ATOS WCA report says UNFIT – DWP Disagree!

Yesterday I finally received my long waited for Work Capability Assessment Report, you know the one completed by the assessor

Imagine the shock I had when I read I had 36 points and it was recommended I was UNFIT for work and UNLIKELY to improve!

This was particularly shocking as I have been placed in the Work Related Group by the DWP decision maker.

So know it seems even when ATOS say we are too ill to work, the decision makers are ignoring it

On the advice of a clever friend on Facebook, today I’m sending my request for reconsideration of to the DWP by recorded delivery, CCing it to my MP

Will let you all know what happens

ATOS Saga Update – After the WCA

Anyone who has read my previous blogs will be aware of the problems I had in getting my Work Capability Assessment (WCA) recorded.

Well after the 4 month fight, my recorded WCA finally took place on July 20th; it was a much improved affair, but still felt hugely pointless. My carer and I spend over an hour going over my claim form with a very pleasant and friendly Dr and a very very fine tooth comb.

The Dr literately asked me point by point to confirm (or otherwise one would suspect) exactly what was written; “so you have Fibromyalgia” , “Yes”, and it was initially diagnosed   in 1998 by your GP”,  “Yes”, who then referred you to Hospital X in 2000″, “Yes”; and so it went on covering each of my health problems and the affects of them and the associated medication.

It was only interrupted by small yelps of pain, me kicking the desk as cramps set repeatability set in,  or by the Dr repeating what she thought my ever decreasing voice volume answered as the  interview progressed.

At the end I signed for and duly received my hard fought for CD!

The dreaded brown envelop with the DWP follow up arrived on my doorstep days later and inside was their decision, I was in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). I do however believe  I should be in the Support group, so the next step was to phone and ask for the report; I did this on July 30th.

Not having received the report by mid August I phoned again, only to find I now have to follow an incredibly long  automated test BEFORE I can get through to the DWP call Centre; so I start by (attempting) to key the numbers from my NI number to the telephone, this is followed by a request for my date of birth (in full), another attempt to stab the buttons on my phone hard enough for them to picked up! Then come a new one to me – key in  an 8 digit memorable code (not your birth date) WTF; so I desperately rummage through all my families birth date looking for one I think I might be able to recall, and again a 3rd attempt to stab this in, this done I’m asked for a 4 digit PIN! Finally the automated voice assures me I’ll be able to use the chosen memorable date and PIN to access the DWP in future, I’m then in the queue to speak to someone!!!

20 minutes later I’m through, and by now I’m stressed and in pain, so I croak at the  customer service person the reason I’m calling, “I would like a copy of my report from my recent WCA please” I say,  “first I need to take you through some security questions” is the reply; so I give them my NI number (again), my name, date of birth, previous address, any other names I’ve been known by, my land line and mu mobile number; and then I get told “I’m sorry, but you’ve failed the security questions”! “What?” I’m then told the customer service member can’t go any further and I’ll just have to try again.

So, I’m now upset, and decide to calm down before going through that again; half an hour and lots of ‘calming thoughts’ later I try again; this time I actually get through security and am able to actually request my copy of the,report, and I’m told I’ll receive it in 5/7 working days.

By August 8th, my report hasn’t arrived so I call again and guess, an identical scenario, including me ‘failing’ security the first time happens again!

To cut a very long blog short this drama plays itself out like Groundhog Day a further 6 times until Thursday this week ; when a savvy customer service rep says “I can see you’ve rang at least 3 times this week , so I’ll get a senior officer to call you back” HURRAY   because by now the month I have to appeal is almost up!

I received my call back yesterday and after telling her my full name, date of birth and post code she says ‘I’m a bit confused because I’ve been told you want a form (and I can’t remember the number she used) and thats one we use to ask for further information?’ I explain I actually want a copy of my WCA report and she tells me she can she I requested it on July 30th but she has no way of telling if it’s been sent; she promises to copy and post it to me immediately and out a note on my file stating the problems why my appeal might be late.

I asked what was going on with the security problems and she “the customer service team only have the information from your initial claim so if you’ve moved, changed your phone number(s) for example, you’ll fail the security” I also asked about the introduction of the 8 digit password and PIN and why when you’ve set this up it is not being recognised on subsequent phone calls, she was unaware of the reasons for this.

Surely no one could make this up! What is the point in the DWP introducing these elaborate ‘security’ systems that then don’t work and has anyone else had similar problems?

If I was of the ‘paranoid’ type I’d think the DWP were trying to stop us calling and thereby losing out on yet more of our rights!!!




MY reply to the responding letter of Ed Miliband,

Dear Ed Miliband MP

As a disabled woman who dared to consider you might understand the basic ethos of the Labour Party, I am totally appalled by your ‘response’ to the recent letter from Ms Sonia Poulton et al.

You state the Labour Party believes “Disabled people need support and compassion” and “in a welfare state that fulfils this principle”; and yet you follow this up with, what I believe to be a ridiculous comment; the need to separate out “ill health and disability from the decision not to work, which is taken by a distinct minority”.

The real problem is, this weeding out of, to use your own words of a “distant minority” then becomes your primary focus; it is the very fact that identifying this small number of people abusing the system, has become the principle goal, at the expense of all genuinely ill and disabled people.

How does sit with the Labour Party’s belief in disabled people receiving support and compassion  from a fit for purpose Welfare State?

You claim that you share ‘some’ of our concerns regarding the Work Capability Assessments (WCA), and acknowledge the high number of appeals and the expert views of Professor Harrington show the test needs improving, I agree you’re right to conclude this but, our concerns are only in part about the WCA.

We are also very concerned by disabled people being abused on a regular basis by the media, the use of skewed statistics to justify the ‘scrounging’ rhetoric that all disabled people are now labelled with; the rising rates of Hate Crime against us; and more importantly, the growing number of disabled people dying in fear and poverty.

Ms Poulton’s letter referred to all our fears, it was a letter Sonia scribed but we, as a disabled community by adding our names to it endorsed. Thereby, it became a letter from  all of us asking that you as the leader of the Labour Party, take note of the bigger picture, and meet with our nominated representative to discuss the range of problems experienced by disabled people as a result of your endorsement of what you agree with, is a flawed system.

Yours without much hope of a response

Jayne Linney

Take the Drugs that make you ill or go without!


I know this is not the topic I usually rant about but my wonderfully strong, totally independent & resilient mum, who’s 82 next Saturday was early this year finally diagnosed with Osteoporosis (brittle bones).

She was given a very strong drug to take once a week which completely laid her off her feet and left her unable to do anything for 4/5 days –  most of the week; something not only unworkable in practice, but that she as many others of her age, found absolutely loathsome.

I persuaded her to return to her GP and request a different treatment, this resulted in another drug that, although making her ill for 2 days a week, allowed her to function and continue to manage her life; a price she was more than happy to pay.

3 month ago this second drug became ‘difficult’ to obtain, and we were chasing pharmacists all over Leicester to find one which carried it; with most of them offering her the original drug as a suitable substitute!

Finally last week my mum was forced to go back to her GP who gave her the real reason – the second drug was “simply too expensive” and she was told to either take the drug that made her so ill or “go without”. So mum is too ill lo do anything or risks fractures!!

A letter to the GP is being negotiated as I write (me wanting to give it straight, mum needing to be more diplomatic because ‘it’s about my Dr’)

I saw the link below and wondered if my mums situation is an example of budget being more important than LIFE