My Atos report

Got a nice New Year present of the papers that will be sent off to the tribunal court for my appeal to go into the ESA support group instead of work related group. Have been unwell since before Christmas with a nasty virus which still hasn't quite gone, but as I am stuck indoors in the snow decided to go though the assessor's report and what the DWP/Atos have to say.

My initial impression is the sheer arrogance of Atos/DWP - I quote

'It is important to distinguish between the role of the health care professional, and that of the GP or consultant. The primary role of the GP is to diagnose and treat any medical conditions that their patient presents to them. A GP or consultant does not routinely consider the functional restrictions appropriate to the activities and descriptors of the limited capability for work assessment' And also it would seem quite acceptable for me to perform 'activities' even if causes pain or discomfort.

Sorry to see that Prof Hughes, my GP, physio, osteopath, and all the other consultants I have seen over the years have never considered my 'functional capabilities' or discussed them with me!!!

The report itself is very fair and the assessor stated that it was unlikely that I would be able to return to work for at least two years (that is when I will be getting my state pension) and unlikely to return in the longer term due to all the evidence. Needless to say the DWP ignored this.

The problem I have with the assessor's report is that she was not from the uk, and the standard of written English is pretty dire to say the least. She was typing away furiously whilst I was being interviewed and then only took a further 30mins to complete her report.

I can imagine that with the numbers of appeals the tribunal are not going to have time to read reports except at speed and it is just not possible to do that with the way mine is written. So I am considering rewriting it in the same sequential order that she has (a complete joke!) and correcting spelling and grammatical errors and then sending it to the court with a covering letter to say why I have done so. My husband isn't too sure about this so I would welcome opinions.

At the end of the day I just with this government would be up-front and honest about their policies to the chronically sick and disabled. If they are means testing DLA and ESA (which it would appear they are doing) why can't they just say so.

9 Replies

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  • Have you tried calling the tribunals service and asking them their opinion about badly written reports? It may be worth a try. Who if anyone is representing you and have you spoken to them about this?

    Unfortunately our Doctors and specialists are primarily concerned with our medical state and have not got time to worry about functional capabilities. That side of things normally gets passed over to Social Services when it becomes a chronic problem that needs longer term needs. Because of these assessments Doctors are now being dragged in to write reports which this assessment process has been designed to be at odds with and so they can excuse themselves by ignoring.

    Personally I would call the tribunal court and any advisors or representatives you have and seek their opinion but other than that I would not waste your time retyping it. Most of the reports will be from the same type of person so they will be used to receiving reports like yours. However there is no harm in pointing that out in your defence if you feel it would do any good. It sounds like you will be fine when the hearing comes and that must be a great relief. Well Done!

  • My GP is very good and I know he will do a good letter for me to send to the court. I have decided that there is no point wasting time and energy on rewriting the assessor's report but will make the court aware that it is appalling standard of English.

    I don't have the energy to deal with anything at the moment and my husband doesn't have the time. And I am only now 18 months away from my state pension..I admit that is is tempting just to give up but then I think of all the money I could have earned over the last ten years if I had been well enough to work.

    We're going to write to the court putting a strong case that will be based on my age and querying the decisions made which seem to ignore what the assessor said.

  • Hi Panda. I have been through the tribunal process myself and have been placed in the support group as a result. I had great support in the form of the legal advisor for benefits at the Citizens Advice Bureau, and I will pass on to you the advice he gave me.

    I was feeling humiliated, ashamed and embarrassed at the prospect of the tribunal - the thought of having to tell more strangers all about the things I can no longer do, and how so many of my basic functions were failing, was unbearable. I was very emotional and very angry, because the ATOS report was inaccurate, unfair, badly written and, in some places, contained untruths about my condition and my capabilities.

    I was ready, like you, to rewrite their whole report, correcting all the things that were wrong.

    My CAB adviser told me that, at the Tribunal, the panel would not be interested in any inaccuracies up to that point. The only thing they would consider was my ability to match the relevant descriptors.

    He recommended that I save the energy I was using on being angry, upset, ashamed etc, and re-focus on the descriptors for qualification for the support group. I found them on the internet easily, and having read them very carefully, I wrote a personal statement which showed that I qualified under 4 of the descriptors. At the same time, and independently of me, my husband wrote a statement as my carer - he thought I qualified under the same 4 descriptors.

    We sent off the statements as directed on the tribunal paperwork, and on the morning of the tribunal I got a phone call saying that I had no need to attend the tribunal - my case had been decided in my favour without me having to appear, and I qualified for the support group under descriptor 1, my limited mobility and difficulty walking.

    So, my advice to you - get support from CAB or another benefits support group and then focus on the relevant descriptors which you feel apply to you needing to be moved to the support group, and let the injustice of the rest of it go. It is really hard to do, but so worth it.

    The worst of it all is that we have to deal with all this when we are feeling so unwell, and not our normal selves, so I send you a big hug and warmest wishes for a successful outcome. NOW, GO FOCUS!!!! Larraine x

  • Thanks for this piece of advice. Me and my husband are going to read through all the paperwork again and then write a letter to the court. My strongest argument will be my age. I will be 61 in May and my ESA will stop in July - just a year before I get my state pension. The ridiculous thing is that the cost of the atos assessment, all the paperwork and admin for the tribunal will probably cost a lot more than just giving me a last year of benefit!

  • It totally horrifies me the stress people are being put under when already very ill in the first place. I am sorry you have had such an awful time. Mary F x

  • Thank you Mary

    I am one of the one of the lucky people who have a supportive husband and am also nearly of retirement age so will get my pension next year.

    But thousands of younger people are not so lucky and the persecution of sick and disabled people in this country is horrific.

  • I too am very sorry for the stress you are being placed under. I can highly recommend this site - benefitsandwork.co.uk Wishing you all the best from here InSpain xxx

  • Thanks

  • I too would endorse the website InSpain mentions. I used to work for the CAB as an advisor and did so for over a decade before I concluded that I just couldn't keep up with the mental effort required for Benefit Issues and other restrictions I had. Though once considered knowlegable on these matters (with CABN resources) I have had to subsequently seek help from former colleagues even prior to this new business coming in. Fortunately (?) I am of an age that has excluded me from the present hassles but I still recognise the professionalism of the people behind the benefitsandwork website, indeed I remember working with them twenty odd years ago. The one thing I remember from my days with the CAB was the then DHS people saying give them the reasons to find in your favour,. i.e. explain how the condition affects you in clear terms, don't miss anything out, even if you do not suffer it all the time 24 hours a day seven days a week. My old GP used to say we are allowed to feel well occasionally- but make sure they understand how often and how bad the bad days are, I wish you well and hope you have the energy and help to challenge these b....ds

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