TBA on #creativecrip – new section detailing my personal experiences with Atos

Atos Origin is a French IT firm privately contracted by the UK government to carry out health ‘assessments’ for both ESA WCA and DLA. I have had to go through both processes and will be adding a section here comparing the two – they were as different as night and day to my everlasting surprise.

Important  Notes to be expanded upon

ESA – First Application: Fail

  • Completed paperwork on my own (with special report documentation)

ESA – Second Application: Limited Capacity to Work decision

  • Supported by Citizen’s Advice Bureau, specialist reports & comprehensive CMHT report from Occupational Therapist
  • ‘Exam’ undertaken at local Atos Centre. Doctor was rude, abrupt, a foreigner whose English was not that great (imo) – and who seemed critical of my English and Welsh (not that it should have mattered). Refused to look at the mountain of paperwork, scans and meds I was requested to bring. Tapped a brown folder with 1 piece of paper repeatedly saying he “has all the information he needs”.  Health exam itself was farcical as was this man’s clear reliance on the computer screen he couldn’t keep his eyes off of.
  • He was obsessed – yes – with my immigration status and why I haven’t left my home here in the UK. This carried on into his demands about my plans to “do some real work”
  • Suffice it to say that I was shocked to receive the LCW decision (I expected worse – #fitforwork)
  • Was most unhappy at having to return for yet another Atos interview – this time about the LCW decision
ESA – LCW Interview with Atos Nurse
  • Nice lady, actually. Seemed sympathetic.
  • Reviewed my plans for self-employment
  • I was then thrown into the power of the local A4E centre for this area.
ESA – LCW A4E Experience
  • The “Advisor” was lovely, but unfortunately the service is useless. By their own admission they “don’t really know how to deal with professionals” and mainly “exist to tick off boxes for the Jobcentre & DWP”. Even after my mandated 6 months was over, they were still pushing to “check up” on me – to make sure I claimed Back-to-Work Tax Credits.
  • Thanks to the CMHT I had a meeting with a nice lady from Career Wales (prospects for working for other people). She also referred me to Venture Wales (prospects for self-employment).
ESA – One Year Review
  • Supported by Citizen’s Advice Bureau, specialist reports & updated comprehensive CMHT report from Occupational Therapist

DLA – First Application: Fail

  • Completed paperwork on my own (with documentation)
  • DLA indicate the decision was based on WCA exam results
  • Appeal requested as WCA and DLA are very different in purpose.
DLA – Second Application: Minimum Award
  • Supported by Citizen’s Advice Bureau, specialist reports & updated comprehensive CMHT report from Occupational Therapist
  • Judged as having very little Care needs and no mobility needs. Even though I am housebound.

DLA – First Appeal: Fail

  • Supported by new Caseworker at Citizen’s Advice Bureau (much more on the ball than the first – also takes up the ESA Review), specialist reports & updated comprehensive CMHT report from Occupational Therapist
  • Provided Daily Living Diary kept over several months
  • CAB requested copies of all documents used to make the first two decisions. What we were sent were copies of their rejection letter, which was not what was asked for.
  • DLA people claim submission missed targeted deadline – yet we kept asking for information that we did not get trying to meet the deadline
  • CAB submits complaint to Tribunal Service.
DLA – Second Appeal: Tribunal gets involved
  • Tribunal rules in my favour:
  • Deadline was met
  • Errors were made by DLA people, not myself or CAB
  • Atos must do new, separate health exam
  • Appeal can go ahead
DLA – Final Appeal
  • CAB requests Atos exam be done at my flat. Request granted but not without wrangling problems.

The exam

  • One postponement of exam on my part due to other health assessments around the same time; wanted to have up-to-the-minute reports where possible for health visitor. Also had mental health meltdown over the situation and having to possibly cope alone.
  • The doctor’s manner and attitude was markedly different to what I had to endure with WCA. Fair to say he seemed quite a decent chap: took a lot of notes, read through *everything* I had available to support my application and seemed to listen to what I had to say.
  • Had the one offline friend who has stood by me through thick and thin present for the exam. This was very helpful as he helps me where he can and is the closest I have to practical support though he lives some distance away. He was actually able to provide insight having dealt with the bad and downright ugly aspects of my disabled isolation. I do think his presence made an important difference.
  • Big problem – Doctor came with paperwork supplied by Atos/DWP …. old information from my first failed attempt with ESA/DLA rather than updated DLA details.
DLA – Final Appeal Decision
  • In my favour as recounted briefly here
I will also include photos and scans of my own personal health histories which I hope will give readers insight into my thoughts. This is quite an undertaking given my complex health constraints, but I aim to release items in iterations rather than delay by waiting until the project is completed. This post has already proven more detailed than I had planned, so can suffice as an outline of what’s to come.

26 thoughts on “TBA on #creativecrip – new section detailing my personal experiences with Atos

  1. Pingback: I still don’t want to live this life – the real world 2 months #afterESA - The Creative Crip

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