getting my condition understood and show how it limits me. Indeed I cannot perform, which is why I ask the State for support. I cannot manage to compete as other do. I cannot articulate my problems. I cannot talk about my problems in depth without becoming upset and maybe suicidal. Contemplating my limitations in their entirety is overwhelming and I can’t do it. This assessment pushes me right to the edge. I fear it could push me beyond but even though I sometimes I feel the urge to be dead and out of this, I still wish to live my life out to it’s natural end as is my right.

      You need to ask for what you need – A home assessment because of your agoraphobia. If they do not treat you right – Complain. You can email a nice polite complaint and they will answer you.

      I would prepare for the worst – Failure and hope for the best, an assessor who is human and understanding and prepared to do the right thing. You survived last time. You can again. However bad this makes you feel, it will pass and you can survive it. Indeed tell yourself you will not let some Maximus Lacky or DWP Bod push you off your God given perch. Good Luck.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s