I had been on ESA for the last 3 months due to having anxiety and depression. I recently attended a medical examination and can I say what a horrible experience that was, I was asked some absolutely ridiculous and irrelevant questions and felt as if they doctor didn't care at all about my condition. Just seemed as if they were trying to prove me wrong.
I just got a letter today saying I'm not entitled to ESA anymore as I was only awarded 12 out of the 15 points needed to qualify.
I was wondering what I should do to go from here.....
I feel so upset and stressed about the whole situation and it certainly doesn't help my depression and anxiety. I find it so insulting that someone else can judge you on whether you are ill or not. Anyone else that suffers from the same problems as me will know how incredibly difficult it is to cope with and how it affects your life on a daily basis.
The whole medical interview was a total joke, I was just asked silly things that in no means related to my illness and didn't get a chance to speak really, the doctor just typed all my answers into a computer. I felt as if it was more of a police interrogation!
Anyway I was just wondering, and hoping that someone could give me a little advice on where to go from here, as I know I'm not the only one that's had this problem!
BettieBoo, you have my sympathies. Countless people have gone through the same as you. And 12 points is brilliant compared with the zero a lot of people get.
My knowledge is more of Incapacity Benefit. I guess the points system demands 15 for mental illness now, does it? In my day, it was less than that.
Your 'medical' was with Atos, was it? If so, then you should be going to a hearing with the Tribunal Service. You need the appeal pack, and especially the printout of what the Atos computer based questionnaire says about you. I hope someone will be along to give you the title or number of the document pack you need.
Please try not to take this personally, as you say lots of us have been or are going through this. Help will be along.
Thanks, it is reassuring to know that some people have appealed and won....knowing my bad luck I probably won't though!
It shocks me that someone else has the right and power to judge your illness and decide whether you are ill or not! It's not as if it's for some sort of huge financial gain either, the payout is crap! I just want to be cut some slack though until I am well enough to return to work. I swear these medical assessors think you can cure yourself in a day!
I suppose they are used to seeing a lot of people who may not be ill and dealing with that, then along come people with serious illnesses and problems who are tarred with the same brush and treated like dirt.
My medical was with Atos indeed, medicals not really the word for it though, interrogation sounds much more appropriate. I was asked questions that were totally pointless.
I've been reading up on here about how a lot of the medical assessors lie too, I can't believe that it's shocking. I didn't realise getting 12 points was good, but now I've been reading some of the posts on here it does seem more than some people were awarded. Isn't it shocking that peoples lives depend on these 'points'
Hi hunni, welcome to the ATOS Appreciation Club - it's getting pretty big!
Don't worry and don't take their attitude personally. You didn't have a medical you had an assessment of your work potential. And the usual flawed one at that!
You can phone your usual DWP call centre and they will send you an appeal form. Fill it out and add any extra relevant detail. Send it off asap as you only have a month to do so. As soon as they have it your ESA will resume as said earlier. Believe me, my appeal went in so fast my ESA never stopped!
A DWP Decision Maker will look it over again. If they decide not to reverse their decision they will write to you and you can choose to go to a tribunal. This can be up to 9 months away - so plenty of time to prepare!
[Really jealous of 9 points ... mine was a lowly 0]
I've called the DWP and they're sending me an appeal form in the post, bet it will take the usual 2 weeks or so to arrive. Funny, nearly 90% of the time I've sent letters to the DWP they go missing or take about a month to be dealt with....yet when they have something to send i.e bad news....it seems to arrive the next day bright and early!
Well, that upcoming BBC documentary on Atos? Every MIND centre in the UK now knows about that.
Since Atos seem to be victimising those with mental illnesses in particular, I daresay there'll be a few Atos fan club members willing to give their tuppence on this joke of a company.
The local Atos centre has a glass door leading up two flights of stairs, so I pasted a message on the glass door for anyone who came in to read. I also wondered how long that message would stay there before an Atos worker would take it down - 2 minutes!
BettieBoo, I'm sure it'll arrive quickly. It's a long old process I'm afraid but the important thing is to either make sure you don't miss any ESA or that it resumes asap. I think the Decision Makers review take four weeks plus iirc but you'll be eligible and getting ESA from the day they receive your appeal.
Betty, the tribunal is relatively informal. Mine consisted of a lawyer who was chairman, and a doctor. I thought they were fair.
I wouldn't worry about that too much at this stage [don't mean to be patronising, but it could take many months, as Kelcou says]. The important thing is to get the intial paperwork underway before you exceed one of the DWP's deadlines.
Thanks everyone for the advice
Just another quickie question, due to having been on the ESA I was receiving housing benefit, got my letter for that today saying it had stopped.
Will that resume if I continue to get ESA at assessment rate?
As others have suggested, particularly if you have some additional medical evidence, there is a reasonable chance they will revise this decision in your favour without it having to go to a formal appeal.
You can, if you wish, just write a letter to start the process, you don't have to wait for their form. However it is useful to have a copy of the (so called) medical report. Has your work sent you to an OH doctor or have you been sent copies of any letters other medical people may have sent to your GP? Anything like this will help.
At the very least get a certificate of posting for anything you send to them and chase relentlessly for anything that takes more than a few days.
Assuming your GP will keep issuing certificates you will get the basic rate until the appeal is heard. If you win the extra money will be backdated. Should you lose you do not have to pay anything back so, in a way, the longer the appeal takes the better.
Best of luck - the system stinks!
I limit myself to responding to threads where I feel I have enough knowledge to make a useful contribution. My advice (and indeed any advice on this type of forum) should only be seen as a pointer to something you may wish to investigate further. Never act on any forum advice without confirmation from an accountable source.
This is a reply to a letter I sent to all MIND offices, which may be of interest in regards to those following the upcoming BBC documentary on Atos :-
"Thank you for your email regarding ATOS Healthcare and the current issues surrounding medical assessments.
Mind has had long-standing concerns about the Work Capability Assessment, carried out by ATOS Healthcare staff and is lobbying the government to reform the system. We are also aware of the documentary that the BBC are making.
If you would like to keep up to date with how our campaign is progressing and of ways to get involved in this and other areas of Mindís work, you may like to join Mind in Action, our campaigning network. The network is free to join and you will receive regular newsletters and campaigns materials. If you would like to join this network please email me your postal address and I can arrange for these to be sent to you. Please also let me know if you would like to receive our e-bulletins which include updates from both campaigns and other departments within Mind.
Thank you again for raising the matter and please feel free to tell others about the campaign and encourage people to write to their MPs."
hi, I would get some supporting letters from GP etc, as a previous poster has said, then get them sent off asap and ask the dwp to look again at your case with the supporting evidence (this is obvoiusly after asking for the appeal so your money continues) it may be that they will overturn their original desicion BEFORE it gets to tribunal, but don't quote me on it, as they are a law unto themselves.
this is what we did with DLA and it was sorted in about 6 weeks.
received my appeal booklet today so just about to start writing my appeal up to send off first thing tomorrow.
Not too sure what to put to be honest! So many thoughts in my head but when it comes to putting pen to paper my mind seems blank!
I didn't think to get a letter from my GP whom I visited today..I've been given a stronger type of medication for my anxiety aswell as sleeping tablets as I've been having bad problems with my sleep at the moment.
As I've only been to my GP a handful of times she had not offered me to see a councillor but she advised I should do so today as it might help with my problems.
Do you think I should include all this in my letter and state what medications I'm taking etc....Sorry I sound a little clueless but I've never really had to do anything like this before!
I feel as if I might not be given the benefit of the doubt as I've only been suffering with my Anxiety/Depression for around 4 months and haven't been seeing a councillor etc....I know how the DWP don't sympathise and are only interested in me working etc.
It's pretty stupid that people with illnesses have to go through this process, if a doctor says your unfit to work I don't see how these people at ATOS can say different!
Thanks yeah I'll just state the obvious and fingers crossed they actually give me the benefit of the doubt.....but of course I won't hold my breath too much!
I was only 3 points from the 15 to qualify, how silly I'm not entitled by just 3 points.
Nevermind, I'll just send it off tomorrow. Do you know how long approx it takes for them to make a decision?