PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

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PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby cocobella » Thu May 15, 2014 12:16 pm

Hi All,

Once again, apologies for not being on here for a while! As you all know, sometimes our hours of "awake" time are limited.

I wanted to let you all know the progress of my PIP assessment and wanted to check if any others are experiencing the same. I am going to write this short and sweet.

-Applied for PIP in June 2013 (form personally took me weeks to complete)
-Gone part-time at work 18.5 hours per week, as occupational health said I can no longer sustain fulltime (and I did not want to lose my job at only age 27).

-PIP ATOS assessment September 2013 (4 months after applying) - woman at my assessment was lovely and very caring. She was a nurse.

-Between September 2013 and March 2014 - I kept phoneing both ATOS and DWP to be told that ATOS are doing the "auditing" process and that my claim is in a queue to be audited.

-Sent 2 complaints via email stating my dismay at the length of time I have had to wait. I was/am still experiencing financial difficulty due to going part-time at work. Also if I had the choice, I would not work. I thoroughly enjoy work but it is the only thing I can manage these days.

-March 2014 - Received a phone call from a senior manager at ATOS informing me that they have "LOST" my report from my assessment in Sept 2014. That the file had gone CORRUPT on their system!!!!! I was then informed I have to attend a new assessment in April 2014. I was disgusted. I also work in IT and asked why the file wasn't backed up, has there been a data security breach? What are my rights. All of which were not answered. The SENIOR manager could not provide any of this information.

- April 2014 - went to my second ATOS assessment. A female aged approx 25, who was a physiotherapist assessed me. I was there with my mother who is a nurse!! The assessor was HORRIBLE. I felt like I was under the magnifying glass of complete scrutiny. She did not know what most of my health problems/conditions were. She couldn't spell properly and she also could not pronounce SPECIFICALLY properly and kept saying PACIFICALLY!!!!! How can someone like this even be allowed to assess a disabled person???? Why was it not a doctor or nurse?

-NOW 2014 - Still no word from ATOS or DWP. Phone every week, and am told it is now back in the auditing queue. I phoned three days ago and was told it was now with the decision maker and could take up to three weeks.
That will be a year next month I have waited for this, suffered financially and mentally. :-(

-I also applied recently for the disability element of tax credits and was told I do not qualify because I am not on any disability benefits i.e. ESA or DLA/PIP. This sickened me as I was on ESA for 6 weeks last year as my SSP and contractual sick pay had ended due to my absence. I was left with NO income!

Phew, now I can take a breath!!!!!! So that is my general experience with ATOS and DWP. I am SICK of it. I am now in the middle of a formal complaint to ATOS and have copied in my local MP. I am not sure if it will make any difference but hopefully I will be listened to. The whole thing depresses me. I am also in debt, finding it difficult to cope financially also and do not know if I will ever be able to get myself financially stable again due to having half of my usual income, with no additional benefits.

Sorry everyone if I sound like I am doing the poor me! I am just very fed up.

Would love to hear your stories and experiences......

Hope you are all well as you can be x

Coco x
Last edited by FluppyPuffy on Thu May 15, 2014 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Made points/paragraphs clearer for easier reading.
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby Roger Rabbit » Thu May 15, 2014 1:06 pm

Hello, There are far too many people being treated like this by the DWP and ATOS and the problem is there is no where you can go to complain. If it was the Gas board or the Electricity companies you would go to OFCOM etc, I recently phoned a branch of a government office and they advised me that the only way you can complain is by going to your MP. I think you might find it beneficial if you find our who your local MP is and contact them with a BRIEF outline of your problems, what stage you are at and wait and see what happens. Hopefully things should move quite swiftly!
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby loopyT » Thu May 15, 2014 2:21 pm

Hi Cocobella,
I'm not used to posting messages but really feel for you. I was in receipt of DLA (for a few years now) but it was due for renewal in April 2014 so late last year I was 'invited' to apply for PIP. I filled in the forms and then waited for a response. I eventually received a letter from CAPITA stating that I would be assessed at home in January but the letter was sent in the middle of February!! I was advised to call on the Monday and was assured they would give me an appointment date but after many phone calls I asked where my nearest assessment centre was and was given an appointment there. I then received confirmation by post with a seven page letter explaining how to get there (this included two 30 minute walks!!).

I have terrible trouble walking and standing (hence my application!!) and also, after a very bad car accident last year I ger VERY anxious in unfamiliar places and around too many people. so the thought of going to the assessment centre was terrifying.

I didn't know what else to do because I thought if I canceled the appointment I would not be offered one at home so I wrote to my MP. I cannot praise him enough. I received a reply from him stating that the appointment at the assessment centre had been cancelled and I would have a home visit within 2 weeks. I received confirmation of this (with a date) from CAPITA.

On the morning of the assessment no-one arrived. I called CAPITA and there was no explanation, just another date! On the day of the second appointment CAPITA called 10 minutes before the appointment to say they needed to change it!! They did assure me that the dates are given with the intention of the assessor arriving!

On the 3rd occasion the assessor did arrive and she was really lovely but now I am in a state of panic. I keep going over the appointment and wonder if I should have said more or if I said the wrong thing and its driving me crazy!! I have no idea how long it will be until I receive a decision but DWP have said that my DLA will continue until a decision is made so that does help.

I'm really sorry to put you through the hassle of reading all that but the reason I explained it all is to say is if he hasn't replied please write again to your MP or even give him a call. It appears that they do take their constituents seriously and must have the authority to speak to the companies dealing with assessments.

In your post it says they lost your assessment from September 2014?? Was this a typo or did they actually say 2014?

Really hope you receive help or a decsion soon. This damn illness is bad enough without the stress of this. Why can't they make it straight forward? It does help if the assessor is nice but it sounds like you had a difficult one!
Have you called anyone at citizens advice? They may be able to help you with regard to other benefits as its so unfair if you are getting into debt. I really don't know how you manage to work at all, it must be so difficult for you.
wishing you luck and lots of good days x
Last edited by FluppyPuffy on Thu May 15, 2014 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Made paragraphs clearer for easier reading.
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby lovesbubbles » Thu May 15, 2014 10:09 pm

A short outline of my PIP claim

July 2013 Asked for a claim form, looked at it several times decided I could not complete it so left it at that.

December 2013 received a letter from ATOS to say that my assessment was booked for the middle of January. When I queeried this I was told that they would help me complete the form at the assessment as I had stated on the telephone originally that I have cognitive impairment.

January 2014 Travelled 90 miles to my assessment centre. Eventually a lady came out and after a few strange questions asking why I was there and who I was supposed to be seeing. She then said that it was actually her that would be doing the assessment. (Strange how my husband and I were the only people in the waiting room). She asked about my medication and I produced a prescription list from the GP, she wouldn't take this and I was asked to name, spell, give dose and frequency and then let her know why I was taking it!? She got annoyed when I was unable to answer her on some of the meds. (I have enough trouble remembering when to take it all) she continued in the same line of interrogation throughout and was annoyed that there was no form for her to compare my answers with. Within 20 minuites I was a blubbering wreck she then refused to carry on with the consultation and asked us to leave. When I got home I rang the DWP spoke to a very nice lady and was still a blubbering wreck, she gave me her name, department and said she would enter this information on the system and advised me to complain to ATOS

March 2014 Received letter from DWP stating that my claim had been turned down due to the assessment I had had.. She also explained that some one would ring me within 14 days to discuss the claim and that I would be able to ask them to look at it again.

March 2114 (10 days later) had a phone call from the 'decision maker' who explained why my claim had been turned down and if I understood the reason. I asked how they could come to that decision based on the assessment I didn't reallly get. We then went through all of the questions on the form with him making a note of my answers (daft as it sounds when tellling him about the assessment I blubbed again)

May 2014 have still heard nothing and reading this forum reminded me that I was going to ring and find out what is happening. Will ring tomorrow if I remember :?:

if there are any other members out there who would be willing to help me draft a letter to my MP I would love to hear from you x

On the other hand, thanks to another members post on this forum I have filled in my blue badge renewal form.

I just go brain dead when I see a form!!!
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby *Lisa* » Fri May 16, 2014 12:15 pm

You should have been advised to get the form completed by CAB or over the phone from DWP before the assessment took place. This giving the examiner information to go on. Im afraid you wasnt given the correct information IMO.

I can see why she asked for you to say and spell out the perscription, this in fact was a test.

The examiner shouldn't have put you through that ordeal knowing she would need more information. :nono:
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby cocobella » Tue May 20, 2014 2:27 pm

Hi all. My claim had been disallowed. I am gutted and disgusted. :-( what do I do now?


Coco x
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby FluppyPuffy » Tue May 20, 2014 5:19 pm

Appealing the decision is the next step Coco :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

If you tell them you want to appeal, your claim will probably be sent for a mandatory reconsideration first. For this, it will be passed to a different Decision Maker who will review everything to see if the decision can be changed in your favour. If it can, and you agree with their decision, that will be the end of the process for you.

If it can't be changed in your favour, or you disagree with their decision, it will then enter the Appeals Tribunal system. To put your appeal together, you will need a copy of the Statement Of Reasons which states how the DM has arrived at their decision, as well as copies of all other paperwork relevant to your claim. Starting with the Statement Of Reasons, it will be necessary to go thru everything and pull it apart to show where they have been telling fairy stories. From there, you will need to explain why they are fairy stories and what you are saying is fact. Any additional supporting evidence you can supply to further back~up what you are saying can/will help matters.

This all sounds rather daunting for someone to tackle, but there is help available to get you thru it. As well as the support organisations like CAB, DIAL, Welfare Rights etc having advisers who can help with the appeal preparation, and maybe even being able to represent you, there is a lot of info available online that you could look into. Some sites require a fee to be paid to access all their guides, such as Benefits and Work, but there is an awful lot of freebie advice available as well.
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby pinky1 » Tue May 27, 2014 9:33 pm

So sorry cocobella, its a disgrace what they are doing. I've been on indefinite DLA since 2007 but if Scotland don't get independence I will be assessed again between 2015 and 2017 (as far as I am aware)

I had my ESA review/assessment last friday, it went really well. The nurse was lovely. She said she didn't see any problems with my claim and if DWP replied any differently to appeal straight away

all the best x
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby cocobella » Wed May 28, 2014 12:37 pm

Thank you everyone for all your information and help. I appreciate it so much. It is so sad that we are ALL going through it. It isn't straight forward for anyone.

Pinky1: this is a bit off topic, but if we get independence do you know what will happen with PIP? Are they proposing a better system if we are independent?

Also everyone, I have the decision maker phoneing me this afternoon, after them phoneing me every morning whilst I am at work!!!! I am dreading the call, however I will be asking for a mandatory reconsideration.

Do any of you know how successful people are after a mandatory reconsideration?? For them to label me as an "enabled" person is just disgusting!! It makes you feel like a beggar aswell, completely chasing after them to get an extra £20 - £50 per week. If someone told me 10 years ago when I was 17 that I would be in this situation in 10 years I would have laughed at them and told them they were crazy!! It is now the sad realization that this is my life. ARghhhh. lol. However I know I am not alone and you are all in the same big rusty boat!!! haha.

Thanks everyone.

Coco xx
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Re: PIP/DLA ATOS and DWP Experience stories....

Postby lovesbubbles » Thu May 29, 2014 12:22 am

After asking for a reconsideration, I was told it would take 4 - 6 weeks before I would know the outcome. 9 weeks later and all I am told is that they are still waiting for a decision?

Its been nearly 12 months since my application, but on the plus side, think of all the back pay
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