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ATOS home visit - medical for DLA help

(19 Posts)
Grockle Fri 01-Feb-13 18:38:28

I have had a letter saying that an ATOS dr will come to my house to do a medical.

I have no idea what to expect. Can anyone help or give me some pointers, please. I'm feeling very stressed.

AdriftAndOutOfStardust Fri 01-Feb-13 18:46:02

I don't have any advice sorry - just wanted to say good luck - I've heard awful things about the ridiculous assumptions that ATOS make as I'm sure you have. Is there some way you can make an accurate record of exactly what is said and what happens during the visit - you may need it later if you end up having to appeal.

ParsingFancy Fri 01-Feb-13 18:48:26

You are entitled to have someone with you and they are allowed to take notes.

If ATOS try to tell you otherwise, ignore, and note that they have attempted this.

ParsingFancy Fri 01-Feb-13 18:52:09

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ has detailed info about the medicals, filling in forms correctly, appeals, common bits of weasliness by assessors, etc.

It's not the easiest site to navigate and requires a subscription, but knowing what to expect may make it all less stressful (but possible more stressful!).

out2lunch Fri 01-Feb-13 19:02:47

I have been reviewed for dla before but not by this company
A doctor came to my house and spoke to me for an hour or so -I told him exactly how I felt.He asked me to walk across the room a few times iirc.
It was all fine.Good luck hope it all goes well.

ProfYaffle Fri 01-Feb-13 19:03:09

here is a full list of the descriptors you will be assessed against. Remember they will be 'assessing' you from the moment they set eyes on you.

It might be worth visiting the CAB, we used to be able to guide people through the process step by step but now we're just totally overwhelmed with the numbers of people coming in and can't offer the same level of help sad They should still be able to talk through the descriptors and what to expect etc in general terms.

Grockle Fri 01-Feb-13 19:13:00

Thank you all - I can't get to the CAB as I'm at work next week. They've given me less than 7 days notice of the visit. I am having a good google & will look at the link, thank you. <fret>

ProfYaffle Fri 01-Feb-13 19:14:28

Try ringing them, if you explain the situation they may be able to offer a telephone appointment.

Grockle Fri 01-Feb-13 20:44:20

Thanks ProfYeffle.

sashh Sat 02-Feb-13 08:53:10

Not had ATOS Dr but have had other Drs for DLA.

They did a physical exam and asked loads of questions.

Both were really nice.

chocaholic73 Sat 02-Feb-13 09:18:29

My daughter had ATOS dr and I sat in on it. He was nice and having now seen the medical report, he was accurate and fair although he was only answering the questions required of him. He was here about 45 minutes, checked through all her medication, brief physical examination in terms of standing, weakness of limbs and lots of questions. It is a stressful experience, no doubt, but I couldn't fault him. To some extent, it is going to be down to the individual who comes. Do remember, they will be looking out... will probably check the bathroom by asking to use it etc. Good luck.

Grockle Sat 02-Feb-13 19:23:05

Thank you. I've read a bit & it made me panic but I'll see how it goes on the day. I may have to be on my own sad which worries me a little but they need to see me in my daily life & that's how it is. I just hope I get worse & not better this week!

FiercePanda Sun 03-Feb-13 17:21:43

I had an Atos assessment in November.

The "medical professional" was late, dishevelled but had his eyes on everything. I have serious mobility issues (bilateral hip dysplasia - basically, I have shallow grooves in my pelvis instead of proper hip bones, waiting for major surgery to rebuild both hips), so he was asking about whether my bedroom was upstairs, how did I get up etc etc. I was open and honest and answered all his questions to the best of my abilities. I had photos of my most recent xrays, but he wasn't interested in looking - to the point where he actually turned his face to look the other way. Ditto with a letter I had from my surgeon. He asked how far I could walk without my crutches, I said five to ten metres, he wrote that down and finished up with the interview after about 40 minutes...

... A few weeks later, I found out that I was turned down for DLA, so I requested to see the report the Atos man wrote.

The "medical professional" had written that I can walk 300 metres, unaided, BEFORE PAIN SETS IN. I'm in pain every single step I take.

I phoned DWP to complain, they said they'd take my application in again for "reconsideration", but I wouldn't get an answer for twelve weeks...

...two weeks later, I was declined again, despite me giving them more medical information and offering to email copies of my xrays in.

Grockle Sun 03-Feb-13 18:48:28

Oh FiercePanda sad

ParsingFancy Sun 03-Feb-13 19:36:04

FiercePanda, two things you can do now (if you have the energy).

1) Write a letter of complaint to ATOS themselves. Enclose copies of the xrays or letter from surgeon WITH DATE ON, pointing out that you had these by date of ATOS twat's visit, but twat refused to look at them. Also put in anything else you want to complain about, of course.

ATOS declared their own report about me "not fit for purpose" after I made a complaint. Not sure how this will help wrt your DLA applic (mine was for continuing incapacity benefit /ESA) but can't hurt.

The address is:
Customer Relations Manager
ATOS Healthcare
Wing G, Block 1
Government Buildings
Otley Rd
Lawnswood
Leeds
LS1 5PU

2) Put in a formal appeal to the DWP. I've also had the DWP saying no at the informal "reconsideration" phase. The moment they received a formal appeal, which would go before an external panel, they backed down without a shred of additional evidence from me. They were clearly just trying it on. Can't promise you'll get as quick a result, but appeal panels are granting over 40% of incapacity appeals, so DLA may be similar.

Good luck.

ParsingFancy Sun 03-Feb-13 19:45:06

Also, I've looked into this quite thoroughly, and it seems to be not illegal to covertly record meetings if it's for your own personal use (although you could run into legal complications if you published your recording).

It's therefore possible to say at appeal, "Blah blah, and I'm in a position to state that this is verbatim what was said as I have a recording." The appeal panel can then ask for your recording if it wishes; but it does not have to admit a recording as evidence if it does not wish to.

[Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is just what I understand to be possible. I'm not advising anyone to do this.]

ParsingFancy Sun 03-Feb-13 19:49:07

You can also take this to your MP.

As you can see from this article, MPs are getting pretty fed up with ATOS too, but they need the info from their constituents.

FiercePanda Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:12

Thanks so much ParsingFancy. I think I might be outside the appeal window now, but I am due to have my first hip rebuilt in late spring/early summer, which has a three month recovery time, most of which I won't be allowed to put the operated leg's foot on the ground or bear any weight on it at all. I'm going to reapply then, surely I'll qualify then?

Grockle, I'm really sorry if my experience has made you more anxious. All you can do is be honest (not that I'm saying you wouldn't be, of course!), what I mean is that Atos have their own agenda and if they're really determined to not let you qualify, then nothing you say will persuade them. Stick to your guns, gather your medical evidence, and prepare to submit your application again for reconsideration or a formal appeal. You will find loads of support here, on FB and Twitter (lots of support groups and information to be found) - you are not alone, no matter what the Atos twunts tell you. xx

millymae Sun 03-Feb-13 22:45:44

My advice would be not to minimise your symptoms/condition in anyway - base your answers on how you are on your worst days, not your best and do not be embarrassed about doing so. If you're anything like me this wont come naturally, but you have to keep in mind that DLA will only be awarded if you can gain sufficient points from the list of descriptors in ProfYaffles post and it's no good saying that you can do something if there are days when you know you can't. The assessor can only base his/her report on what you tell him so make sure every answer you give is based on how you are when you are at your worst. If the day you are being assessed is a good one, make sure that you leave the assessor in no doubt that you are not usually so fortunate.

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