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Is anyone experienced in atos medical a / claiming esa ?? If so I could really use your help

(20 Posts)
Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 13:39:59

The time has come for me to need to claim esa
I have been awarded at assessment rate but haven't er received notification - I only know because I rang to query something and asked for an update

I have however received a medical questionnaire from atos
I am aware of the horrors that lie ahead and have been told that just turning up for the assessment passes you as fit for work

Reading through the form , none of the questions are relevant to my illness, I don't see how they can use that as a fair appraisal ?

Any advice , tips and know how will be gladly appreciated

Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 14:01:30

Bump

Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 14:20:45

Anyone ?

hoarseoldfrog Sat 20-Jul-13 14:34:03

There are set indicators that they use to decide on your entitlement. Eg physical health you would get a certain amount of points if you cannot mobilise.More than 200m etc. I'm not sure if they're on google- try searching for wca descriptors. It is really useful to include as many specific examples as possible. This is particularly useful for mental health. When I did training they gave the example of someone with anger management having been banned from job centre etc.
It's a bit tricky to advise without knowing what health issues you have but feel free to pm me. One of my clienets has just managed to pass the wca first time which was a bit of a surprise but its a lot easier if you know what answers they're looking for. Best of luck

RoooneyMara Sat 20-Jul-13 14:39:06

Fill it in in great detail (if you can stand it - go into the 'zone' for an hour or so, get it over with) Is it a physical or a MH issue?

They will put you in the work related activity group which entails having to go and have interviews with an advisor, stuff like that, writing a CV and so on. Unless you're pretty much dead in which case you go into the support group. but that's almost no one.

You may get an eejit, or you may get someone sympathetic on the day - it isn't that person who makes the decision though it does make a difference I think.

RoooneyMara Sat 20-Jul-13 14:40:29

Also it may be months before you get a decision. Up to 6 months of waiting is the worst I have heard.

JuliaScurr Sat 20-Jul-13 14:40:46
Catmint Sat 20-Jul-13 14:45:08

Make sure you are honest about what you cannot do.

I don't know the rules for this benefit, but you do need to think realistically about what it actually means to be able to 'do' something. If you can do it, but only with great effort, in pain and only once, I think it is reasonable to say you can't do it. Because you can't do it with any consistency, IYSWIM.

Also, if you can do it a few times but you have to rest afterwards, I think you need to think very carefully.

Being able to complete an activity should not be divorced from the physical consequences of doing it.

Whether ATOS agree is another matter.

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 15:13:47

Benefits and Work have excellent guides, although they do charge membership. But I'd really recommend joining, especially if this is your first time through the process.

And you're right, the questions are frequently crap.

Answer like a politician: use the questions and "additional info" spaces to say WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY, even if that's not what the question asks.

The question rarely means what it says anyway. Eg there used to be (can't remember if still is) one that said, "Can you walk 50m?" What it meant was "Can you walk 50m with reasonable repeatability, without severe pain, discomfort or increased medical problems at the time or afterwards." Which really isn't the same thing.

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 15:22:17

In fact, if you can do something but with difficulties or consequences, tick "no" then explain in more detail in the write-in box. You haven't deceived anyone, but you haven't given them the excuse to pretend you have zero difficulties.

The other tip I've seen recently is that, if you write about "good days" and "bad days" they may assume "good days" = normal like other people, rather than "good for you but still not normal". So say "better days" rather than "good days" if this is appropriate.

Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 15:38:09

That's all great info thanks so much
It's so stressful
I can't work, there is no doubt about it I am very physically unwell

But I don't trust them to see that

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 16:10:28

I hate ATOS, my dad who is really ill has been declared not fit for work or fit to look for work but was then sent a letter declaring him fit for work without assessing him but been taken off ESA and given £20 a week lower rate dla to live on sad

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 16:35:32

Aqua, please appeal. They may phone and try to put you off, but do so anyway.

About 40% of appeals are won. And I've had two decisions overturned without having to go through the full process. Basically they tried it on, then backed down when they realised I wasn't going to. I didn't even need to submit more medical evidence.

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 16:35:51

Oh, and photocopy everything before you send it in.

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 16:49:06

You can also require that ATOS record the WCA interview: you get a copy and they get a copy.

You can make this demand in the "additional info" box at the back of the questionnaire. But in my experience you then have to remind them a few weeks before the WCA.

I asked in my WCA whether they had a medical report from my GP, so it went onto the tape that they hadn't (interviewer blamed my GP but rumours + my experience suggest ATOS simply no longer seeks these reports, despite GP contract covering them).

I do everything in writing and refuse to take calls from the DWP or ATOS ("I'm sorry, I don't deal with you by phone. Please write to me with whatever you need to say" <click>). This was originally because of my own memory and cognitive problems, but it's actually really useful because they're so untrustworthy.

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 16:55:30

Parsing I don't think he could to be honest, he has already been to court for appeal with his DLA and the judge was horrendous with him, really nasty and awful, the judge actually lied in court and said he had said he went to the pub with his mates while in court when he had not (he never goes to the pub and doesn't have mates) I am not sure he is strong enough to go through it again. I wanted them to complain about judge but they were too afraid to.

I wouldn't mind but he has worked since he was 14 until now and its his job that has caused his disabilities and issues.

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 16:58:21

sad Aqua.

Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 17:44:19

They really are scum arent they ?

I don't think until someone has to navigate disability benefits that you can truly realise how horrendous it is

I was awarded higher rate DLA on first application but I understand this has no influence on esa ?

I'm really gonna research before I complete the form
Does anyone have any knowledge of section 29 - the clause that states that being found fit for work will have serious implications on your health ?

Is quoting that a good idea ?

ParsingFancy Sat 20-Jul-13 18:03:41

Yes, IIUC DLA has no influence on ESA but it is hugely encouraging that you got it. You were obviously able to produce convincing evidence for that claim, so the chances of you being able to do so for ESA are high.

Sorry, don't know anything about Section 29. But sounds useful to at least keep in the back of your mind, so your answers are aimed at demonstrating that being found fit for work would endanger your health.

I seem to remember the B&W guide recommending repeating yourself as you work through the Qs: I can't do X because it causes Y; I am in pain if I attempt Z because it causes Y; because of Y, doing ABC would damage my health, so I no longer attempt them.

It shouldn't be like this. The form should be a straightforward means to collect relevant info, by an assessor who genuinely wants to understand your level of health. Instead they seem to play buzzword bingo. If you put the right phrases in, you win. If not, not.

Kormachameleon Sat 20-Jul-13 21:25:17

Thanks all for the advice
It's so wrong isn't it that the most vulnerable I. Society are subject to the most demeaning and unfair guidelines

I'm fortunate in that I have a good level of intelligence and am capable of navigating the system thoroughly

God help anyone less fortunate sad

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