Sat here having my late morning Coffee and planning out the rest of my Sunday. As I slowly sip and slurp my way to an empty cup I thought it might be a neat idea to share my ATOS/DWP appeal. I know there is a few people out there who are yet to face the Tribunal itself and for some of these guys waiting… Imagine for some of them its been nearly a year with next to no income and some of these people are really quite ill and disabled.
If you search your daily news sites with the word ATOS you are bound to bring up either someone very unwell who lost or someone very unwell who managed to win after more than a year of fighting or a general news story on the whole ATOS thing in general. BBC did a Horizons documentary with The Guardian going undercover in the DWP/ATOS machine. I recommend you find and watch this documentary if you really want to see what is happening. Its a bit of an eyeopener.
The process went a little something like this (for myself) Starting from last year.
- About mid August got my initial “Health Questionnaire” Â from DWP/ATOS
- End of August called in for ATOS Medical. This was with a health care worker may I add. NOT a Doctor.
- Mid September got a phone call from DWP telling me I had lost. But they say and if I recall correctly “Your about to start a new adventure…”
- By end of September I had declared my right to appeal via writing.
- Throughout the next year I had to continue to supply a medical sick note off my own GP roughly every 4 to 6 weeks.
- I contacted CAB who put me into contact with SARC who would help represent me at the tribunal.
- Year slowly ticked from 2012 to 2013 and for the best part of six months I heard nothing. Aside continued requests for sick notes.
- Got my Tribunal date for September so approached SARC (they said to let them know when I got that date.)
- Ready to meet SARC late-mid August. When my right eye decided its time for my Retina to fall off.
- Had two operations in August; this meant SARC needed to be cancelled; they told me to contact them again as soon as I am able.
- As soon as I was able I re-contact SARC. We are now inÂ September; they telling me its now too late for them to arrange my rep. They did however go through the whole thing with me as best they can.
- September 21st was my Tribunal
- Once there you face off against one judge and one doctor.
- You will have your court notes sent out to you from the DWP best to go through these when you can before the Tribunal.
- Google searching for advice and people telling me things like “Don’t go dressed smart or clean shaven; it goes against you.” My sister was telling me one story she read on Facebook that a woman had hers stopped…Because she bothered to do herself up look smart and the big thing was “she painted her nails”. There’s a large amount of WTF attached to that.
- They started asking me how did I get here? I live less than five minutes away from the courts. I walked. That went against me from the start.
- They’ll ask you how you get around; so I told them. If I “need” to get somewhere then I have to get there no one else is doing it for me.
- Fact I live alone at the moment doesn’t phase them. At no point do they seem willing to accept that if I didn’t do what I needed to do then nobody else will kinda thing.
- They don’t care about anything after initial date you declared to appeal. So things like the Retina weren’t even a consideration.
- I get told I have to wait for them to decide and I’ll hear via post. Most people will tell you “That’s a no; they simply do not have the balls to tell you face to face.”
- It took three further days waiting to get that letter.Â Its A4 size but only half filled, basically saying “No.”
That is kinda my Journey in a nutshell. This led to JSA and now thankfully Enterprise First and a very new journey on Self Employment. Maybe was all the best at the end of the day for me admittedly however there are those out there who don’t have the options I had. There are ill people waiting to be told no and get on with it.
History will judge a society on how it treats its Children, its elderly and its sick. Cant wait to see how history judges ATOS and the Department of Work and Pensions.