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About HelloDarkWorld

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  1. I have already signed it. Here is why: My GP is crap but at least they are willing to look at evidence if presented to them. Based on my experience, Atos refuse to look at medical evidence when presented to them and make an assessment based on their uninformed opinion - and assessment of a predetermined outcome. For this reason I would rather have my GP do the assessment than Atos.
  2. Hi everyone, I just wanted to update you on Atos assessments. There are two assessments in relation to my claims which Atos have failed to do for many months. One is the PIP assessment and the other one is the ESA assessment where after 13 weeks they were supposed to put me into a group and potentially give me a 'pay rise' from £71.70 to (up to) approx. £100. Yesterday I filed two formal complaints by email to pip-customerservice@atos.net regarding the failure to make the two assessments. I did specify that I am not able to get their complaint forms to the post office and I requested that they accept my emails as formal complaints. They responded to my complaint about ESA assessment and specified that they will respond about PIP separately. Their response was fairly lengthy so I'll cut straight to the important bits. They stated: "Where there is financial hardship, the DWP office handling your claim can offer advice and may make a request to us that your referral is given priority." Today I phoned DWP office, they said they sent a 'quick referral' in April 2013 but promised to do it again. I later today received a phone call with an appointment for ESA assessment within a few weeks. However, they asked me to come to their centre for appointment rather than a home visit, despite Atos having me down for a home visit for PIP. Atos told me that if I want a home visit I have to get a letter from GP stating why I should have a home visit. Anyway, the appointment part was easy enough. Although I do have a feeling that there will be a catch somewhere with the 'home visit' - something smells predetermined if you know what I mean. Another thing that really cheesed me off is that in their response Atos expressed that they are passing judgement on my current situation while taking on board the previous ESA report. The previous ESA report found me fit for work while the assessor at the time refused to look at my x-rays, and while a hospital was recommending me to have an operation (I wrote in more detail about this at the beginning of this thread). So basically, because I did not log a complaint at that time despite their assessment being contradictory to medical professionals' recommendations, this old assessment will now continue being the foundation for my current assessment. The fact that I had 2 major spinal operations since then or that my circumstances have changed seem to be far less significant than the incorrect misleading report they wrote for themselves. I'm getting lost for words... IMO Atos should be shut down.
  3. Hi Malc, Thanks for your response. I barely use your gas and I have to foot a £280 bill for 3 months. I will therefore not be moving my electricity to you too but thank you for the suggestion. I will further not be adding a direct debit as currently there is nothing to debit. I don't want to get bank charges on top of everything for failed direct debits. I will also continue prioritising bread over gas. Some of what you said I really took to heart, such as: "Going forward, we'll be happy to work with you to help you use only what you need. Talk to us about this. Checkout out our website too. Particularly the Saving Energy Toolkit. Some good tips here to help you cut back." - Surely me having to live in 16 degree temperature and not having baths or showers (irrespective of the reasons) are exemplary actions of cutting back? Also I did talk to you, the only useful thing that you offered was a visit to my home to assess the insulation - which I can already tell you its crap. But then your customer services adviser proceeded to tell me that the visit to assess the insulation is actually not available to those on ESA. I will have a look at Priority Services Register - not quite sure what it is but I will investigate, thank you. The bill is estimated at £280 - and it is in fact underestimated as according to our calculation it should really be £299. So please don't send the gas meter man to my house any time soon; I am sure E.ON is eager to rebill me accurately. I also thank you for your information on Warm Home Discount, so at least I can now cross if off my calendar. You suggested I should let you know if I need anymore details and that you will be happy to help. Yes please, Malc, I will take you up on the offer. You mentioned that depending on where I live there might be help available from third party trust funds for i.e. energy bills? Well, I live in Westminster, can you please let me know who I can contact about these trust funds? Or where I can find them? Thanks in advance.
  4. I just had a look, and there are 3 Councillors for my immediate area. Silly question probably, but is there a technique to picking which of the 3 to contact?
  5. In addition to this it seems a bidding restriction can be placed/lifted on bidders as per and when Housing Options please without former announcement or reason. There seems to be an immense amount of manipulation within lettings and information the Council provide to me as a bidder is frustratingly misleading. They also have introduced a quota that allows only 4 medical priority applicants to get housed into one bed flats per year, meaning Category A waiting list is restricted from bidding. Although that is dubious as well as I was told 'Cat A does not exist'... I was told I have to expect to wait 10+ years as a medical priority applicant. It seems even if I bid when the restrictions are lifted I have no chance of getting rehoused until the lettings managers decide to 'favour' me. Hmmmm... Seems odd to me.. Any comments? Thoughts on my posts above?
  6. A case study: During 'Week 23' 15 flats in a new development (Lavington Buildings, Ogle Street, London) were advertised on the publically accessible flyer as available for bidding. The one bedroom flat that was falsely advertised on the flyer on Tuesday 03/09/2013 onwards was supposed to be available for biddings on the Wednesday 04/09/2013 (biddings open up on Wednesdays). But while the flat was advertised on the flyer, the flat disappeared from the biddings system. I phoned up about the flat and kicked up a bid of a fuss about it. I was then told the flat was withdrawn for a severe disability case surrounding a lady in a wheelchair. I did not believe the Council much as they clearly state no Mobility 1 or 2 properties suitable for wheelchair users will ever be advertised on Choice Based Lettings. After raising a number of complaints, I found the property re-listed on the flyer on 02/10/2013 and it was now available for bidding on the Choice Based Lettings. Amazingly, data received under the Freedom of Information unveiled that the property was in fact allocated to a Mobility 4 applicant (an applicant without mobility issues) who was on the Housing Register for 1 month; approved for the register on 04/09/2013 – one day after the flat was originally advertised on the flyer before it went missing on the biddings system. The winning applicant was technically in 37th position. This was a Mobility 3 property but was not allocated to any of the 11 Mobility 3 bidders. See bidding data attached ("bidding data - lavngton.pdf" page 1. So far Westminster Council are failing to address this incident or my complaint about their failure to follow the allocation scheme in my Stage 2 complaints. I requested for an oral hearing but was told I cannot address the allocation scheme or my housing application (which is another interesting story!) According to the data we received under the Freedom of Information, only flats 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 of Lavington Buildings have been listed within the bidding data – that’s 5 flats of 15. Who knows what happened to the other 10 flats that were advertised on the flyer. When I placed my bid for the one bedroom flat at Lavington Buildings, my bidding position was published for my attention on my biddings account - I was supposedly in position 16 out of 50. However, when I received the bidding data I calculated my position in accordance to the rules set out in the Allocation Scheme and my position was actually 7! The Council had withheld my actual bidding position! When applicants think they are in position 2 or 3, they could actually be in position 1 and not even know about it. I think this is outrageous. The system also shows estimate bidding positions, and obviously having inaccurately calculated estimate positions (estimate positions are calculated on the same principal as the actual bidding positions) it influences the actions of the bidder. IMO displayed bidding positions should be accurate.
  7. After spending some time trying to get housed through Choice Based Lettings on medical grounds, and getting an unfair sense of things within the lettings (after I learnt my top-level Choice Based Lettings bids were not being honoured), me and friends started digging around a little deeper. And the results appear to be disturbing. While it is impossible to share all of our findings on a single forum post, I’ll share some examples. Any advice, opinions, suggestions, etc. are most welcome! The Allocation Scheme states (s.2.7.8 and s.2.7.9): "It is likely that Property Mobility Category 3 properties will be unsuitable for Mobility Category 1 and 2 applicants and that section 2.2.14 will apply. Subject to that, those in Mobility Category 1 will have priority over those in Mobility Category 2 and they will have priority over those in Mobility Category 3 who will have priority over those in Mobility Category 4. When persons within the same Mobility Category bid for an advertised Mobility Category property, priority will depend upon who has the most points and, if equal, whose application is the earliest in time." These rules set out in the Allocation Scheme are not being followed and properties are allocated purely on decisions of the lettings mangers. This is why when I placed my bid for a Mobility 3 property, I was not invited for viewing or contacted about the property despite being in position 2, with mobility 3 priority and 200 points. The property was allocated to a bidder with 150 points instead. Lord Scott - Ahmad case (R Ahmad v LB Newham [2009] UKHL 14) – states: "To allow the choice to depend upon the judgment of a Council official, or a committee of officials, no matter how experienced and well trained he, she or they might be, would lack transparency and be likely to lead to a plethora of costly litigation based on allegations of favouritism or discrimination." We requested for bidding data under the Freedom of Information and we found that people with top priorities are waiting for many years while applicants with Mobility 4 priority and lower points can selectively get housed into Mobility 3 properties within as little as one month! See sample stats attached (go straight to page 2 of the attachment). [to be continued...]
  8. Hello Time4change2 and Reallymadwoman, I just wanted to share that I took your advice on board (thank you!) and sent an email today to my MP regarding ATOS assessments. The auto response says MP takes 14 days to respond, so it may take quite some time for an outcome, though I’ll keep everyone posted here about what happens.
  9. I certainly will do. Thank you for the details!!!
  10. Hello Rebel11, I phone my gas company E.on, they first tried to sell me that I move my electricity to them as well. They then said I can apply for "warm Home Discount" which would give me £135, but that is now closed until April, so I can only submit an application in April. They then said they can look at insolation and offer a grant but as the adviser proceeded with some checks he then explained my group (on ESA) is not entitled), its more for pensioners and something else else. E.on then said at most what they can do is so that the next bill doesn't come all at once but rather in smaller installments, which is pointless as I don't suffer from impulse shopping and I'm quite good when it comes to looking after money if I have the money... In the end, another call that lead to nothing...
  11. Hi Rebel11, I'll try and do that! - Both things, let's see what happens; once I have a result I'll post an update
  12. I contacted my MP about housing, they got involved which got me onto the Housing register (the council wouldn't allow me to get onto the Housing register at first), thereafter it seems the MP is not able to help much. I'll contact the MP re Atos this week. I've contacted the local Councillor re a "surgery" appointment to discuss issues, which apparently they do, still waiting for an appointment, its been a week now. The carer is provided by Social Services but I don't have a caseworker to contact as I've technically been discharged by the social services after 5 weeks. Thanks for the ATOS information - i did actually think that the situation might have been unique to me as last time I did not complain and got myself a job instead. I thought they are trying to silently bully me into a job again or something. But having read your and other people's posts it seems everyone else is on the same end of the stick. I was even thinking that if I commit a crime - something that doesn't harm a person or an animal and get myself into jail for a couple of years I might have a better opportunity to recover from my operations.. A silly thought but given my circumstances might turn out to be a better reality.. I'm not really fussed about a criminal record. Being a good citizen and passing my GCSE's 2 years early, finishing UNI and being 'nice' got me nowhere. Desperate times, desperate ideas LOL
  13. I just opened up a letter and there is my gas bill. £280 from 6 Nov to Feb - and it seems it's still undercalculated. I don't have baths or showers - due to accessibility issues, I live in 16 degrees temperature and I only heat my house up on Tuesday and Friday mornings as that's when the carer comes to help me with sponge wash (with a sponge and bowl) and I can't get naked in 16 degrees. My house is never nicely heated - most of the time its like being outside. I wear 3 pairs of trousers, lots of jumpers and gloves in my home. How is the bill £280???? Thanks to Atos it seems I'll be moving into a park (Atos assessment would help with heating I suppose)...
  14. I will take your suggestion on board with the MP, let's see what happens. I've also submitted formal complaints to Atos re failure to assess my PIP and re failure to re-assess my ESA. However, I did that by email. Their Atos complaint procedure requires you to take the physical complaint to the post office, which I can't currently do. Let's see if they accept it by email... Housing is all very dodgy grey area. This is a Council flat of 1.5 bedrooms that was originally allocated to 3 people - single mum and two siblings (inc. me). Technically my mother is the tenant, although I am also written into her tenancy agreement, so all payments have to be made by her. The Council prescribed that I as a sibling I have to contribute £15 per week. Because mum is the tenant i can't claim Housing Benefit and I have to give mum the £15 so she can make the payment to Housing. I've sent Housing letters before, but nothing, no response. My mum temporarily moved to a friend's living room sofa as the box room is too small for a tall person to be in and there is not enough space in our flat to accommodate a person with my disability post operation and another adult. (I've applied for Housing ages ago but my Choice Based Lettings bids were bypassed by the Council and properties were allocated to other applicants. I was told the Council has the right to withdraw any property for direct offers at any time, and that I should keep on bidding. Except that I am now restricted from bidding as apparently the medical quota is full). The leaking roof and access to water is a Council matter - it's currently dealt with at Stage 2. They told me they will not give me a timeline by when they will fix the issues, so the roof is still leaking and the water is all very dodgy. Failure to make adaptations in the property is also a Council matter - Adult Social Care deemed this property to be unsuitable for me and that I need to be rehoused, so no adaptations either
  15. I've applied for ESA around a year ago, but Atos refuse to reassess me to put me into one of the two groups they are supposed to put people into after 14 weeks. This means I continue getting £71.70, out of which I still have to pay the Council rent of £15 per week. So I approximately have £55 left. I've applied for PIP around 7 months ago, but again, they are not assessing it. They confirmed they received my application with all the supporting docs in August, but hey, no assessment to date. In the past I had applied for ESA and they did an assessment after which they told me I was capable to work and wrote to me that they informed my GP that the GP should no longer issue me sick notes. This was happening while I was told I need to prepare for a major operation by the NHS hospital. I had broken metals in my spine, but of course, the Atos assessor refused to look at the x-ray during my assessment. At the time I was so worried about my financial situation based on Atos assessment that I was too scared to go for an operation because I couldn't get a financial loan to sustain myself afterwards. I ended up postponing my operation and got myself a job. I only lasted in employment for approx 5 months when my situation became so bad and I was in so much pain and my leg started to go dead from the spinal illness that I went for an operation. Even then my ESA was refused and I had to wobble to a jobcentre to sign on. My advisor was so shocked at the job centre that he told me I don't have to look for jobs just turn up on the day. When I had my operation I was them moved to ESA. I wished I would die during the operation but sadly I didnt. Struggles continue. I can't afford heating, food, clothes, taxi to hospital (i can't use public transport yet), nothing. Adaptations were refused by the Council as i live on the wrong floor. I am not being rehoused. Nothing. Is there somewhere I can get an interest free loan from to help me with basic costs? BTW, my operation is not healing properly either and on top of it all i have a leaking roof and part time access to water. Joy..
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