Please complain with me !

I think it is about time we all complained about the work capacity assessment and the companies who carry them out . So many people on here are going through exactly the same thing having their benefits stopped and being told they are fit for work after one of these assessments and like me some have been previously declared unfit for work and put in the support group with the same illness they have now been given zero points for , there is something very suspicious going on . I am going to write to the Rt Hon Damian Green MP , Department for Work and Pensions, Caxton House , Tothill Street , London , SW1H 9NA . This is the mp who was in the news recently talking about stopping repeated reassessment for people with chronic illness that isn't going to improve. I firstly want to make him aware of SLE and secondly ask him if he is aware of the disgraceful way chronically sick people are being treated by the companies the dwp employ to carry out these assessments. I will send my post assessment report which is full of lies together with the proof they have lied . I will send my mandatory reconsideration notice which admits they have lied and also admits they have not followed the guidelines in ESA214 a guide to the WCA . We all assume the dwp are telling these people to lie to get people off benefits maybe that isn't true . Maybe atos give staff bonuses dependant on how many people they get off benefits. The more people who write and complain about this the better , strength in numbers . It seems everyone is getting zero points no matter what their illness , I was speaking to a lady the other day who had severe depression, she was given 27 points and declared unfit for work . When she went back for a reassessment 3 years later still with same condition and on the same treatment she got , can you guess ? , Yes you guessed it ZERO points. Something is very wrong somewhere. I know you may all think writing a complaint might be more stress but we have to speak out and the way I see it it is something else I can be doing to fight this while I am waiting for my appeal date . Please help if you can , also it may be helpful if our administrators could write to Damian Green aswell and invite him to look at all the posts on here and see what people are going through. Thank-you .

31 Replies

  • Hear Hear! If we don't stick up for ourselves - who else will? Unless we bring peoples attention to what it is like for us that struggle with these often 'invisible' health issues- how can we realistically expect them to fight our corner?!

  • Hi, thanks for your post. I have to agree. I have lupus, Sjogrens, auto immune hepatitis (stage 3) and fibromyalgia, along with kidney problems, and after being on DLA for years, I got zero points with ATOS. I wrote a reconsideration letter over two months ago and haven't heard a thing.

    I wrote to the PM and told her how disgusting it was that sick people have to go through all this and then have to fight even though they are very sick. I got a letter back saying the goverment care very.much about disabled people. It seems if you can get out of the house on your own, you don't qualify.

    It's really bad as I know someone who did qualify who has a bad back.....although she obviously put a lot of it on as she can walk fine and it every other way is a lot fitter than I am.

    I will write definitely. I hope we can change this perverse system.

  • This has been done for several years now, and is one of the reasons the companies currently handing the assessment processes have all given up on their contracts - the latest I think is Maximus, and by some reports they're also wanting to give up due to the bad press and complaints. However, it's important to remember the reason these assessments happen is because the government has put the policies in place, and no matter how much people complain about it, they're not going to change their minds. So if there are any complaints to be made, it's to the government responsible for all this - and be mindful the current government has a standard copy-and-paste response about 'protecting the most vulnerable/out of date benefit/focussing on what you can do/savings'. I was very much involved in protests and complaints and so on during the coalition years when all the changes and assessments became more stringent, and discovered that, unless non-ill/non-disabled people got involved, no one really seems to care much. The current attitude of most people in the UK seems to be 'head down and maybe they won't come after us if they're busy going after someone else'.

    So, it's something you can try, but I wouldn't hold your breath, and I definitely wouldn't recommend exhausting yourself trying to raise awareness on it - most of my disabled advocate friends have had to give up protesting due to exhaustion, and one even joined the assessment companies for a tasty wage (and a waiver she had to sign to stop being a protestor...hey ho) Good luck.

  • I know it is probably a waste of time but it will make me feel better, I have basically complained about atos because I think if I complained to the minister for the dwp about the dwp then the letter would be shredded for sure , I have sent my report and mandatory re consideration notice plus my letters in reply to them . The recent comments from Mr green a couple of weeks back regarding stopping repeated assessments for some suggest this may be a good time to complain and make them aware of our complex condition. l read last week that maybe they are starting to listen and that is thanks to the people like yourself protesting for the sick and disabled and so thanks for your hard work .

  • Has this lupus uk charity -suport group no clout do they actualy lobby government on such matters .

  • I don't know it would be helpful if they could write also and explain the condition and report the problems so many people are having maybe the administrator will read this .

  • Hello,

    LUPUS UK is a very small charity, with only seven staff (four of whom are part-time). We do not currently have a staff member in a lobbying or campaigning role. However, LUPUS UK is a member of a number of organisations who do regularly lobby government and we lend our voices to theirs.

    Just this month we helped Maximus update their Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) training module for SLE with help from a lupus specialist who we know


  • Well I have just been given zero points by maximus at an assessment as have others on here and I have the severe form of the disease with level 3 lupus nephritis and I'm on permanent steroids and immunosuppressant drugs I am going to complain about maximus as soon as I receive the complaint forms from the dwp

  • Can we all have help from the lupus specialist you know at our appeal tribunals.

  • Hi Buffy14, I wish you could but they are still practicing and researching so unfortunately could not.

  • Hi Buffy, I think you know I for one will be writing to Mr Green. I have to vent my anger and frustration of the past months experience. Whether it makes a future difference going forward or not he needs to know what the effect these assessment's are having on seriously ill people. Their playing with people's life's. There must be a better way of conducting these assessment's. I sent evidence from two consultants and my gp. I don't think they were even read or are they calling my medical team lier's?

  • Yes you sound just like me in regard to writing letters, when I went for my first assessment for esa 3 to 4 years ago the doctor repeatedly commented on how well I had filled my forms in making his job easy as he could understand my comments, my friend who came to that assessment with me said when we got out , he will probably tell the dwp you can find work filling forms in ha ha . After that assessment I was given esa and put in the work related activity group initially but my coach at the job centre said he thought I should be in the support group and he gave me an address and told me to appeal. I just wrote a letter and a few months later I was placed in the support group and received backpay from when I had first applied for esa . Thanks for getting involved and writing with me , fingers crossed x

  • I will be writing. I'm just doing my pip forms now and I'm so stressed by it, I've had an infection for 6 going into 7 weeks now on second lot of antibiotics and had to stop my meds and probably even if I could work I would have lost my job by now anyway. They need to help us not make things worse.

  • You should get help from welfare rights they will tell you the best things to write and they will go with you to assessment if you want them to x

  • I've just applied for PIP. I'm so stressed that I might have to go for an assessment. Can't easily get about theses days.

  • Tell them to come to your home , say you are too ill to go to them x

  • I also understand that the current government contract for ESA assessments is with Maximus. As I understand the system, it works thus: the government, in conjunction presumably with civil servants at DWP, set the assessment criteria; the claimant is then assessed by the contractor (it was ATOS, now Maximus) against these criteria; and then I believe the DWP makes the final call. For me, quite aside from the subjectivity that is inherent in the actual conducting of assessments, it is the basic assessment criteria which are at fault. I can't see these being changed any time soon but I really do hope that the recently announced government proposals will mean that some with Lupus will be exempt from ongoings assessments. Perhaps this is where we need to focus our efforts?

  • I agree some of the questions are totally ridiculous like the one asking if you can pick up an empty cardboard box or a £1 coin and these days it isn't asking if you can walk 200 metres it is can you mobilise 200 metres which includes moving in a wheelchair. Does anyone know if it is maximus who do the assessments in Bolton Lancashire ? Are you saying atos no longer exists and it is just maximus now doing the WCA.

  • Maximus is an American company that took over the work capability assessment contract awarded by the UK government, after ATOS quit the contract early. So, yes, that should mean that it is Maximus who do the assessments wherever you live. There's quite a bit you can read via Google but attaching a hyperlink to Wikipedia, which may be of interest:

  • I just made a phone call after finally finding the phone number for the Bolton assessment centre , they asked me which benefit I was claiming and when I said esa she said it is maximus for esa but atos do the assessments for pip still .

  • Gosh, I didn't know ATOS was still in the picture at all.

  • Yes we should but we need to win our appeals and get back into the support group for it to benefit us , unfortunately I think what field has said is probably true , that had crossed my mind aswell there is definitely something weird going on everyone seems to be getting zero points.

  • we really need to be on the list that if we have been assessed as not capable of working, that we then are not continually reassessed. I hope that Lupus UK will themselves take up this issue.

    I personally have been assessed on three seperate occassions ... each time for me I was assessed as not capable of working ( allthough I did have to appeal to get moved from ESA WRAG to support group on my last assesment). I have been declared permenantly unfit for work by Department works and pensions as I had to retire due to ill-health from NHS. So all the re-assesments for me are a complete waste of time, money , and energy. It also always makes me ill when I get reassessed as it impacts severly on my mental health

  • I will be writing to Damian Green, however I have a sneaking suspicion that Damian Green knows exactly what is going on and has no intention of changing anything.

    Since the governments announcement that they intend to stop reassessing those with chronic illnesses it seems they are reassessing many of us with chronic illnesses previously placed in the support group and giving them 0 points thereby removing us from that category.

    They make these announcements to dupe people into believing they are reasonable and that they care, but underneath it all this new prime minister and her new government is no different from david cameron's and will continue to bash sick and disabled people.

    I hold no hope in this government or good faith in Damian Green, but I will write anyway to make my voice heard.

  • There was an article yesterday in the mirror about Kelly ( don't know her last name) from the pop group eternal nearly dying from lupus, my daughter saw it on Facebook. You can comment on the mirror page via Facebook or Twitter, another chance to make people lupus aware .

  • I too like fab wheelie have been perminantly declared unfit to work and retired on ill health grounds. My last assessment was three years ago. I received my NHS pension and ESA from my own contributions. I have just received a letter and form to be reassessed. Can I become unperminantly ill or does lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sjorgrans, migraine/epilepsy, Raynaud's, haemolytic anaemia, hypothyriodism, heart arthymia all disapear etc etcetc when I had the last test the nurse asked me what lupus was!

    As a nurse of thirty years I was embarrassed by my own profession.

  • Apparently so , i was declared unfit for work 3 years ago and put into the support group, now following a reassessment I have mysteriously become fit for work despite having the same condition and extra ones .

  • Yes have the goal posts changed ? Or are there mysterious jobs where not being able to turn up each day, are in the job description.

  • Have a look at this; my Its a section on employment and support allowance (28 July 2012 8.13 pm) looks at legal requirements and guidelines for assessment. Interesting.

  • I can't get that on my tablet it says not found.

  • I found it by googling completing ESA forms. The seventh option was a person health unlocked fibromyalgia site who shares the link. Click on it and follow the instructions. I believe the original has been achieved. Good luck. I have also emailed my local MP, I will let you know how I get on.

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