Hello all, has anyone any advice for a DLA home visit assessment by ATOS?

I've been waiting for months for a decision after being denied for the umpteenth time and then subsequently requesting a reconsideration have ATOS doctor coming to assess me at home. I'm not complaining just terrified of ATOS as they've not been kind to me over the years. My welfare rights advisor told us when we filled out the form, in feb, that they don't tend to come out the home anymore so I was surprised to get the app through the post.

I have varying pieces of equipment such as bed rail, bath lift, perching stool, fat cutlery and more but can't help feeling like they'll make me go to appeal. If anyone has any advice to help avoid this happening other than having relevant papers, meds etc I would really appreciate it. are there things not to say for example?

I've been housebound for pretty much 18 months so getting this extra support will help me to get out more. I hope!

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  • hi zeb73

    do you live alone, if yes you need someone to be with you on the day, do not answer the door and do not offer to make a cuppa and don't tell the doc that you can cope

  • Thankyou, very useful info fibrodave its the little things like that that I won't think of. I don't suppose you know how I can stop my OH from blitzing the house before they turn up too do you? He's OCD when stressed!

  • Hi zeb73,, I know how you are feeling... I have not had as much stress with Astos as you ... but I have the Atos Dr. coming on Monday and yes i am scared stiff.... I have had a lot of support from other fribro babes.. I have been told to make sure you keep your meds downstairs and upstairs. have your sticks or cruches near you at all times... and remember from me.. that he or she are only human.... if you cannot do anything that they ask you to then don't and tell them that you are unable.... oh and another thing.. stay in your pj's and dont do your hair... all this just so we get what we are entitled too... Its a joke I know but what are we meant to do other wise.. good luck HC x

  • thankyou happycroc for the support its unbelievable the hoops they make us jump through just to get what we're entitled to even when we can't jump!

    I wish you much luck for Monday and i'll be thinking of you. let me know how it goes.

    zeb x

  • I had a doctor's letter to DWP or ATOS (can't remember which) telling them that I am homebound and unable to attend an assessment appointment due to illness. I asked my friend to be at my home when the doctor arrived. She was a bit late and he came early.

    I had to answer the door. I was wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothes and a bra. Big mistake on both counts, as he wrote on my form that he took my parking permit and walked up to my 3rd floor flat after putting it on his car (at least 5 min) and that I had waited for him at the door and opened the door again. Now, this was to catch me out, and it did not matter that I was standing in the corner of the hallway by the door with all my weight against the walls in agony while waiting. I'd decided to do this instead of walking back to the living room and then having to get up and walk back to the hall. Little things like that they will pick up.

    Good advice to stay in pajamas and keep your walking stick near you, etc. I didn't have one, so he assumed that I was exaggerating. Also, at least 70 percent of the time, I was only able to walk from room to room by holding onto walls and furniture. I told him I fall. He said outright. "I don't believe that you fall."

    When the copy of the form was sent back to me, I saw that he had written all this on it, and that he had put '"No significant disability" in every section, and given me no points.

    I had a horrible time with the nasty attitudes and interrogations of the tribunal at my appeal, but left with back pay for DLA for lowest rate mobility and care.

    Within about a month after my appeal hearing for DLA, I had an ESA assessment at home. I was very worried, of course, given my previous experience, and I still had not recovered physically and emotionally from the ordeal of the DLA hearing.

    I was even more concerned when I got the notice of the doctor's name, as she had written lies about me 3 yrs back when I attended an Incapacity Benefit hearing, and I'd had to appeal that (successful appeal, and very little difficulty convincing the judges that time)

    Anyway, when the ESA assessment doctor arrived, my friend and I were prepared. She came early and was still wearing a professional looking outfit from her school. She had her briefcase with her (she is a teacher of English at a local college). She had a pad of paper and a pen. When the doctor arrived, she answered the door. I was in my sofa, made up like a bed, as I spend a lot of my time there during the day. I did not move from there at all. Wearing my nightgown, shaking a bit and looking like death warmed over as I had not slept the night before due to nerves.

    I said hello to the doctor when she came in and explained that my friend is the closest person to me, and that she is here to take notes because I have a poor memory when I am in pain.

    The doctor was visibly intimidated by all this. I have no idea if she recognized me from 3 yrs back (when she had written lies on my form and implied that I am lying by writing things like that I 'failed to meet her gaze when she asked me certain questions'. I was about to faint from pain and exhaustion and I told her that!)

    This time, she went to sit down in the chair we'd put facing me so I could remain lying comfortably on the sofa propped up by pillows and covered in a blanket, she just barely brushed my foot, and immediately acted upset and worried, saying abruptly "Oh, I'm so sorry, about 3 times." I had barely even felt a slight brushing against my toe.

    She asked me only a few questions, kept looking up at my friend taking notes, did not touch me or ask me to do anything at all, and ended by saying that she felt I should be in the support group and that she was going to recommend this. She also said that she was so sorry for my pain and that she wished she could do something to help me, but of course could not as she was only here to do an assessment.

    I couldn't believe this and in fact waited anxiously with the expectation that I would be denied again. But I was put in the support group, even though my GP had omitted important details in the report they asked her for.

    So... my belief is that if they know you've done your homework about what you are entitled to, and you don't go in there trying to prove them wrong but just seem to be overwhelmed by the illness, AND if you have a support person, attentive, professional looking and taking note of everything they say and do (My friend never stopped writing from the moment she arrived until the moment she left) they are more likely to treat you with respect and consideration and to be worried that they will be caught out and reported.

    I would say, present yourself with a consistent reminder to the assessment doctor that although you may at times be able to perform some tasks, your level of pain is extreme, and that you cannot walk without severe pain, etc. Whenever they ask you a question, say again something about the extreme pain or exhaustion that is caused by whatever it is. In my DLA hearing, I referred to the DWP assessor's guidelines as available from the Benefits and Work website. Especially stating that consideration should be given as to whether a task or activity can be done without severe pain and whether it can be repeated and whether it can be done easily. Each time I was asked about what I do or can do, I would include something about pain level, exhaustion, and lack of ability to repeat it. I think they knew that if they did not award me the low rates I would win the higher level appeal. I think also that they could see that despite being slumped and half falling out of the chair and shaking constantly in one or other part of my body, I was intelligent and informed and prepared to persist until I got some fairness. I think that is why I got a favourable outcome.

    I know this is a very long post, but I felt that others might be interested to read my experiences and how very extremely they differed from one to the other.

    I wish you all the best.

  • i'm sorry to hear you had to go through all that. my atos experiences are very similar. they were long, exhausting and full of poverty and anxiety each time. ESA was ok for me straight transfer from incap to support group, incidently, also got my blue badge with no medical both inside 4 weeks of claim. rarety that!

    yet DLA denied me so I asked for reconsideration straight away in march/april and they can't answer or make a decision on the same evidence that ESA and blue badge people received!

    I mean, how ridiculous is that? LOL

    sometimes I laugh because of the daftness of it all because what's the alternative? My OH is very good with me so again i'm lucky there but neither of us have family where we are just our friends. I hope we see karma reach those that deserve it?

    going back to Atos docs....

    I had one that told me that if I thought the physical medical would cause me injury or further harm to already present injuries, that I could decline.

    Guess what?! so I did.

    My OH and I spent 8 months waiting for a tribunal for it to last 2 minutes as it got thrown out because the doctor should not have said that to me. The DWP had broken the law by stopping our incap and income support. I must say tho I got every penny back even the xmas bonus and cold weather payments. still no compensation for both our health suffering coz of the stress. aaaarrrrrgggghhhh! I hope you don't mind my little rant

    its always good to chat to someone who knows!

    take care

    zeb

  • I am always glad to hear of other people's experiences. There's an old saying "Forewarned is forearmed!" That is a good one, and has proven helpful for me. There's a bible verse, too. I'm not religious but it is also helpful (it actually refers to dealing with the devil, but these people are pretty close to devils in my opinion) It says "Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16.

    I'm not religious, but sometimes we need to keep focused by remembering sayings and truths such as these so we can survive and live to enjoy the life that we have every right to enjoy.

    It is my firm belief that our human rights are being violated by many of the things the DWP, ATOS, and some doctors are doing to us. This is not just and not anything to do with any wrongs on our part. Nor is it going to help this country get through the economic crisis to demoralize and demonize its poor, aged, and disabled citizens, or even the chronically unemployed.

    I have no friends or family living near me. My children live in another country and have not visited in the last 3 years because they can't afford the airfare and time off work. I have no carer and Social Services will not provide anything beyond some adaptive things like chair raisers, perching stools, a 4-wheel trolley which I use to get around my flat by putting my weight on it when I am unable to walk or too tired to walk without collapsing in a heap.

    I was even told that I cannot get a wheelchair to attend medical appointments because at the moment the criteria for wheelchairs in my area say that you have to go out of your house 4x a week or more to qualify for one.

    Life is difficult and there are many days I feel like giving up. But I am happy in myself, and I manage to get through the worst times by remembering that my pain and difficulties are like the weather. They come and go. I ride them out one way or another. However, the stress and anxiety of hearing more cuts and more negative attitudes toward disabled people all the time is aggravating my symptoms to be sure. I try to just take it one day at a time. Sometimes I can only do one hour at a time or even a minute at a time when I am in extreme pain. My doctor is not too helpful. She seems to think that most of what I experience is emotionally based.

    I'm going to find a new doctor soon, with the help of local FM support group members.

    It is good to read what people write on this forum, because it keeps me focused and balanced and encouraged to know I am not alone.

    Thank you all so much for being here. Although I don't often participate, I do get a lot from this forum. The reason I don't write more is that I have difficulty writing only a little bit!

    Thanks for being patient with me when I do write too much, as with this post.

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