Can't have ESA anymore due to ATOS. need some help please.

dontonedontone Forumite
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Hiya. Apologies if this is in the wrong part of the forum.

I have been struggling with neck/shoulder problems for a long time and finally have been referred to physio and will need an MRI scan and other tests soon as the hospital think I have quite a lot of damage in that area.
I was signing on for a while after getting laid off, but could only receive NI. I had to go on the Work Programme and they suggested that I go on sick because I'm in a lot of pain and I ended up getting sick notes and very strong painkillers from my doctor.
Anyway, I had to go to one of those ATOS appointments after filling the forms in. I got a letter yesterday saying that I hadn't scored enough points to qualify for ESA (they said that I had a letter this month saying it was to stop but I haven't had any notification whatsoever from DWP, etc etc)
I scored 9 points out of 15, but I'm a bit concerned as some of the stuff I said in the interview isn't mentioned in the report I was sent, and they said that certain things happened during that I'm sure didn't. They acknowledged that the tests I did caused a lot of pain, and could barely move (I know I cried with pain at one point) but because I carried a small bag with all my meds and hospital letters in (which was requested) I can do lots of stuff one handed.

Daft question though - Is there cameras/voice recording equipment in the consulting rooms when you are assessed?

TBH, I know that I am better off health wise than most, but the doctors are concerned about certain aspects of my well being, and ATOS have said that there is nothing wrong with me (I know that's happened to lots of people) It's just that the report is missing at lot of stuff and also there is one part of it that I'm sure didn't happen.

The thing is, I need advice of what to do now. I can appeal, or go back to signing on, which will prove to them that I'm fit for work (although the doctors have said I'm not) but I won't get anything money wise anyway, just NI. Do I keep sending in Doctors notes into the DWP for instance?
I'm at a loss as to what to do. I just want to get better, but I'm getting more depressed and I'm at a low ebb atm.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
BEST EVER WINS WON IN ORDER (so far) = Sony Camcorder, 32" lcd telly, micro ipod hifi, Ipod Nano, Playstation 3, Andrex Jackpup, Holiday to USA, nintendo wii, Liverpool vs Everton tickets, £250 Reward Your thirst, £500 Pepsi, p&o rotterdam trip, perfume hamper, Dr Who stamp set, steam cleaner.

comping = nowt more thrillin' than winnin':T :j
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Replies

  • From what you have said it is not clear that you meet sufficient ESA descriptors. If you have been given 9 points then they clearly have acknowledged that you have difficulties, just not to the extent required for the main phase.

    Voice recorders are only available at assessments if requested in advance. Camera recording is not available.

    If you wish to appeal you need to advise the DWP of this and submit a note from your GP.
  • PippaGirl_2PippaGirl_2 Forumite
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    Tbf ATOS haven't said there is nothing wrong with you, in fact they have said that there is. But they have said you do not meet enough descriptors to qualify for ESA. You need to seek specialist advice as to whether you feel you meet enough descriptors, and which ones. You say you are only entitled to NI stamps on JSA, is this because you have a partner working, have savings etc?
    Which descriptors do you feel you meet which they said you don't?
    "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." Dalai Lama
  • dontonedontone Forumite
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    thank you for both of your replies.

    My husband works, hence the NI only. I'd like to say though that I have worked since I left school (20 years) so I don't want anybody to think that I have been at this for years lol. I have only claimed ESA since Dec 2012. That's why I am asking for advice, I've never been in this situation before.

    As well as a lot of pain, I have trouble with my grip (left hand) I had a test there where I had to grip the assessors fingers, I could do it with my right but my left was very 'loose' (can't describe it better lol) and I had couldn't get the grip, the lady noted this. Also I had a small handbag that I had the handle draped over my left arm while I was sat answering questions and I had to root about in it with my right hand to give her all my meds, etc. I can't have a bag on my shoulders as it is painful to have any weight on them.
    Anyway, they said that as I had a bag with me, and because of that test, they say that there was no problem with my grip in both hands, even though a neurologist says there is.
    Also, they say that although I was in pain and discomfort, I had no problem removing my coat, thing is, I don't remember taking my coat off, even while doing those tests (that why I asked about cameras etc). There are lots of little things that are a bit iffy about the whole thing, it's like anything I have said has been disregarded and they have added things on that I know I didn't say or do. they say I can do lots of things one armed/handed, even though both shoulders cause a lot of pain, (typing this is painful) and the doctors want me to rest as much as possible to avoid any further damage until I am properly assessed.
    I just don't know what to do for the best, appeal it, sign on again, or just leave it alone until I can get better. Although I don't want any gaps in my NI, I'm just a bit fed up with the whole thing.
    thanks again.
    BEST EVER WINS WON IN ORDER (so far) = Sony Camcorder, 32" lcd telly, micro ipod hifi, Ipod Nano, Playstation 3, Andrex Jackpup, Holiday to USA, nintendo wii, Liverpool vs Everton tickets, £250 Reward Your thirst, £500 Pepsi, p&o rotterdam trip, perfume hamper, Dr Who stamp set, steam cleaner.

    comping = nowt more thrillin' than winnin':T :j
  • Read through the ESA descriptors. I do doubt if you meet sufficient to get 15 points. That is not to say that you are not unwell, but rather that the criteria is very high.
  • edited 31 March 2013 at 6:31PM
    galante_incgalante_inc Forumite
    102 Posts
    edited 31 March 2013 at 6:31PM
    Sounds like a typical ATOS assessment..lol.. did you take anyone with you ?

    I had mine in February and after reading the medical from ATOS mine had quite a lot of inconsistency's, stuff that was added and other stuff that was missed out... so your not the only one
  • Sounds like a typical ATSO assessment..lol.. did you take anyone with you ?

    I had mine in February and after reading the medical from ATSO mine had quite a lot of inconsistency's, stuff that was added and other stuff that was missed out... so your not the only one

    Do you mean ATOS?
  • edited 31 March 2013 at 9:43PM
    dibdababledibdabable Forumite
    290 Posts
    edited 31 March 2013 at 9:43PM
    First off when filling your ESA50 remember that it isn't your diagnosis but how it affects your ability to perform the descriptors that's what's really important.. It's all about function or dysfunction. If for the majority of the time you cannot perform a descriptor, taking into account, reliably, repeatedly and safely, then you should score points, even if you can do it part of the time, it's what you're able to do for the majority of the time.

    It sounds like you have experienced what a lot of people experience, a lot of the relevant facts being omitted from your Assessment. In order to make a decision aboit going forward, you need to look at the descriptors as suggested and decide if the above applies and if so how does that change your score if at all, just be honest about it. If you then feel you have unjustly lost your award then you need to get yourself organised and here's what I would do;

    On Tuesday phone the DWP ask them for your ESA85, if you don't already have it, this is a form which will give details about how they reached the decision,sounds like you have this already, it's this that will help you see how and where they haven't taken into account the necessary info. After that tell them that you wish to Appeal the decision and wish to be placed on the appeal rate so that you still get some benefit. The rules are changing soon, so don't delay. Make sure you make a note of what is said and who you spoke to and date and time. for your records. Get a folder you are going to need it.

    You have 4 weeks from the date on the decision letter to submit your appeal. Remember that means they have to have received it within 4 weeks not sent by you in 4 weeks.You need to fill and complete the appeal form called GL24. You can get this from the Job Centre or download it:
    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/gl24dwp.pdf
    You only need to print off, complete and send the last four pages (from ‘Your Appeal’ onwards). Write in the box “I wish to appeal against the decision made on…..date…in regards to my claim for ESA. Go through the ESA85 and itemise everything that you think is wrong and tell them where your version differs from ATOS assessment as you have described. If there's anything that's been completely overlooked then add this. A good idea is to go through a typical day and write an account to show how activities throughout the day are affected. How you have to do things a certain way because of the pain stiffness etc.

    Send your Appeal by Recorded Delivery and put your Name and DOB and NI on everything. If you have evidence to hand, fine send it as well, again always make copies of all paperwork including your initial Appeal form GL24. Once received by the DWP, they will acknowledge receipt and tell you they will reconsider and inform you if a change can be made in your favour or not. If not they'll tell you and you will ask for your Appeal to go forward.
    Whilst waiting for this possile reconsideration,you will need to get as much evidence as possible, from your Consultant GP Physio,Neurologist,prescriptions,anything and anyone who can support your claim in particular reference to your dysfunction. Once you have that evidence send it, keep copies for your folder and again ID everything and all by recorded delivery.You have right up until a week before the Tribunal takes place to send in supporting evidence.

    I think that's everything I can think of, someone will correct me if I've advised you incorrectly but i think that covers most things. Once you've done that if you then get a decision saying they haven't changed their minds then come back as there's additional help for the Appeal stage. Good luck.

    And yes everything you do and say will be taken as evidence in the Face to Face Assessments, even as you've described your bag being on your arm even though most of us would carry the bag in our hands they will take that as you being capable they are trained to take note of every little thing!!
  • HB58HB58 Forumite
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    I agree that you should have a good loook at the descriptors and think about how your condition fits with these.

    one thing you should be aware of is that, in order to score the required points, you really need to be very limited in what you can do with both hands. Having problems with one hand/arm will not score you any points.
  • dontonedontone Forumite
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    Thanks for the advice (esp Dibdabable for the post about appealing) I think I will appeal the decision as there are a lot of things in the letter that are very iffy, and the list thing (which I am assuming is the Descriptors that you all mentioned) focuses on my communication level, walking, and bowel movements. there is a bit about my upper body that has "9" there, but everything else is zero.
    I'm just annoyed that a lot of things have been missed out, and a lot of things have been added that aren't right.
    So I'll give it a go and see what happens.

    Thank you to everybody for your helpful comments :T
    BEST EVER WINS WON IN ORDER (so far) = Sony Camcorder, 32" lcd telly, micro ipod hifi, Ipod Nano, Playstation 3, Andrex Jackpup, Holiday to USA, nintendo wii, Liverpool vs Everton tickets, £250 Reward Your thirst, £500 Pepsi, p&o rotterdam trip, perfume hamper, Dr Who stamp set, steam cleaner.

    comping = nowt more thrillin' than winnin':T :j
  • dibdababledibdabable Forumite
    290 Posts
    That's great. Yes the descriptors are each question asked about your capabilities. Good luck. let us know how you get on.
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