Overview – DWP and ATOS incompetence

I apologise if people find this difficult to follow. I have never written a weblog before but as I have been so stunned with the treatment dealt to us by the DWP, ATOS and ICE, I wanted to be able to tell others of our experience which has blighted our lives for several years now.

My partner, like myself, had worked hard all of her life. She was the Head of Programming at a national broadcasting (tv) company. She became ill in 1995. She continued to work for as long as she could and then due to deterioration, she had to leave her profession and claim the benefits that we believe she was entitled to in 2011. She is currently having her bowels, colon and rectum removed over a period of 3 operations in early 2013, running into 2014 (3 ops with 3-7 months in between) (2014 edit: – this was delayed in the middle of the series due to a very large brain tumour and subsequent treatment).

This blog is not about whether she should be allowed this or that benefit, it is not to abuse the DWP/ATOS, it is to show and prove the astounding incompetence, negligence and deception we have faced in the benefit system, both by DWP and ATOS Healthcare. All we have asked for is fair access to the claim processes. All we have had is to have this denied to us on many occasions. If someone had told me this story 2 years ago when I had little knowledge of the benefit system, I am not sure whether I would have believed them.

In brief, my partner’s ESA benefits were not restored for 7 months due to a false ATOS report and serious DWP errors (the report has now been declared as not fit for purpose and the DWP describe their own role as ‘a catalogue of errors’).

Her DLA claim was denied for 15 months – The DWP cited the withdrawn ATOS report and 2 other farcical ATOS reports which have also been declared as not fit for purpose – it was also delayed for almost 8 months due to DWP procedural errors. She won her tribunal in Februrary 2013, 16 months after originally claiming !!!

I have included evidence of almost all information in this blog, so if the DWP/ATOS wishes to dispute any, or if you are a media organisation, I would be happy to provide fuller details and discuss this with you.

dwpnegligence@gmail.com

On many occasions, my partner, who is incapable of dealing with the claim, has said that she would have had to give up on the claims faced with the difficulties we have had if she was alone.. and what I find sad, that she keeps saying that she really wishes she was the person that the DWP/ATOS say she is.

Lastly, if you are claiming benefit – RECORD EVERYTHING! Also try to have someone with you to record events. Keep all record of conversations and letters. And whilst it is quite hard these days, try to get as much help advice as possible.

Hopefully this blog will show the problems that she has faced and allow you to see what steps you might want to take if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a similar position.

  1. Background
  2. Chronology – easy to follow summary!
  3. Work Capability Assessment – Problems on the day (minor)
  4. Work Capability Assessment Report – The false statements begin
  5. Work Capability Assessment – A Litany of DWP Errors
  6. Work Capability Assessment – the ATOS Aftermath
  7. Work Capability Assessment – DWP Errors Continue
  8. ESA Claim – Internal DWP memo outlining procedural errors
  9. DLA Claim – ‘Gambling’ on progress (minor)
  10. DLA Claim – More ATOS Lies
  11. DLA Claim – The first 6 months of DWP Errors
  12. DLA Claim – Slothlike delays
  13. DLA Claim – Hung up to dry by the DWP (minor)
  14. DLA Claim – ATOS Home Visit
  15. DLA Claim – ATOS 3rd medical report
  16. Fraudulent DWP correspondence to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service
  17. From Fraud to Deception – Refusal to inform HM Courts of fraudulent action
  18. All roads lead to Leeds (minor)
  19. A readable (but very false) Home visit medical report
  20. ATOS Complaint response
  21. ATOS Complaints Procedure
  22. Attempts to avoid investigation of complaints
  23. ATOS Independent Tier Responses
  24. ATOS admitting their assessment is ’embarrassing’
  25. A question of legibility
  26. Proof that the DWP made decisions without being able to read documents
  27. DWP Deceiving the MPs
  28. More (il)legibility
  29. ‘Low levels of severity’
  30. Refusal to supply complaints procedure
  31. (un)”natural justice” – almost competent
  32. The DLA Tribunal Hearing 12/2/13
  33. 20 hours of peace
  34. Deceiving the MPs – Responses of Excellence
  35. A 1,750% increase in complaints but no need for action
  36. ICE Delays, one year on
  37. …And on to the PHSO

15 comments on “Overview – DWP and ATOS incompetence

  1. Absolutely unbelievable. So so sorry for you both. All MPs should be forced to read this…it should receive max publicity…I’m dreaming, I’m hoping. I tried telling my GP about ATOS yesterday but he wouldn’t hear of it (I said they destroy people’s lives), if only I could make him read this. It’s despicable beyond belief. My first dealings with ATOS have just begun….

    Love and strength to you both, xxx

    • I am sorry to hear this as happened to you it beggars belief,I too have had my esa stopped I go in hospital in 5 days to have a disc removed and rods and screws in my lower back,This as upset me that these people can do this it is so wrong,I feel no way fit for work.

  2. Hi Dee

    Empathy for your experience xx

    You commented on my post -http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/atos-response-to-my-complaint-about-recordings/ re yet another claim that take up of recordings is low!

    I find this statement by Govn bemusing if it’s true, I fail to understand why everyone who is called to attend a farcical ATOS assessment does not insist upon it being recorded.

    Do you have up to figures for requests?

    Jayne x

    • Mark Hoban: “we should look at audio recording and certainly the results of the evaluation that we did. What is interesting is that we do offer audio recording; it is there at the claimant’s request. The take-up rate is phenomenally low: about 40 or 50 people a week ask for the recording. The evaluation suggests that 47% of people would find it helpful, but only 1% of claimants in the pilot asked for a copy of the transcript. There has been no evidence that the audio recording improves the quality of the assessment; the quality is the same whether it is recorded or not. So I think we need to look at what the evidence is and the value that the audio recording gives to claimants and also to the integrity of the process”.
      (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmworpen/uc769/uc76901.htm)

      These figures are very massaged plus I don’t feel that many know they are able to ask for a recording

  3. Hi Jayne/Dee, I had no idea my WCA could be recorded until I stumbled upon the various websites there to help us – benefitsandwork, blacktriangle etc. I don’t believe that the vast majority of claimants know that they can request audio, there is no mention of it ANYWHERE on any of the DWP/ATOS correspondence or forms, so how could anyone know to request it?!

    It’s also obvious that it must make a difference to the quality of the assessment, who would not behave differently if they know they’re being recorded and that it can be used in a tribunal at a later stage. There is no proof that unrecorded assessments are of a lesser standard precisely because they are unrecorded – our words against theirs, and we all know that they lie and fabricate and deny…..!

    I know this statement by Mark Hoban is all aimed at trying to withdraw the right to request audio, as it clearly does make a difference! Angry? Yes! We keep fighting this cruel, cruel system.

    Hope you don’t mind my further comments, just needed to agree with you🙂

    All the best, Ingrid (my WCA has just been cancelled from Dec 22nd, no new date yet, probably because I requested audio which is unavailable)

    • Sorry to hear about the cancellation, hope that it goes well for you when it happens.
      I didn’t know about recording with our first one either

      And yes you’re right – of course things would be different if they were recorded… but really they don’t want them to be different.

  4. I ended up with two stress inducing on top of already stress induced appeals running concurrently due to a DWP decision maker who hadn’t even read the papers I’d submitted to them and based her decision on the tick box paperwork from an Atos assessor, who in my opinion just went through the motions – computer says no. I was awarded no points. My eventual appeal was decided on the papers alone (I’d turned up to the appeal anyway). This, I had to fight with just one meeting with a local authority advise worker. The whole process has left me totally exhausted and I have no doubt this has taken its toll on both my physical and mental health. leaving aside compassion, as this is not in the remit of the economic decisions made in these matters (amoral free-market ideology), there’s not any economic logic to this as the cost benefit of its affects I believe will outweigh any short-term savings made.

  5. Bradford BC
    Jobcentre Plus
    Leodis Way
    Leeds
    LS88 8AE
    Ref:
    I would like a copy of my face to face assessment undertaken by Atos in Grimsby.
    I would also like you to look at this decision again as the general outline I have received is in some parts a total distortion of fact and in others a fabrication .I do intend to appeal and would therefore request formGL24 ,if your consideration of your original decision stands.
    Letter written to DWP after receiving nil points

  6. My friend suffers from mental health problems and is an alcoholic. He is hard working but couldn’t cope with indoor work, gets easily stressed and overwhelmed. The ATOS assessment does not take into account his problems so he loses money… then he appeals… is reinstated, then loses more money. I have accompanied him to one interview but the second time I was very poorly so rang to reschedule on his behalf. They wouldn’t accept my call as he wasn’t ringing himself. He was also in bed sick and has no landline or mobile phone.They quoted data protection as the reason they wouldn’t accept the call. When he got another appointment I couldn’t go with him as I was working and they wouldn’t reschedule as he had missed an appointment. He went by himself and guess what? He was thought to be fit for work, again. However this time they sent him someone else’s notes! This person had a plaster cast, drove a car under normal circumstances and had a TV – none of this applies to my friend. I rang on his behalf to explain that they had made a mistake, also quoting data protection… well two can play at that game… and was passed from the DWP to ATOS then to Jobcentre Plus and then onto the DWP. Finally he got a meeting to talk about the mistake and has had to do an appeals form! He is now appealing a decision on someone else’s notes! You couldn’t make this up… and guess what? He is finding this all very scary and stressful and overwhelming so his mental health is suffering! Boom Boom…

  7. I submitted my application form and sent with it a hand written letter from my GP indicating that I was unfit for work and the reasons why.

    Along with that, were a multitude of other documents from medical sources showing that I had chronic on-going conditions and I also sent a full list of my current medication as provided by my GP.

    Because of mobility and pain problems which get worse as the day progresses, I specifically asked that in the event of me being sent for a medical assessment, that I was allocated an A.M. appointment to give me the best opportunity of getting there as the least stressful option. You guessed. My appointment has been allocated for 3.35 in the afternoon. Even a cursory glance at the lists of medication and medical reports would have told these people that I qualify for the relevant benefit. All the documents I submitted seem to have been overlooked or at worst, simply ignored. Clearly no-one trust G.P.’s any longer, despite the fact that he has treated me for 20 years.

    The people who are to make these decisions will never have met me in their lives and know nothing about me or my condition.

    It’s a farce and is needlessly causing misery and angst to people who can least cope.

  8. my wife attended an atos assessment in Jan 2013 and was deemed to stressed to continue medical,she was told to arrange a home visit instead.They gave us a telephone number to ring to arrange th home visit. I rang this number th next day and was told that her file was closed an sent to DWP.they wouldn’t give any other info as to why this was.my wife soon received letter sayin her ESA was stopped and would be taken off th support group.I appealed on grounds that no assessment ever took place but again they refused to pay her ESA.I decided on tribunal as only hope.I couldn’t believe it when their evidence was sent to us..the only info that was correct was our names.everything else belonged to another person.it stated that I was a paranoid schitsophrenic with thoughts of killing,and that id been sectiond under mental health act..,it was someone else’s total life history.my wife wasnt paid for 8 months and was living on 50 quid a week..she had eviction notice served(which is still going through courts now) and debts galore.another copy of this paper was sent to a neighbors in error,this was obviously read by them as rumours started about me being mentally unstable an other rumours too.we went through hell.eventually won tribunal and judge stated DWP had made serious error resulting in major stress caused to my already venerable wife.they called it maladminastration and could apply for compensation from DWP.,..what a total bloody joke when she was awarded a total of 50 quid compensation from them,.since this saga began my wife has had fits,depression,anxiety more than ever.I hate sayin this,but she even tried takin her own life,our marriage has hit rock bottom and our son is being abused from th nasty rumours that have spread.we didn’t deserve any of this.to top it all off she just received letter for atos medical only 2 weeks after being awarded her huge compensation..don’t think I’ve any tears left to cry anymore..thanks to a nurse mcpherson and her atos colleagues

    • Sorry to hear about this, though sadly not surprised. I would suggest taking it to your MP, complaining to ICE (not that that will do any good at all, just a stepping stone) and then getting your MP to forward it to the PHSO.
      Best wishes with everything

  9. I do think had you not set up a DWP Negligence site I may have!!!! Having a nightmare situation with DWP who can accuse me of wrong doing yet despite numerous admin faults on their part skirt round the facts to bring blame to me!!! MP blinded by their official response yet DWP not addressed the issues, seems the FIS are equally as incapable when they too have failed to follow their own policy. Lost faith in the system despite working all my adult life to pay I to said system, seems it does not work for those when they need it. Good luck to you and your wife

    • Sorry to hear about your problems too. But do set up your own weblog and explain it. Even though complaining about the process has got us nowhere I would still recommend you do it yourself, you have nothing to lose.
      Very best wishes

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