My speech on ATOS Work Capability Assessments

I beg to move that this House has considered the matter of Atos work capability assessments.

I warmly thank the Backbench Business Committee for enabling me and cross-party colleagues to introduce this debate on Atos work capability assessments. There is enormous concern about the issue both in the country and in this House, as witnessed by the fact that more than 30 Members wish to speak on a Thursday. To try to ensure that they can all do so, I propose to speak for no more than 10 to 15 minutes. I hope that colleagues will accept that, for reasons of pressure on time, I do not propose to take interventions.

As knowledge of the debate has spread, I have been sent nearly 300 case histories, many of which make heart-rending reading. I cannot begin to do justice to their feelings of distress, indignation, fear, helplessness and, indeed, widespread anger at the way they have been treated. Nor can I easily contain my own feelings at the slowness, rigidity and insensitivity with which Atos and the Department for Work and Pensions have responded—or very often not responded—to the cries of pain that they have heard repeatedly. I have time to cite briefly only three examples which show how extreme is the dysfunction and malfunctioning of the Atos assessments.

The first example concerns a constituent of mine who was epileptic almost from birth and was subject to grand mal seizures. At the age of 24, he was called in by Atos, classified as fit for work and had his benefit cut by £70 a week. He appealed, but became agitated and depressed and lost weight, fearing that he could not pay his rent or buy food. Three months later, he had a major seizure that killed him. A month after he died, the DWP rang his parents to say that it had made a mistake and his benefit was being restored.

The second example, also from the Oldham area, concerns a middle-aged woman who was registered blind and in an advanced stage of retinitis pigmentosa. She was assessed at 9 points—well short of the 15 that are needed—and her incapacity benefit was withdrawn. On review by a tribunal, the Atos rating of 9 points was increased to 24.

The third case—I could have chosen from hundreds of others—also comes from the north-west and concerns an insulin-dependent diabetic with squamous cell cancer, Hughes syndrome, which involves a failed immune system, peripheral neuropathy, which meant that he had no feeling in his feet or legs, heart disease, depression and anxiety. Despite his life-threatening condition, he was placed in the work-related activity group.

Those and myriad other examples illustrate incontrovertibly that Atos’s current work capability assessment system is drastically flawed, and for several reasons.

First, Atos is an IT firm and it uses the so-called Logic Integrated Medical Assessment, which is often described as “rigid” and “tick-box” because computer-based systems make it difficult for health professionals to exercise their professional judgment. Because such a mechanistic system has little or no regard for the complexity of the needs of severely disabled or sick persons, the British Medical Association and others have condemned the current WCA as “not fit for purpose”.

Secondly, assessed persons regularly felt that the opinion of their own doctor or of other specialist medical personnel who were treating them was either ignored or overridden. That is all the more serious when Atos’s practices simply do not adhere to the guidance for doctors set down by the General Medical Council.

Thirdly, because of the failure of so many initial assessments, the appeal procedure is grossly overloaded and hugely expensive. No less than 41% of decisions are appealed, of which 38% are won. At £60 million in a single year, the appeals have cost the taxpayer more than half of the £110 million that was spent on the original assessments. Moreover, the National Audit Office has castigated the Department for failing to penalise Atos for what it politely calls its “underperformance” and for not setting “sufficiently challenging” targets.

Fourthly, there are concerns about the responsibility for work capability assessments, in particular that of the Atos chief medical officer. Professor Michael O’Donnell joined Atos from the American company, Unum, formerly UnumProvident, which had a very poor reputation in the US, where it was described as an “outlaw company” by the US authorities, partly because it was regarded as a “disability denial factory”. In that situation, the responsibilities of the Minister and the Secretary of State need to be established clearly.

Against that background, it is frankly not good enough for the Minister to respond to the debate by saying that there have been three Harrington reviews, and that the Department is doing the best it can to improve procedures. The fundamental issue is this: how can pursuing with such insensitive rigour 1.6 million claimants on incapacity benefit, at a rate of 11,000 assessments every week, be justified when it has led, according to the Government’s own figures, to 1,300 persons dying after being put into the work-related activity group, 2,200 people dying before their assessment is complete, and 7,100 people dying after being put into the support group? Is it reasonable to pressurise seriously disabled persons into work so ruthlessly when there are 2.5 million unemployed, and when on average eight persons chase every vacancy, unless they are provided with the active and extensive support they obviously need to get and hold down work, which is certainly not the case currently?

I therefore want to conclude by asking the Minister five specific questions to which I want a specific answer before the end of the debate.

First, it is true that Harrington has produced minor adjustments—implemented at a glacial place—but the underlying system remains largely undisturbed. The BMA and the NAO have therefore called for a thorough, rigorous and transparently independent assessment of the suitability of the work capability assessment. Will the Minister now implement that?

Secondly, will the Minister accept that the current criteria and descriptors do not sufficiently—or even at all—take into account fluctuating conditions, especially episodic mental health problems? How will he rectify that?

Thirdly, will the Minister provide full and transparent details of the Atos contract? They should not be hidden by specious claims of commercial confidentiality when Atos is the sole provider of what is clearly a public service. Better still, given that Atos has failed so dramatically, why does he not in-source the work back into the NHS?

Fourthly, how will the Minister ensure that the medical expertise of disabled persons’ doctors and related professionals is fully taken into account before assessments are completed?

Lastly, I want to provide a full dossier to the Secretary of State so that he fully understands what is being done today in his name, and to bring a small delegation to see him from some of the excellent organisations of disabled people who have heroically battled to highlight and tackle the distress and pain caused by Atos. Can I please be assured that the Secretary of State will see such a delegation?

I repeat that I am sincerely grateful for this debate, for the co-operation of colleagues from all parties, and for the detailed responses I have received from so many hundreds of victims of Atos, but I assure the Minister of this: the debate is important, but it will certainly not be the end of the matter.

37 thoughts on “My speech on ATOS Work Capability Assessments

  1. Join our new forum and join forces. This is not a reform of welfare, it’s an attack upon it. Welfare cuts and Atos are killing vulnerable people.

    The change to monthly payment; the payment of rent direct to claimants; bedroom tax; the benefit cap; the changes to the Community Care Grants, Crisis Loans, Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit; the change from DLA to PIPs and the removal of Legal Aid for challenging decisions, it seems this government are setting people up to fail on purpose.

  2. good speech Michel the death toll is way out of hand with criminal negligence on a vast scale springing to mind

  3. I am chairman of a small national patient support charity for people suffering from a serious chronic auto-immune disease, vasculitis, which can leave people seriously disabled and unable to work. We have received many requests for advice and support from vasculitis sufferers who have suddenly had their ESA or DLA withdrawn then been subjected to a pointless and distressing WCA which invariably suggests they are fit for work. We always advise these people to appeal as experience shows that most are successful. But for people with vasculitis, the appeal process can be incredibly stressful and distressing. Thank you Mr Meacher for bringing this issue to full attention. It is unfortunate that the current weather and other news is pushing this important issue off the front page.

  4. The sad thing is that Mark Hoban dismissed everything as “scaremongering”, including a case mentioned by a member of his own party. I do hope Thursday was not the end of the matter in Parliament.

  5. Atos, should be struck off and evicted from this country, they are simply money grabbing as they get paid by results i.e more told to work = more money ! .
    and the Lies too , I have it all documented ! , and their twisted reply . I am willing to supply to any MP or Media so that we can expose this for what it is .another dig at the ones that cant fight back , it’s time the people of this country fight back , and that means everyone ! .

    I cant even make it to my garden gate , yet I am fit to work !

    0 points like everyone else , out of over 400 cases I am aware of not a single one scored any points at all .. even a 4 year old can do the maths …

    they even refused to accept my Doctors letter in support
    this fiasco needs to be sorted . I also put it fair and square at Mr Camerons door , it’s all about cutting money , not getting you back to work , even if you could ..

  6. Dear Micheal,

    I must congratulate you for your speech on ATOS. I am sure you are a voice for thousands of people.

    You conducted yourself with dignity and strength and an amazing debate which is ongoing.

    You were brave to challenge this matter as I have done myself with ATOS in writing on my mother’s behalf.

    My mother has been claiming ESA for two years now since my father passed away. She has numerous health conditions as well as being fifty five years old yet ATOS are now recalling her for another medical assessment as they are claiming she is fit for work!

    I will remain strong myself and appeal their decision that my mother is fit for work. I asked them why they only concentrate on physical conditions and not mental conditions, To this day I have still not received a reply!

    My fight will go on as I am determined to succeed.

    I sincerely hope you can continue this debate and perhaps even be able to overcome some of the many problems so many people are suffering because of this selfish company!

    All the best to you, Keep up the debate!

    Mel,Bethnal Green,East London.

  7. Thanks for speaking out and please continue to do so and persuade others in Westminster irrespective of political affiliation. This is a national disgrace which should and will shame our country. I don’t know how those who devised and implement this disgusting scheme sleep at night.

  8. Dear Mr. Meacher,
    Thankyou very much for your speech in the House of Commons. My son has been battling mental illness for 6 years and is at present going through the process of changing benefits, via ATOS. We really appreciate what you are doing for us, where we have no voice. I am so pleased. Thankyou.
    Melanie Fox

  9. The Atos doctor who assessed my adult son – brain injured after motor-bike accident, having gone through frontal and occipital lobectomies, suffering from major problems with motivation, planning and ‘executive functioning’, registered partially sighted, reduced to a reading age of 7 – chose to ignore the medical evidence from one of the country’s leading neurologists, plus an MRI brain scan, and stated in the Atos WCA report aid ‘the evidence does not suggest significant functional disability’. We plan to send my son’s story to support Michael Meacher’s campaign – thank you Michael Meacher for taking this issue up.

  10. A copy of my letter to Iain Duncan Smith & David Cameron Yesterday, Holocaust Memorial Day, I watched a TV programme about a Holocaust survivor, Henia Bryer. She told how the Nazis started their occupation of Poland with propaganda against the Jews and the disabled before systematically killing them. Her disabled brother was shot. This morning I have read testimonials from the “victims’ of ATOS.

    Margaret Thatcher started the propaganda here by phrases like ‘keep your money in your pocket’, ‘there is no such thing as society’ and ‘the enemy within’ making it clear it was OK to be greedy and selfish. This government has taken it further with ‘scroungers and benefit cheats’ giving the impression that this applies to most people that are claiming benefits. Were you hardening the public’s hearts so you could cut the benefits of the most vulnerable without an outcry against you? You have certainly hardened some hearts with the increase in hate crimes against the disabled.

    Isn’t there a case for ATOS to be charged with manslaughter for ignoring medical opinion, for treating all claimants for DLA as though they were cheats and causing 10,000 disabled people [government’s own figures] to die or commit suicide.

    Of course it was you who gave ATOS the gun and told them to shoot. You, who set targets far higher then the 1% your own figures said were not entitled to DLA. You, who hired Micheal O’Donnell who came from a firm that was “outlawed’ in the US as a “disability denial factory”. You, who have ignored calls from GPs to scrap these tests. You, who allowed ATOS to use tests medical people say are not fit for purpose.

    Mr. Cameron quoted ‘I do believe you judge a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable’. Who is more vulnerable than our disabled members? Here’s a quote to those who have listened to propaganda and not their conscience “there but for fortune go you and I”

  11. Thank you, Mr Meacher. My experience is a little different and began under the previous Government, sadly. I am now almost 65. I was born with the congenital disability, Spina Bifida but, amongst other things, I worked until at the age of 59, I was strongly advised to retire on medical grounds. The OH Consultant for my employers, the Probatio Service, agreed .However the Consultant for the Pensiion Fund simply lied and said I was using my condition to get out of going to work. A second Consultant defied the express directions of the Pensions Ombudsman and repeated and embellished this demeaning fiction. Sadly, Jack Straw, hero of my student youth, when his brother was president of our union refused to help. It took 3 years and 3 medical examinations to right this wrong. My former line manager was deeply concerned when he learned what had happened and wrote a detailed supporting letter. Had I not the tenacity and determination I do have, I would have given up. My MP,Roberta Blackman Woods was a great support but my story illustrates the contempt in which disabled people are currently held and the lack of understanding of their needs when work is no longer possible. I am more than happy for you to use my story if it helps your cause.

  12. I see amongst the comments that Mark Hoban says this is “scaremongering”. I saw Mr Hoban growing up and he comes from a warm and caring family. He should know better than this. I would be more than happy to discuss my experience with him.

  13. I have yet to undergo the ordeals that many other disabled people have had to endure; my own concern is because I am nearing retirement age,and now have to go through the whole pointless process:
    My last employer (the National Health Service) did all they could to try and accommodate my various health issues so that I could continue to work for them. However, in 2000, their Occupational Health Dept. decided I was unable to work anymore, and I was medically retired. Consequently, I have been receiving Incapacity Benefit. Over the last 13 years, my condition has slowly deteriorated, so was alarmed to receive a letter in December 2012 from the DWP/ATOS, asking me to fill in Form ESA50, so that my case could be looked at with a view to ‘helping’ me back into work.
    I have, of course, completed and posted the form. I will be 61 this year, and will reach the official pensionable age when I am 62 years and 6 months.
    By my own calculations, even if I were able to work, by the time I have
    1. Had a medical examination
    2, ATOS have made their decision,
    3. I have appealed against any unfavourable decision,
    4. Awaited the outcome of the appeal.
    5. (If my appeal is not successful) Attend several work-related interviews.
    6. Found a suitable job (here in Grimsby?)
    I would probably only be employed for a year or less before I am due to retire. (Less any sick leave I would have to take, as I am not actually able to work.)
    But as long as I can play my small part in helping to plug the huge hole in the country’s economy, then I feel all this will be worthwhile, and it will be tax payers’ money well-spent.

  14. I have only just read the speach. It was lucid and made many of the points I had long wanted to be made. Are there so few honest MPs? One question I have asked many times is the legal underpinning for the Atos assessment. Does the Statute dictate this specific assessment or has it been devised by the DWP or Atos or others? Also, there seem to be breaches of claimants’ human rights etc here. Also,will IDS make the same statement concerning whistle-blowing in DWP and Atos etc as the Health Secretary has done?
    I would welcome a brief meeting with Mr Meacher to expand on these concerns and other Atos-related concerns before his meeting with IDS. I live in Greater Manchester.
    Thank you again. Don’t let your resolve weaken.

  15. Have contacted my own M.P (Helen Goodman) am on a Hunger Strike got a letter of support from her, not only does ATOS medicals not comply with the 1998 Human rights Acs and Protocols, they also run roughshod over the Brown Principles meant to be adhered to by the D.M(Decision Maker) I am hoping for a lawyer to charge the D.M with manslaughter after I go,based on cause and effect.been told I am a danger to DWP staff, under Health and safety Rules but not dangerous enough to be interviewed apparently also must be O.K for the Health an safety Rules only to apply to the DWP and not other potential Employers? work that one out.

  16. Hello Michael and thank you for standing up and speaking with authority and clarity about this whole travesty …. I want to point you towards this recent article (posted on the 20th of Feb 2013) which was written by the gentleman’s carer – East Grinstead Man 63 Dies of Kidney Failure and Starvation after being cut off benefits and declared “Fit For Work” –

  17. With respect,,, I never thought i would say this about ANY politician,,,,, But,,,
    WELL DONE !!! Mr Meacher.
    Its about time someone stood up to these unbelievable injustices that are taking place in our country.
    The government really needs to stop preaching to other countries,,, open their eyes,, and see what is going on in THIS country.
    Atos and dwp are quite clearly ruining vulnerable peoples lives,with the full backing of People such as IDS and Mr Mark Hoban.
    These people are either very very naive,,, very stupid,,, or simply turning a blind eye to what is ACTUALLY taking place under their noses.
    To hear them talk, anyone would swear blind they have shares in Atos.
    Regarding your speech Mr Meacher , the sad thing about it was,,, there was only a couple of dozen MP`s who thought it important enough to attend.
    I feel there is something very sinister going on here,,, thats my opinion.
    Keep up the good work Mr Meacher,, please dont let this drop,,, it needs someone with your grit and determination to hold these morons fully acountable for their actions.

  18. I applaud you, Mr Meacher, and I do hope that you will continue to push this issue forward. Its an absolute disgrace that so many people have suffered at the hands of ATOS and something MUST be done about it. This is affecting thousands of people, along with their families, not to mention the ridiculous amount being spent on the appeals process itself, which you so succinctly highlighted. I am currently waiting to hear the outcome of my appeal against being placed in the WRAG (although I believe this can take several months) I broke my spine last year and had major surgery, its taken time to get ut of my wheelchair again, but now I need another operation as the steel rods in my back cause me so much pain. I am on prescription painkillers that make me feel sleepy/sick and I also have mental health issues/treated for depression. A doctor from ATOS came out to assess me at home as could not get to the office – he was there about 5 mins. I don’t know the outcome of the assessment, but last month yet another form comes out that I have to fill in with exactly the same information (surely details get recorded on a system somewhere – consultants, medication ect)how inept are these people that they don’t have relevant systems in place recording all of this. Its exhausting, humiliating and depressing going into minute detail about your disabilities over and over again. Perhaps this is part of the culling process to attack the most vulnerable. Please please continue to highlight what is happening, no-one else seems to even care.

  19. Well done Mr Meacher. I am now retired, ATOS cannot touch me. It does not mean i do not care about the sick and disabled people. I have an autoimmune disease, it runs in the family. The main symptom is pain. My heart goes out to younger people who have an accident or develop illnesses when they are young. The fact is, that many people develop conditions as they age. They have paid into a system that they believed would take care of them if the unthinkable should happen.

  20. this is a disgrace .. i have just been told I am not entitled to benefits AT ALL , because i lost my WCA .. I have COPD and asthma , I have pneumonia 3 times in 2 years and i am currently unwell… Despite being given a sick note off the doctor for 3 months , they have struck me off with a month remaining on my sick note.. so here I am sick alone with NO MONEY AND NO BENEFITS .. THANKS

  21. Month and a half no money and after trying to get this resolved-tomorrow I’m off to steal as this system is a fraud leaving no other option.

    Ids and freud need stringing up for genocide

  22. My situation is a simple one, I was housebound and physically ill with all supporting evidence sent to ATOS including 18 years of NHS notes supporting a life long disability.

    I had hospital consultants letters sent in as well explaining my illness and efforts to identify and treat it.

    ATOS sent an appointment and I called and recorded the call, I quite simply stated I was too Ill to attend and they had all the supporting evidence they could possibly need.

    Instantly there was a “I’ll put you down as a refusal” and I said I wasn’t refusing but too Ill to attend and had recorded the call for my own safety.

    The woman went loopy and at that point I lost the plot and called them out for liars.

    Expecting to be stitched by the UNUM based denial factory- I kept the audio recording waited.

    An appointment and cancellation letter arrived and while uneasy- I saved them and waited.

    3 months went by and the first I knew was when landlord angry called about rent not paid.

    I have had 10 hours of Keyworker trying to sort it, supporting doctors letter stating I am unemployable and Ill-DWP still will not budge.

    DWP would not budge and local MP horrified at the situation has had her Office worker contact DWP. DWP are saying they haven’t had contact with me and I didn’t turn up to an appointment -MP has seen cancellation letter etc.

    I’m lucky the landlord hasn’t evicted me and at this point it appears DWP waited 3 months in hope I would not keep evidence.

    DWP will lie and not believe Psychiatric nurse/Keyworker/Doctor/Consultant and DWP will lie to MP

    My advice is record all contact, keep all letters- so you can prove your telling the truth.
    I have tried all the charities and they all refer you to Job centre who couldn’t do anything /Citizens Advice and MP.

    All I wanted was a fair assessment, I’d love not to be full of Codine, lifetime condition and If there was a job/career I’d do it if well enough.

    Thank you Michael for your efforts and doesn’t ATOS/DWP behaviour class as Genocide?

  23. In my turn I’d like to thank Michael Meacher for this speech.
    But whatever has happened to the upright & honest British worker? And I’m not talking about the man in the street, but those in government departments like DWP ect.
    In all my 59 years I have never seen such utter moronic idiocy as this government has shown to be capable of. I really don’t know how they can sleep at night, & just out of sheer spite I hope every one of those employed by the DWP get severely disabled like many of us!! Lets see then how they like it when they in their turn are “interrogated” by ATOS(sers)passed fit to work & their benefits taken away!!!

  24. I applaud anyone who stands up and argues against this total fiasco of ATOS WCAs. Having always been in employment and paying my taxes, I am now claiming contribution based ESA (my first ever claim on the state). Having gone through a series of health issues, redundancy, family issues etc, I was diagnosed with clinical depression which has made me extremely ill. I battled as best I could without asking for help, until so many people told me to make a claim that financial pressure made me give in. I attended a WCA and it was the most horrendous, humiliating, devaluing, degrading medical experience I’ve ever endured. My condition worsened as a result of this and my medication had to be increased. The ‘health assessor’ even threatened to terminate the assessment if I didn’t start to cooperate and ‘get on with it’. At the time, I was shaking, sobbing, hyperventilating, distressed etc and it took my husband to explain to the assessor that these were symptoms of the illness, not me ‘misbehaving’.
    I have now been asked to complete yet another questionnaire despite having being awarded ESA and placed in the Support Group, having ongoing medical advice from my GP, seen a specialist and being on medication.
    How much money and effort is being wasted on this idiotic process? How much evidence does the Government need before they admit that the whole process and ATOS in particular, is flawed, inadequate and damaging? How many more people are going to be driven to being reduced to a number and more seriously, how many people will become suicidal or worse, kill themselves over this cruel and nasty policy? The Government should be ashamed that they are allowing people’s lives to be ruined by this fiasco.

  25. I applaud anyone who stands up and argues against this total fiasco of ATOS WCAs. Having always been in employment and paying my taxes, I am now claiming contribution based ESA (my first ever claim on the state). Having gone through a series of health issues, redundancy, family issues etc, I was diagnosed with clinical depression which has made me extremely ill. I battled as best I could without asking for help, until so many people told me to make a claim that financial pressure made me give in. I attended a WCA and it was the most horrendous, humiliating, devaluing, degrading medical experience I’ve ever endured. My condition worsened as a result of this and my medication had to be increased. The ‘health assessor’ even threatened to terminate the assessment if I didn’t start to cooperate and ‘get on with it’. At the time, I was shaking, sobbing, hyperventilating, distressed etc and it took my husband to explain to the assessor that these were symptoms of the illness, not me ‘misbehaving’.
    I have now been asked to complete yet another questionnaire despite having being awarded ESA and placed in the Support Group, having ongoing medical advice from my GP, seen a specialist and being on medication.
    How much money and effort is being wasted on this idiotic process? How many more people are going to be driven to being reduced to a number and more seriously, how many people will become suicidal or worse, kill themselves over this cruel and nasty policy? The Government should be ashamed that they are allowing people’s lives to be ruined by this fiasco.

  26. Mr Meacher For putting forward the plight of people and inhumanity of it all . I myself have breathing problems plus asthma , euticatia , arthritis shoulder hip and knee I have nebulisers 4 x a day pluss medication is a t limit for my chest all the stress from athos left me a nervous wreck I had been suffering with stress and depression because of my conditions. As they have taken a large impact on my life quality. I have worked prior to being on DLA middle care jig Motability. I am not a scrounger. I take affront to being labelled I’m 54 yrs old . I was on severe disability component with which was my sick benefit this no longer exhists . The stress made me want to take my own life I felt I could not cope with Anymore. Forms ect. I was not well enough when sent to have meeting at job centre the interviewer said. I should appeal I was breathless. And gasping. I am incontinent. I had op hyped sort things out but things are worse i have no sensation of needing the toilet . Yet I was put in work related group ? I cannot walk far ? Athos never contacted my G.P. for details of my health ? My doctor was not happy about this ! After weeks of waiting and stress th then be told I was in wrong group I knew this. Any one who had read my form would of known this ! I went to hell and back unable to sleep eat ect. Nerves on edge . Why ate we keeping this way of assessment it’s i humane . I know had bedroom tax to pay council tax my gas bill was over £300 because no essential tarriff for disabled it was ended ! I have a key metre for electric . After having put extra money towards gas electric Of £30 each out of my benefit I can hardly afford good god forbid if I had to pay for my medication over 1 Cartier bag full every month ! Times are hard . I need to put fuel in car. Or not go out ? So food is not high on agenda not enough money left to live and eat .
    My next fear is that if DLA going to ppi is stopped I will be homeless and hungry.
    So t thank you once again for sorting or trying to get sorted the way is treating disabled people .

  27. Thanks Mr Meacher in speaking up for us. It is really appreciated.

    I went for my WCA with the infamous ATOS in November 2012. On 12/12/12, someone from the DWP rang to say that my benefit was being affected from 18/12/12. Needless to say, the DWP have no record of this phone call. I was told to obtain a sick note from my GP which I did. I was also told to ask my GP for a medical report which I also did. My GP told me that the DWP request any medical reports from him. The DWP have categorically denied ever having done this and telling me I had get the reports.

    At the assessment, I received the grand total of zero points and I have appealed this decision which wasn’t upheld. I have had to get a report from my GP and also a letter stating my mobility problems. These have cost me £25 and that’s after my benefit was cut by £40 per week. My tribunal hearing is on 28/08/13 which I am dreading.

    In February this year, I went to the CAB for help and the man I saw there told me to tell them the truth when I went to the tribunal hearing. I was on the verge of walking out because I have been totally honest both with ATOS and the DWP. I am sick and fed up with being lied to and lied about and being treated like I am the scum of the earth.

    How can the DWP say that a two month sick note which started on 28/04/13 would run out on 04/07/13? They also wanted me to ask my GP to pre-date a sick note just before Easter. They didn’t know that it is illegal for any doctor to pre-date a sick note.

  28. I went for my ESA Tribunal hearing this morning. I did manage to achieve 6 points which is 6 points more than what ATOS awarded me. My benefit now stops today and I have to put in another claim from tomorrow and go through the whole process again. I am close to cracking up completely with this and I am a long way from sorting it out once and for all.

    Why is it that foreign nationals coming into this country and are given every benefit under the sun and people like me and thousands of others have to fight tooth and nail to get what is rightfully ours?

    In a statement issued in the last few days, the DWP have clearly stated that they do not discriminate against people with degenerative conditions. I suffer from arthritis in several joints including hips, knees and ankles. At the grand old age of 55, I won’t get any joint replacements for a good few years yet and in that time, my condition will have worsened considerably.

  29. How much longer can we tolerate being treated like scroungers and worthless pieces of meat, to be used as scape goats for governments mismanagement of the country’s finances. Why is it that they think that it is acceptable for them to use disable people to pay the price for their greed. If they need to reduce cost how can we afford to admit so many emigrants to the UK we cannot feed and cloth our own people. Like several of the cases already mentioned I’m 54 and registered disable with long term health conditions. I have osteoarthritis through all my spine and joints, Tremors which now affect my whole body originally it was just my hands, Angina, I have pain 24/7 even after taking very strong pain killers. Now I have just been diagnosed with amnesia with memory impairment which means I’m now being tested every 6 months as this is a pre curser to early onset Alzheimer’s. My osteo. started over 25 years ago following an accident but I managed to keep working by re-training into new careers. eventually my doctor advised me to give up work but because I’m stubborn and put myself in hospital after collapsing at work I lost my job eventually I tried again against my doctors wish’s once again I landed in hospital. It took me a while to get on my feet I kept trying to do voluntary group including helping others into employment however my health still kept deter rating at one point the pain had me a critical stage and I nearly did not make it.
    I’m now using a Motability scooter to get around
    without it I would be house bound. I have my Grandson in my care because his mum could not care for him as she has learning disabilities.
    I’m constantly struggling to make ends meet now their talking about taking what little I have away they might as well just say your life is worthless so we will terminate your life because to a lot of disable people like myself that’s what this government make us feel like. Now to make matters worse I’ve now been told that I have the early stages of Alzheimer’s at the moment they are calling it amnesia with memory impairment it
    has shown up on the MRI scan to be affecting to temporal lobe which make learning anything new retaining information and organising into day to day more and more difficult and dealing with emotions so depression gets a hold easier. Last year I did 9 training courses I might as well not done them as I can’t remember any of it I still have the certificates but there not worth the paper there written on because I did not retain the information. I very rarely go out without someone being with me as I get scared that I will forget what I’m doing or where I’m going. At the moment it is only affecting my short term memory but they have told me this will change as my condition deter rate in the meantime I try my hardest to be proactive adapting my environment labelling everything getting into routines anything that will help my memory I have volunteered for a new drug trial as well. In the mean time I worry every day that they will take my Grandson away from me which will be detrimental to his future he is at the top of his year when he first came to me they thought he had learning disabilities when all he needed was a loving steady environment and no he has not become my carer we work together as a team allowing us to complete day to day task together. It would of been easy to let him take the care role but I’m proud and stubborn and although it hurts like hell I force myself to do the things I’m not advised to do for my health even though some nights I either don’t sleep or cry myself to sleep with the pain. Why do I worry about my Graandson being put into care? In my teen years I spent time in Grandson of mine is going into care which by the way saves the government a lot of money as I’m informed that it now cost £2,000 per week to keep a child in care
    my foster allowance is £76 I don’t get the same as when you care for a child un related it seems if your family your obliged to care for any child in the family without financial help.. What nonsense I bet Cameron and his elk would not dream
    of doing something like that, Oh! unless it won him votes well now it time for us to vote.


  30. least we have a voice with Michael meacher,im Oldham and ive seen the shambles 1st hand,for the sick and disabled ,copd hear is bad and the care is zero as is the disabled

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