David Vs (a rather dense) Goliath

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”  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 in 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. 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.

When things go broke and you haven’t even started.

If anyone tried to access this blog today. They wouldn’t have got very far. I just had to verify who I was to my webhost and explain what it is I am doing. While waiting for that to happen they switched everything of mine off.

Managed to sort that however. Wouldn’t be reading this I guess if I haven’t…

Today I set out to do some research in the wonders in public liability insurance.  What I thought was a minefield was really quite painless. I started using those compare websites just to get the general feel and now plan to check those companies who aren’t on those price compare sites and see how they stack up.

Worst case situation is i’m looking at about £13 a month which is a lot better than I first thought.

Also been setting out my office space today.

Home Office
Home Office

I have the coolest office ever as I have this behind me.

Handy for stress
Handy for stress

Anyways…

Getting things into motion and pretty much starting as I mean to go on. Tomorrow is discovering who the competition around here is. May make some phone calls…

 

And Lo. It begins.

I am about to begin the rocky road to self employment. This is my blog of how well I do or don’t do. I do however have some help and on a scheme to assist startups like mine. Here I can share my experiences with these schemes and who knows might even help someone else.

I am currently with Enterprise First and will be on NEA. http://www.enterprisefirst.co.uk/more_info.asp?current_id=172

I will be PC Repairs, networks, builds you know all that kinda thing but also Data recovery and move into Data Management storage and archive but later on down the road. And some hosting; will more than likely do the whole website thing but best keep that to one at a time I feel.

How did I get here? Well to sum up as best I can.

I was on benefit for a good few years. I had an accident that damaged the lower part of my spine they told me in very basic terms; the damage has healed but it has healed wrong. Like the nerves etc have rewired themselves incorrectly.

This led to my redundancy and benefit spiral. I tried to break my own chain roughly a year ago when I first set up DataSafeUK. I did this under no guidance and summer this year I had to undergo a fairly major op on my right eye as my retina had completely fallen away. DataSafeUK stalled before it even began so I pulled the plug the concept.

I also became very negative towards IT in general and even publicly announced I was quitting; stepping away from the IT world for good.

Oh boy; egg on my face or what!

During this time I was in appeal against DWP and ATOS. I’m very sure anyone in the UK knows what I’m talking about; for any overseas reader allow me to grab you a link to explain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25354881

Long story short: I lost.

This led me to be a JSA claimant which I really didn’t want to be. Quickly assessing my options my biggest strength is my computing skills. Okay maybe not so much a hobby now but certainly its my trade. I asked about self employment and they put me on to Enterprise First. I’ve had three meetings with these guys and now shits just kinda got real.

As of day before yesterday; I have eight weeks to research and build a business plan that is viable to be accepted on to the NEA scheme.

Rest of this week I have spent planning the next seven and thought it might be a grand idea to blog my progress.

I’ve yet to think up the replacement name; hence why there is no domain name yet; but its a work in progress… I have seven and a bit weeks…No pressure or anything…

Anyhoo I have rambled on enough here’s to the journey 🙂

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