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Benefit Stopped because of ATOS incompetence - ** RESOLVED **

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Hi

 

I have a serious problem. My incapacity benefit was stopped on the 4th of April, the first I knew was last week when it wasn't paid into my bank account (noticed on Friday 19th).

 

Spoke to DWP today and they informed that it's because I didn't attend an ATOS assessment in Feb.

 

The problem is... ATOS have never informed me of any appointments and this is the 2nd time it's happened in about 6 months. I even told the DWP that I wanted to make an official complaint about the failure to inform me.

 

I live alone, no one else has access to my mail. If I'd received a letter I'd know about it and I put all appts on my calendar so I don't forget about them. These are duplicated onto my gmail calendar and I get a notification n my phone to remind me aswell.

 

But the first I know of these appts is when I get the 'did not attend form' from DWP afterwards. The DWP didn't even send me a letter telling me it had been suspended.

 

I am in full on anxiety/panic mode, over drawn at the bank and don't even have money to purchase food

 

I desperately need help and advice on what to do.

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Hello there. My sympathies over this, I know how Atos make you feel.

 

A couple of people here have been through the same thing, so hopefully someone will be able to comment for you. I'll have a look for similar threads in case there's any useful information.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Judging by posts elsewhere on this forum, you are not alone in failing to receive appointment letters from ATOS. I don't know anything about their processes, but someone will be along shortly to advise you.

 

In the meantime, have a read of this sticky and how you might avoid bank charges. When you do make a complaint to the DWP about ATOS, send it to their head office and cc your MP.


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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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Thanks... I'm not worried about bank charges as I have an authorised overdraft, and am within this at the moment. However... I'm worried that this is going to affect my local housing allowance and council tax benefits also.

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Hi.

 

Here's a link to another thread about this. I'll have a look for you later, need to sign off for now.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?372590-ESA-Stopped-for-failing-to-attend-appointment.-Can-somebody-please-help&highlight=missed+atos+appointment

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I've had a call back from the DWP IB reassessment dept, they have made a note of all my problems and are sending it back to reassessment to the office in Peterborough, I have also asked for the appeals form.

 

I then contacted ATOS and checked that they have the correct details on my system, and asked why they didn't phone as advised by the DWP... I was told they can't do specific calls as the people who are called about appts are chosen at random by computer... According to them they have sent out 6 letters, 3 in Oct/Nov 2012 and 3 in Jan/Feb. Not one of these has been received by me.

 

Wasn't impressed with the person I spoke to at ATOS, who basically said it must be a Royal Mail issue as the computer says they've been sent... and that if it says we sent them, we sent them... and that we don't make these things up... implying that I was.

 

 

Honeybee, I've started reading that thread... doesn't sound promising... and seems more common than I thought.

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According to them they have sent out 6 letters, 3 in Oct/Nov 2012 and 3 in Jan/Feb. Not one of these has been received by me.

 

Wasn't impressed with the person I spoke to at ATOS, who basically said it must be a Royal Mail issue as the computer says they've been sent... and that if it says we sent them, we sent them... and that we don't make these things up... implying that I was.

 

Royal Mail deliver an average of 400 million letters each week. Of these, some 280,000 are damaged, delayed, or lost (note: not all are lost). The odds of all six letters from ATOS being lost is only slightly above zero. Far more likely is corporate incompetence and someone failing to put paper in to the printer.


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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You need to send SAR to atos and to ask for a screen print out of all correspondance they have had with your account this way you can see if they actually sent you any post


http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html

 

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by patrickq1 are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional

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Hiya

 

I can completely understand what you are going through here, this happened to me 5 weeks ago and I am still fighting.

 

You need to get them to send you an appeal form to appeal the decision I got a lot of help from the people on here, you can have a look at my thread here

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?372590-ESA-Stopped-for-failing-to-attend-appointment.-Can-somebody-please-help-%283-Viewing%29-nbsp

 

I was also told to reapply for ESA but told that I would have to attend the medical before they could make a payment...

 

I have tried for the last two weeks to get the medical fast tracked and as of yet they still have not forwarded on my files to ATOS so I am currently waiting for them to call me back

 

I submitted a SAR to find out exactly what they have on their systems

 

I honestly think there are cracks in their database, they cant provide copies of letters and they cant provide proof that this been sent and where to... but you need to find out.

 

I had problems because they say I received the BF223 failure to attend form so by this reasoning I will have received the appointment form... if you have not received either then you stand a better chance than me.

 

I honestly know what your going through, there are some really usefull links on my thread it would be worth going through and having a look

 

hope any of this is some help

 

L

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oh one other thing, you really need to get in touch with the Royal Mail and tell them there are letters going missing and ask them to look into it for you.

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Honeybee, I've started reading that thread... doesn't sound promising... and seems more common than I thought.

 

Just keep going, everyone on here will help you get there in the end, its amazing the advice you get... its my thread HB told you about, its been a nightmare but without the help I would have jumped off my local bridge by now... just keep plodding on with it :)

  • Confused 1

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No news so far... I called the DWP yesterday and they were supposed to call me back today... But didn't.

 

I am lost at the moment... if they don't accept my side of the argument and reinstate my IB.,.. what do I do next?

 

Can I apply for any other benefit, do I need to start getting sick notes from my doctor? I've got to have surgery at some point soon, got the assessment date for 22nd May so it could be any time after that and recovery will be at least 6-8 weeks.

 

Should I put in an SAR to ATOS now... or wait until I get a decision.. likewise, what about any other claim I can make... I've not had anything since the 4th April, so can any new benefit be backdated to then?

 

My health problems make it difficult for me to act quickly on things.

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There is something which has replaced the old crisis loan, I think its called short term benefit advance or something similar, this may be available to you? am not sure but worth looking into or maybe someone will confirm if its meant for this kind of situation?. This seems to be the latest atossers method of stressing out claimants. If they do this to me I will have to apply for the short term benefit thing, as I am diabetic and have to eat regularly and only certain things etc I have nobody to borrow money from and only a basic bank account so no overdraft to bail me out. I will be in serious s*** street. Hoping I don't get put in this situation.

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HI Heckler and Ruby_Tuesday

 

its going to be really hard to get them to pay anything at all, they will put it all on you to prove that you did not get the letters, I know from experience. they will say that you have got all the rest full stop. I went 6 weeks without any money and they are messing me round now...

 

I was lucky, I had reported my missing letters a while ago and they finally accepted that there was proof that I was not getting all of my mail. However, if you dont have proof, what there said to me was that the quickest way to get any money was to sign for JSA because you will get money but you have to be actively looking for work, and if your ill and awaiting surgery then your not going to be able to look for work. Opening a new claim for ESA means that you will HAVE to wait for a medical and they will NOT pay you anything while you wait for the medical. You can demand them to fast track it but you are still looking at weeks before you get your appointment and then have to wait for the decision.. which in my case was looking at the end of June.

 

at this point if they have not phoned you back you need to phone them again and tell them

 

you really need to talk to a decision maker and find out if there is any way at all they will reconsider the decision,

 

I went through everything with the decision maker and he said if I can prove that Atos did not send the letters or I had a problem with my post he would consider...

 

Have you had anything else go missing?

 

have you looked at through my thread there is a link there that will give you more information

 

Have you submitted your appeal form

 

Have you contacted your local council

 

and email your local MP or councilor they may be able to help.

 

you really need to find out what they need from you to change the decision, its the only way your going to get anything at all.

 

The short term benefit advance would normally be the place to start, however, because your claim was stopped for failing to attend your not entitled to that either.

 

Im really sorry to give you little hope, but there are ways to get round this, you really need to try to get to figure out what they need to get the decision over turned.

 

It may be worth your while trying to contact the delivery office to ask them if there have been any known problems with your post or if your letters are there. or if anything has changed on the delivery route.

 

I know this is all wrong that they should prove the letters were sent and you received them, and they will put it all back on you.. if it goes to an appeal you will win but that does not help you in the short term

 

I will try to help if I can, I have just sorted this out as well, and its really hard to get people to talk to you from the DWP but you need to get to talk to somebody that iwll help

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Many won't get JSA because they're unfit for work.

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:Heckler:

 

'If they don't accept my side of the argument ......?'

What have you done so far? Did you return the BF223 letter to Jobcentreplus with your reason for not attending the assessment? If the answer is yes, have you asked for their decision in writing? ('Failure to attend' has to be notified in writing cos it's an appealable decision.)

 

To appeal the disallowance of your incapacity benefit:

 

Write to Jobcentreplus at the address on the last letter you had from them. Ask for; a copy of the decision, their statement of reasons for the decision and a GL24 appeal form.

 

Send a subject access request to Atos. Ask for the communications history and copies of any letters they've sent. Atos don't charge for subject access in connection with benefit claims. The address,

 

Atos Healthcare, Block One, Wing G, Government Buildings,

Otley Road, Leeds, LS16 5PU.

 

(Send both letters recorded delivery if poss. At least get certificates of posting.)

For your information, there's an example of a GL24 form, and some useful info about appeals at;

 

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/gl24dwp.pdf

 

Don't let waiting for Atos delay submission of the GL24. There may be a useful snippet from Atos but most of these appeals that reach tribunal are decided on the credibility of the appellant. Use the 'reasons' box of the GL24 (or a statement on a separate sheet of paper headed up with your name and national insurance number) to explain your diligence with noting appointments. Enclose a photocopy of your calendar. Technology isn't my strong point, but presuming gmail is some sort of electronic calendar send them a print of it. Anything else you can think of to show that you don't wilfully ignore official letters?

 

There's all sorts of reasons why claimants don't receive ESA50s and appointment letters but do sometimes receive BF223s, which I'll go into if you need to know, but most of them are difficult to prove for individual cases. #6 is complete twaddle from Atos and Jobcentreplus. Initially, Atos try to arrange most appointments via phone, which they then confirm in writing. If they can't contact a claimant via phone they send an appointment in writing anyway. Jobcentreplus don't have a reassessment department as such. They've a number of designated benefit delivery centres for processing reassessment claims and anything you send to your usual centre, like a completed GL24, will be forwarded to the reassessment centre determined by your postcode.

 

In the meantime you can apply for employment n support allowance:

 

Claim form at;

 

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/claimforms/esa1.pdf

 

New claim will need to be supported by a Med 3 (unfit) note from your doctor. Cos of the alleged failure to attend an assessment, Jobcentreplus won't pay a new claim until you've attended an assessment but you may get an assessment before the result of an appeal. And there's ways of speeding up an assessment if you've no other income. If your appeal's upheld, your claim for employment n support allowance will be closed and your claim for incapacity benefit reopened.

 

Sincerely, Margaret. :panda:

Edited by **Margaret**

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WOOHOO

 

It's all sorted... DWP accepted my arguments about not getting letters, because the last time it happened they made a note on my file to say ATOS should contact me by phone... That note on my file has once again been marked as something ATOS must do.

 

Money was backdated to the 4th April, and paid into my account quite quickly. Decision was made on 30th April, and money was in my bank by the 2nd May... a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

 

So all is well again... at least until ATOS try to f*ck it up again.

 

Cheers for all the advice, as it turns out I was able to avoid the worst case scenario... I hope everyone else reading this has theirs resolved too.

 

 

and can I just say that the 2 people I dealt with at the DWP IB reassessment dept were not only very helpful, but very understanding of my situation... unlike the call centre script merchant I spoke to at ATOS who just repeated ad nauseum that 'computers says it sent them so it must be true'. But it's funny how all the 'computer generated letters go AWOL, whilst the hand sent ones arrive perfectly fine.

Edited by citizenB

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Hello again.

 

What a relief for you. :) I'll amend your thread title.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi Heckler,

 

I am so happy that you got it sorted out, its a huge relief when you do get it reversed, it feels like you have a huge weight taken off your shoulders.

 

You just have to keep going and keep hounding them and then you at least get somewhiere...

 

so happy for you

 

L

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