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).
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 and negligence 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 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Her DLA claim was denied for 15 months – The DWP cited the withdrawn ATOS report and 2 other farcical ATOS reports which have also been declared as not fit for purpose – it was also delayed for almost 8 months due to DWP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.
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.