Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Bullying Tactics of DWP and ATOS

I'm not the most prolific of writers, as this Blog is a testament to.  I write about things that are absolutely personal to me, and I wish I had the strength to write a lot more than I currently do.

Today though, I write about the most important person in my life - my wife - and the anger I have at the way the Department for Work and Pensions and ATOS Healthcare are treating her.

I've detailed in my previous posts the struggles that I have physically and mentally on a daily basis.  As I'm sure you can imagine, it can be extremely difficult for me to deal with, and without my wife it would be countless times more difficult.

Sadly, my wife has her own health problems to deal with also and has been on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) since August 2010.  She  is currently diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Chronic Abdominal and Back pain.  She suffers from fatigue constantly and is being tested for M.E.  She is constantly in pain and, on her very worst days, struggles to move from one room to another.

In the little over two years since she was placed on ESA she has had to fill in an ESA50 - the questionnaire sent out by ATOS Healthcare prior to a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) being done.  This is the timeline since she has been on ESA:

  • Aug 2010 - Placed on ESA
  • September 2010 - Completed and Returned ESA50 Form.
  • October 2010 - Medical Assessment with ATOS
  • November 2010 - Claim denied and ESA stopped.  Appeal immediately submitted and ESA restored at "appeal level".
  • February 2011 - Appeal accepted and claim reinstated.
  • September 2011 - 2nd ESA50 Form received and completed.
  • October 2011 - 2nd Medical Assessment with ATOS.
  • November 2011 - Claim once again denied and ESA stopped.  Appeal immediately submitted.
  • February 2012 - Appeal successful and claim reinstated.
  • June 2012 - 3rd ESA50 Form received and completed.
  • July 2012 - 3rd Medical Assessment with ATOS.
  • November 2012 - 4th ESA50 Form received.

So, in just over 2 years, my wife has had to endure three medicals and three appeals process, dealing with the stress and uncertainty for months at a time.  To make matters worse, she's been awaiting a decision on her latest since July only to receive a new questionnaire this morning!  It's making her more and more ill - she's been in tears all day since the post came and is struggling to cope with this all.

This isn't the first time I've heard of situations like this arising - sadly they're happening more and more in this current climate - but I genuinely fail to see how making ill and disabled people worse by causing distress and worry can ever improve the situation.

I will not stand (or sit, as tends to be with me!) idly by and watch my wife be persecuted by a government body just because they want to pigeon hole every claimant as fit for work.  No ill person wants to be out of work - do our leaders really think it is fun living on the meager amounts we get on benefits?

Oh wait, I forgot - they think we're all scroungers, don't they?

I find it ironic that during Anti-Bullying Month, the Department for Work and Pensions are conducting their own bullying right under everyones' noses.  I write this Blog not only as an outlet for my anger but to continue to raise awareness and as a public record.  I have written to my local MP and await his response.

I will keep you all informed.


I contacted my local MP yesterday, Mr Andrew Stephenson, with regards to the above.  He replied very quickly, stating that "it certainly does sound excessive" and that he "will take up her case with the Secretary of State.

I look forward to hearing from him in the near future, and in the meantime will be submitting my own complaint to the DWP and ATOS.


  1. If your complaint is upheld then ask if they offer "Financial Redress for Maladministration" - even with this they will try to fob you off with a token sum and whatever you end up with will never be worth the stress you've been through. However the more the department has to pay out for their 'mistakes' the more inclined they will be to reduce how often it happens. (I've done this for Income Support, not 100% sure its exists for ESA)

  2. I feel for you on this one Wayne, because my girlfriend who has BPD has had to claim ESA, taken the medical, been denied claim and had to appeal, more than once. I'm now in a position where I am dealing with physical systems of anxiety - or stress, I don't know which, I just got referred to a mental health team - and I am not in the least bit enjoying the thought of the possibility that I too may also have to claim ESA, and go through a slapshod assessment, just to be denied a claim - which would put me right up shit creek without a paddle, because I rent privately - and I had to lie to get my place because so many landlords/landladies/estate agents are just flatly refusing to take anyone on who is claiming housing benefit. I am at my own wit's end on this one, and I do not cherish the thought of losing a claim only to find I am unable to find the money to make up the difference in the housing benefit cuts to be able to pay the rent in full, and then lose the roof over my head.

    I hate the DWP, I more than despise ATOS, I want to do unspeakable evils to the leaders of the country who have put our lives in such a state that we can't live to an acceptable standard. It's horrific, and I'm surprised not more is being done to combat this. We can only moan and complain and sign protests, etc etc...but then protests are something the government can be good at ignoring if it suits them.

    I hope that should we all continue to bitch, moan and complain about how crap the system is now more than it ever has been in my lifetime, that maybe good things will happen. Who knows.

  3. Yeah. We are all scroungers who like to sit back after milking the system and every tax payer and shove two fingers up at them.

    When we go to the bank to collect our benefits, does anyone else take a wheelbarrow? I've found i can just about manage to get that HUGE amount of money from the bank to my home address.

    Look after your own peeps, coz the reality is nobody in government gives a stuff about the people they are supposed to be representing.

    ATOS don't give a Atoss!

  4. My girlfriend has just been told she has bpd after 13 years of trying to get help she herself has a tribunal to go to as they want to stop her esa well the goverment don't want to pay any one who claims benefit any more that's why all the tribunals and sanctioned benifits there are trying to show us all like them on benefit street which is wrong if anyone else has any info on to help my girlfriend get through this ordeal quicker would be greatful at the moment welfare rights is the best option that I no of that could help any one going through same thing good luck all and atos well would not like to say out bad but home u docs giving the assesment can sleep at night

  5. The DWP have used trickery and deception in my claim for esa/ jsa. We have been on the treadmill of wca. I have Mental illness, largely due to being bullied out of my last employment in May 2013. My wca did not take into consideration my Mental state of health and I have now been assigned wrongly to jsa to continue to receive benefit.. When I visited the Job Centre I was told to attend with my partner who is part of my household obviously, to sign an exemption certificate. We were Duped or Scammed into signing a Joint Declaration. On my next visit , on my own they asked where my partner was, and stated Didn't You Receive The Letter, I asked what Letter, it was an obvious SET UP, and as a result they Sanctioned our only income for 4 weeks, it has now presented us with a feast of problems as she has long term health problems, is in the middle of PIP assessment, but has to visit the job centre to sign, but is not fit for work which they wont ACCEPT. Heart Wrenching to say the least. This has also angered me immensely as I have paid in to the system for over 40 yrs. I Hate them for all the suffering and anguish this is causing.