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!!!

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “ATOS Saga Update – After the WCA

  1. You answered your own point in your final paragraph. It is surprising how many people, especially older ones, will simply give up if they have trouble getting through the first time. Psychological warfare on top of everything else now! I see the Hand Of Grayskull, the DWP’s resident communications expert, behind this. There’s only one way it can be beaten and that’s to KEEP TRYING.

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  2. Strangely enough they rang me a couple of days ago to find out why I had not attended a recent WCA.
    How sad for them that I had a recorded delivery receipt and tracking confirmation of delivery of letters to them and that “french lot” informing them of the fact I would not be attending as the matter of recording had not been resolved and my MP was now investigating this, and erm hows about letting her finish first !
    It is becoming a 200 metres hurdle race instead of a one hundred metres one, but if you can keep on fighting !
    Just a couple of tips

    All mail by recorded delivery, and print out the tracking confirmation of delivery.
    Use the “they work for us” system” ( google it please ) to get your MP involved, this puts a rocket up both ATOS and the DWPS backside, I should know I used to work with them lol !

    If you can go through the 4000 metres insist on a recording, Jaynes medical, or at least the way she describes it was nothing like my original one, or any Ihave heard of, that is unrecorded ones, not that being recorded would make any difference to an honest caring company like **** would it ???? of course not !

    Oli

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    • Don’t bother trying to phone the DWP you are just giving in to their intentions of getting you to jump through hoops, running up your phone bill and generally making things as unpleasant as possible in the hope you just give up in your desperation. Just put any such requests, complaints etc in a recorded delivery letter copied to your MP. You will then have irrefutable proof that they have received it. Something as simple as requesting a copy of the report, which is your personal data you are fully entitled to, certainly does not warrant you spending half the day on the phone begging for their cooperation. If your MP isn’t up to scratch be firm and insistent with them, although never rude, they are your parliamentary representative and they will certainly not want you publicising to other constituents that they have just ignored you.

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  3. 2011 July: I attended my ATOS WCA… the decision, has 7 out of 8 is, predetermined. I was greeted by a very stone-faced droid. I was not feeling or looking my best – what person does when attending such ‘comedy festivals’?

    There was no eye contact has she grunt and pointed at a chair… I look at her and then at the chair, and then back at her…. “Pardon” I said… With an idle gesture of her arm, and a flick of her finger and a barely audible grunt she said… “Chair…”

    I thought – this is a good start! Once again I look at her, then the chair then back at her…. “How many points for perception?, I said. I made my way to the chair and sat down. Not a titter…not even a smirk… and still no eye-contact.

    I knew the result of the WCA before it began so I decided I would take this opportunity to confront banality head on! She side sideways on, buried in her computer… Then, suddenly without warning…. She spoke.

    I mockingly turned around… and did my best ‘De Niro’ impression: “You…talking to me? (Then, a little louder) …ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? (Ooooops that was louder than I expected… but it seemed to get her attention and for a fleeting moment I actually had eye contact.)

    Rapidly she jerked her head to the right, back to the screen. “Can you lift a Bottle of milk” she spat… I paused, I wanted to saviour this moment of first contact. “I don’t have a bottle of milk” I replied. Between you and me I think she got a little grumpy from this moment on.

    She played the minute waltz on her keyboard. Then, she made a dramatic pause… and under her breathe, but loud enough for me to hear she said… “At least I get paid for this…” Thank you I thought… and then said “Thank you”. She looked puzzled she knew what power she had in her keyboard – why was I being so calm? I could read this in her face has a smug kind of arrogance floated over her face.

    It was, I guess, one of those moments the she knew that I knew that she knew she had the power… YET, I was not showing signs of fear! And, at that moment, I struck…

    “I would NOT want to be You… Inflicting targets on people…” she motioned to speak. I held the palm of my hand up and said… “No… no you do not… for a few moments you are going to Listen… and I hope for you own sake it sinks in” If looks could kill then this recollection would have had to have be written by my ghost-writer!

    I went on to say… “There will be no Nuremberg defence for all those who will simply say…. ‘I was only doing my Job’ – this will not do, you are a human being and you know precisely what you are doing!”

    At this point she was really struggling not to tell me where to go and what to do… her face was has black as thunder, I knew I was pushing her to the edge and one or two paces further…” I reiterated that many thousands of thousands of people had been victim to these proceedings. The misery and heartache has been and remains intolerable to a just society. Her role, her part her acceptance of money to put people through this process was not what her training and upbringing was for… it is a waste of talent and she must know that!

    Her face was a picture… “I don’t have to listen to this she said banging down her clipboard and once again dancing her fingers explosively all over her keyboard.

    I could tell, by now, that she did not like me. Oh well, such is life. I figure if someone I respect doesn’t like me that matters, but someone who has no time to listen is not worthy of any upset!

    She then endeavoured to reinforce her failing authority… this was soon swept from beneath her when she told me that there was no record of any Cardio problems or heart-related issues on my records. I simply reinforced that such incompetence did little for my zero level of confidence in ATOS, or any jumped up pen-pushing individual who failed to prepare for the job in hand by ensuring that all the correct information is on hand. I forgot to mention that I was taking notes all the way through this pitiful WCA. And, frankly my WCA of her performance was looking particularly grim, and definitely on the far south of being satisfactory.

    Once again she motion, has if to regain authority, “Can you pick up and move an empty cardboard box?” … she barked. “Why?” came my instant reply.

    I then explained to her the root and branch of my condition, the prolonged version of the pain, difficulties and the various genuine medical professionals who have and are supporting me through this painful process of decline – However, I injected has much humour as was possible!

    I once again reinforced the extremely sorrowful position of those who have conformed to the ATOS shilling, or was it thirty pieces of silver. Reinforcing the lack of dignity such a position adds to anyone with genuine medical qualifications. It was and is an obscene waste of talent and in many cases it actually flies in the face of the duty and promise to serve and aid the sick.

    Once again, she grunted an instruction… can you pick up a pound coin… “Faster than a monkey out of a box…if my young nephew or niece are with me… other wise it is very unlikely that I would even see it!”

    There was little progress made from that point forward – I could tell she was bursting to tell me that I had failed my WCA, and I would be classified “Fit for Work”. I could not resist her smugness… “I can see from your face you are enjoying your position of power…and you will obtain great pleasure from ticking the targets set you by the DWP and ATOS… all I will say is… that it does not surprise me and that the decision was already predetermined. Her little act of spite and power was only revealing her unhappiness at the position she now finds herself. We all rise to our level of incompetence – I congratulate you for finding your position in life. A Jobsworth – a person who appears to have set herself incredibly low standards and has failed to live up to them. I would not want to be YOU!

    And, that was the conclusion of my WCA.

    Needless to say, despite all the medical evidence to the contrary I was declared “Fit for Work” – No surprise. I appealed in July 2011… and was finally placed in the support group of ESA in March 2012.
    Just because I have several key issues with my health, does not mean I am any less a PERSON, a Person who believes and Fights for Dignity and Justice. Along with so may others who this society would classify has ‘Surplus to Requirement’. Disabled, vulnerable, fragile and poor we may be, at times, but we are still People, and we still have our DIGNITY, and sense of being a PERSON.

    Adrian.

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    • Very similar to mine Adrian, so similar I am guessing it was the same female “doctor”
      That is why Iam insisting on a recording, and according to the honorable Chris Graylin MP , IF YOU REQUEST ONE PRIOR TO THE “MEDICAL” YOU SHOULD GET ONE !!!!
      his words not mine.
      I won my appeal too, very easily, and if you note the reaction of Jaynes HCP / examiner, they know they can’t get away with their usual ****
      So GO FOR IT FOLKS !! get your request for a recording in, if you can wait it is well worth it, of course ATOS will ignore you, then tell you they havent got enough recording machines etc etc, then go to the MP !

      dO NOT TRY atos COMPLAINTS, GO STRAIGHT FOR THE jUGULAR !!

      THAT IS
      1. MP
      2. Professor Harrington
      3. The right honorable Chgris Grayling , whose clear intent that we should have a recording is being sabotaged.

      Again you have to be prepared for a 4000 metres hurdle race, a friend really helps in tis process.

      Oli

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  4. I have had several occasions when i have had to ring DWP for a problem with ESA. The problem is that ESA do not want to allow direct contact so one has to go through the DWP call centrem which is manned by disenfranchised civil servants who have been put there by a government that has reduced their jobs. They I believe do their best in a bad situation and I cannot even get narked at them now as they have been rejected the same as we have. What I don’t like with the security is that you have to press all the buttons and then they ask you security questions as well all this on an 0845 number that costs me money. If they had a proper number I would get it free.

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    • You are right sean, now its a longer hurdle race and you have to pay for the privlege of getting over at least one of the hurdles ! Whats next ? paying ATOS a fee for the medical if you dont “pass” it ?
      Heck I hope theyre not spying on this, one of them will probably say ” hey thats a great idea, if they fail they were only scroungers anyway”

      Oli

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