ESA venting / rant

Scared with BPD

Scared with BPD

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#61
Like a lot of people who have posted on this thread I was terrified of my medical assessment by ATOS as I know the statistics, they are deliberately refusing 7/10 applications. I became a member of a terrific website Benefits and Work, please look it up, it's run by a lawyer and human rights campaigner and it gives wonderful insight into how ATOS (briefed by the DWP) tries to negate all symptoms you tell them about. I also demanded a home visit. This required two letters being sent to them from my psychiatrist before they agreed and it took a long time for them to organise but it was definitely worth it. I felt less anxious being in my home environment (I don't go out unless I can help it) and it also meant that the assessor made written notes, not just ticking boxes on a computer. I received a letter yesterday to inform me that I do have Limited Capability for Work but now I have to attend a Work focused health related assessment. Unsure if they will be able to come to my home again to carry that out, but will try and push for it. My psychiatrist was totally unaware of how hard it is to claim ESA and he couldn't believe the fact that I was able to go to the hospital to attend appointments with him would go against me as it proved I could leave the house!

Sorry to waffle on but the two bits of advice I would offer to people claiming or appealing is definitely get yourself on to the Benefits and Work website, tons of useful information and doesn't cost a lot to become a member and secondly get your GP or psychiatrist/counsellor to write to them and demand a home visit and don't take no for an answer.
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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#62
I'm just about to have my new medical assesment on monday the second in a year, i had one last year, so it looks like on ESA you have a medical every year regardless of which catergory you happen to fall into.
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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#64
i'm just waiting now for the decission that they will take, and i guess that if they say im fit for work i need to appeal alll over again!! Urgh stupid beauracuracy if thats how to spell the words!!!
 
C

CelticTwilight

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#65
Cazzandrablue

I know, tell me about it, some of their tactics are so unprofessional to put it mildly. But good on you for sticking to your guns.

Maybe it would be interesting to see what happened if you made a complaint about this moron. At least you would get the satisfaction of knowing they were a liar if they denied your clams and then next time they would probably have to think of dealing with matters differently.

CT
 
C

CelticTwilight

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#66
Scared with BPD

Please still be on your guard.

Unfortunately the home visit I got 5 years ago was the start of a series of problems.

The doctor who had not made a prior appointment telephoned out of the blue and said he was in the area and I stupidly allowed him into talking his way in. He ticked boxes to questions that I had not even been asked and wrote down different answers to those I had given and was even writing one answer down instead of watching whilst I was showing how I could not do one of the physical activities. I found all this out by getting a copy of the report. I made a complaint (not my first or last) and a senior OT wrote them a very polite but informative letter and the decision was reversed. This was for Income Support but their tactics run across benefits and in my experience it is pot luck as a previous Indian doctor actually was very patient and listened fully to every explanation I gave. Again though on one of the occasions they double booked me at the medical centre they claimed only one doctor was available and automatically let the other person in first. After complaint and investigation, it turned out that all the time the other doctor had arrived early and taken my file some time before whilst I sat waiting in reception! This doctor left their service before the investigation was completed. Eventually they got me off IS by claiming I had failed to attend a medical (they had mixed up the dates but refused to acknowledge this). From there I have gone into my JSA/ESA pantomime. And that's why it is still always nice to hear someone winning one of these situations. I agree that site you mentioned is good and I have only read the freebies.

CT
 
C

CelticTwilight

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#67
Dib4uk

I finally got my hearing in May after appealing in September. Any evidence dated after September was not considered as apparently it all has to relate to the actual time of the appeal (the plot thickens). I got the negative decision on the day but they took ages contacting local benefit office. My rep has complained about the Judge's attitude (he was being assessed that day) and it is being investigated. I have already written to request a 'Statement of Reasons' for how they came to a decision which you have one month to do so. If you think they have made an error in law you can appeal to the upper tribunal. Personally i am certain that they overlooked the legal side i.e. social security regulations and guidelines. How much of this is worth bothering with only time shall tell. In the meantime I have done just as you say anyway and appealed against the decision that the decision maker made after receiving the tribunal's decision (yawn). I also made complaints against both bodies. I know it is pretty futile from past experiences but the way I look at it is the more of a nuisance and fuss people make the better. Atos are costing the tax payer far more than all the benefits claimants put together and what have they achieved since they got the contract.

Good luck with your appeal.

CT
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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#68
I got my decission through last week i think it was, or two weeks ago- cant remember and they putting me into the lower group not the support group but the other one i forget what its called.
 
HippieChick

HippieChick

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#69
I have had so many problems with ESA and they are still ongoing. I lost my job in February 2009 due to agoraphobia and depression. I've had it all my life but has got worse and worse in the last few years. I applied for ESA, was forced to go to medical assessment in July 2009, even though my GP wrote and explained my agoraphobia and requested a home visit. Despite 2 failed suicide attempts, severe agoraphobia, self harm, and other stuff, I was given 0 points and found to be fit to work. I was talked out of suicide by my friend who rang me that evening and found me in a completely panic and state. If it wasn't for her I know I wouldn't be here now. I rang the benefits office and they told me to appeal, so I did. A tribunal date was set and I wrote explaining my agoraphobia and why I couldn't attend. The tribunal went ahead and they couldn't come to decision so they requested a report from my GP/ The 2nd tribunal finally went ahead about 3 weeks ago and simply said that my appeal has failed and I will no longer receive ESA benefits.

I was referred to Welfare Services and a very unfriendly but professional lady visited me at home, read my report from the doctor and said it was appalling. My doctor has said things like "the patient states she has agoraphobia" rather than diagnosing me and the welfare rights lady said because of my doctor's lack of support I would never be found entitled to ESA benefits. My doctors surgery is a training surgery for newly qualified GPs and I must admit they're not very good there, but it's the only surgery I can get to. It's 5 minutes walk and the others are a bus journey away. I struggle to see my doctor anyway, but I certainly couldn't get on a bus.

I have a CPN who sees me once a month but my condition seems to be getting worse and now I'm not finding her as supportive. She said I'm better now and it's in my head, it's my choice whether to go out or not. But while I was a lot better early this year and able to go out a lot more, I've gone backwards in the last few months and find it really frustrating. I've been self harming again and drinking too much to blot out the pain. I feel that my CPN doesn't realise I'm as low as I am, although I tell her exactly how I feel.

I've reapplied for ESA but I feel like I'm banging my head on a brick wall and going round and round in circles. I'll be sent for a medical assessment, they won't let me have a home assessment, they'll find me capable of working, I'll appeal, be unable to go to the tribunal, and they'll fail me again. I would love to be well enough to work again, but right now I just need a bit of support and I don't know what to do. I've even been thinking of suicide again and it's only the last month or so I've started self harming again. I feel like a failure and worthless because if I deserved benefits or support surely I'd get it, and if I was well I could go to work and support myself and have a normal life. I just feel misunderstood and in the case of ESA, completely uncared for. Just a number and nothing important. I don't know if I can cope with going through the whole ESA thing again, it's completely overwhelming me.
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

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#70
If your c.p.n was a good one she/he should be prepared to come to the medical assessment with you, mine did. I also got a copy of my care plan from the c.m.h.t that looks after my care and i got e.s.a. and am now in the support group. I guess you also need to puch your c.p.n for a care plan - could be an idea? Take it easy

Its an awful system of hoops to jump through

KS
 
C

CelticTwilight

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#71
Paularit,

You are not a failure or worthless!

You lost your job through illness, hardly a crime.

I've had agoraphobic tendencies for over 15 years and gone out to work in between.

As you have already experienced it can fluctuate.

Your CPN is a failure for not being aware of this. I've never had one but she would have been reported pronto if she had directed that ignorant tripe at me.

I have encountered similar difficulties with getting a report from my GP so I find your comments useful. Your GP's report wasn't worth much was it. My solicitor had to pull out of my tribunal because he couldn't justify the case to legal aid on the strength of what he described as a 'wholly unsupportive' report. I wonder, are GP's scared of taking on Atos? Because there seems to be a pattern developing here. When I saw my GP for the last time he was wittering on about not being paid for the report (it was only a couple of weeks) what about the periods when I went several weeks without a penny to live on? Then he asked what was it again about my housing situ that I needed a supporting letter for. It was pretty much why I had gone to see him continuously for over a year about for goodness sake. I had also experienced increasing difficulty with concentration and had to give up courses due to this and as such he prescribed ssri's(?) which I decided not to take and to be monitiored instead. He put in the report that I do not have difficulty concentrating and that he thought work would do me good (I had to give up work in 2005 due to my housing situation). Indeed at times my latest voluntary work had been great and I've done well - not well enough to be offered a job though and no proper income is depressing in itself. There seems to be a common refusal amongst some of these 'healthcare professionals' to be aware of what is right under their noses. Maybe he is unwell himself as he completely forgot about the six week relapse when nobody knew where the hell I was! Would work do us good at these times, REALLY?

As for being worthless, sorry can't let you have that one. You are sharing your experiences with people who can identify. Remember this often includes people who haven't even got the confidence, energy or ability to post here. I'm glad you have but just wish we were all in a better place. In the meantime all we can do is share our experiences and hope it helps in some small way. Whilst we have this internet thingy let's make the most of it.

ESA is quite simply a disgrace. It was a gimmick taking out the inability of successive governments to deal with unemployment on those least able to defend themselves (although I am gradually learning otherwise). 8 million economically inactive adults without jobs but only 2 1/2 million of them unemployed and only half a million jobs to share between them. So what is the rush getting the sick on to jsa when they can't find work for the able bodied and mentally stable? Paying Atos their huge contract and their doctors bonuses for getting people off sick into unemployment isn't about saving money as they are sitting on billions in unclaimed benefits anyway. No no no, it is not us who are the failures.

I'm hoping I am right in thinking that it is only a matter of time before the next thinly disguised gimmick to make it look like they are tackling it comes along. Then everyone that's just been mucked about off Incap and Income support onto JSA via ESA will be shoved in another direction to waste some more time. Let's see how many in the public sector get laid off over the coming months and how the government responds or erm just doesn't bother.

I have nothing to feel ashamed, guilty a failure or worthless for being ill and on benefits but I have an awful lot to feel angry about the lack of professionalism amongst some of the very highly paid in responsible positions.

CT
 
HippieChick

HippieChick

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Birmingham, West Midlands
#72
Paularit,

You are not a failure or worthless!

You lost your job through illness, hardly a crime.

I've had agoraphobic tendencies for over 15 years and gone out to work in between.

As you have already experienced it can fluctuate.

Your CPN is a failure for not being aware of this. I've never had one but she would have been reported pronto if she had directed that ignorant tripe at me.

I have encountered similar difficulties with getting a report from my GP so I find your comments useful. Your GP's report wasn't worth much was it. My solicitor had to pull out of my tribunal because he couldn't justify the case to legal aid on the strength of what he described as a 'wholly unsupportive' report. I wonder, are GP's scared of taking on Atos? Because there seems to be a pattern developing here. When I saw my GP for the last time he was wittering on about not being paid for the report (it was only a couple of weeks) what about the periods when I went several weeks without a penny to live on? Then he asked what was it again about my housing situ that I needed a supporting letter for. It was pretty much why I had gone to see him continuously for over a year about for goodness sake. I had also experienced increasing difficulty with concentration and had to give up courses due to this and as such he prescribed ssri's(?) which I decided not to take and to be monitiored instead. He put in the report that I do not have difficulty concentrating and that he thought work would do me good (I had to give up work in 2005 due to my housing situation). Indeed at times my latest voluntary work had been great and I've done well - not well enough to be offered a job though and no proper income is depressing in itself. There seems to be a common refusal amongst some of these 'healthcare professionals' to be aware of what is right under their noses. Maybe he is unwell himself as he completely forgot about the six week relapse when nobody knew where the hell I was! Would work do us good at these times, REALLY?

As for being worthless, sorry can't let you have that one. You are sharing your experiences with people who can identify. Remember this often includes people who haven't even got the confidence, energy or ability to post here. I'm glad you have but just wish we were all in a better place. In the meantime all we can do is share our experiences and hope it helps in some small way. Whilst we have this internet thingy let's make the most of it.

ESA is quite simply a disgrace. It was a gimmick taking out the inability of successive governments to deal with unemployment on those least able to defend themselves (although I am gradually learning otherwise). 8 million economically inactive adults without jobs but only 2 1/2 million of them unemployed and only half a million jobs to share between them. So what is the rush getting the sick on to jsa when they can't find work for the able bodied and mentally stable? Paying Atos their huge contract and their doctors bonuses for getting people off sick into unemployment isn't about saving money as they are sitting on billions in unclaimed benefits anyway. No no no, it is not us who are the failures.

I'm hoping I am right in thinking that it is only a matter of time before the next thinly disguised gimmick to make it look like they are tackling it comes along. Then everyone that's just been mucked about off Incap and Income support onto JSA via ESA will be shoved in another direction to waste some more time. Let's see how many in the public sector get laid off over the coming months and how the government responds or erm just doesn't bother.

I have nothing to feel ashamed, guilty a failure or worthless for being ill and on benefits but I have an awful lot to feel angry about the lack of professionalism amongst some of the very highly paid in responsible positions.

CT
Thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right. I think so many of us are being let down by ESA, which is a complete mess. I do feel that I'm going to be shoved onto Job Seekers Allowance. Certainly with the lack of support from my GP and CPN I don't see how I'm going to get the benefits I need. I rang Saneline last night and they were really helpful. One thing they said was that my CPN should be coming to see me much more than once every month/six weeks. I was going to ring and ask to see her more often, but as I don't feel that she is being supportive or taking my condition seriously, I don't think there's much point. To have her talking AT me instead of listening and offering advise and support every week instead of every few weeks - it's not going to help, just frustrate and annoy me even more.

I rang the benefits office today and they've received my application and sick note now so they'll be paying me again shortly. I expect the next step is the farce of a medical assessment.
 
D

dlzoidberg

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#73
I have been one of the really lucky ones so far. I was put straight into the support group with no medical. I recently received another Atos form, filled it in with my CPN, but forgot to put new doctors info on it. My sister phones up for me and they tell her it was a computer generated thing, I don't have to go for a medical.
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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#74
I have been one of the really lucky ones so far. I was put straight into the support group with no medical. I recently received another Atos form, filled it in with my CPN, but forgot to put new doctors info on it. My sister phones up for me and they tell her it was a computer generated thing, I don't have to go for a medical.
wow your very lucky then...... :)
 
Boris

Boris

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#75
I don`t know if what I`m about to write has already been written by others as I skipped a few pages (I will read the pages I skipped, but I felt an urgency to add my few pence worth). If it has please forgive me.
As we all know the Government is doing its best to cut the deficit as fast as it can, and it`s under pressure to cut the unemployment figures. We all know how previous governments manipulated the unemployment figures by preventing people claiming benefit for the first 6 months after losing their job irrespective of the reason, unless they were made redundant, or the job was temporary. This created an immediate and on-going drop in the unemployed figure, aswell as saving the government money. Personally I think this is shameful in itself, people can become bankrupt, homeless and die of starvation in that duration of time, not that the government cares! However with this new government things are going to become much worse! They want people off sickness benefits and actively looking for work. Then those actively looking for work will be challenged time and time again in the hope that it can be proved that they are in breach of their agreement and lose their right to benefit completely. This is the reality of this governments cuts!
My advice to those people who are having meetings, medicals, assessments etc, make sure you have a friend or family member with you and present for the duration of that meeting etc. It is in my opinion that only then can you be sure of a fair assessment etc.
 
Boris

Boris

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#76
After reading all the pages it looks very much like it`s a forgone conclusion that these medicals etc are just a formality and the pre-determined outcome is to score every case 0. My advice is get as much exposure of this as possible, (these fraudsters are being paid to deliberately fail people)! Contact the big daily papers, TV/radio stations, your local labour MPs (no point contacting your con-dem coalition parties as they will just fob you off)!
 
HippieChick

HippieChick

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#77
After reading all the pages it looks very much like it`s a forgone conclusion that these medicals etc are just a formality and the pre-determined outcome is to score every case 0. My advice is get as much exposure of this as possible, (these fraudsters are being paid to deliberately fail people)! Contact the big daily papers, TV/radio stations, your local labour MPs (no point contacting your con-dem coalition parties as they will just fob you off)!
You are absolutely right that this is the way to fight the scam. I wish I had the energy and motivation to do so. I think that's the reason they're deliberately targeting the mentally-ill. They must see us as such easy targets.
 
trombone_babe

trombone_babe

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Kent
#79
There's been a lot of talk on this thread about the points system, I can't find any mention of points on my decision letter or the report. Where would I find them? I would add that it's not that important as I'm one of the lucky ones that got ESA first time round, probably because both times I went to the assessment I spent most of the time crying!
 
gray

gray

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#80
As an update I just want to say that I won my appeal.