Atos/DWP Update

So two weeks after my medical to determine how ill I really am I have finally received a letter from the DWP regarding the medical.

Read here for more about my dealing with Atos, despite all the negative publicity about them I can only speak based on my experience with them and my advice to anyone due to have a medical would be to ignore everything you read because it will only make you ill from stress! Go into the medical with an open mind and be 100% honest about how you feel and how your illness affects your daily life.  Don’t assume anything will count for or against you just reveal everything!

It is also vital that your GP is kept fully up to date of any conditions you have that you may not have mentioned to them. For example it was 4 months after my depression diagnosis that I finally revealed the extent of my IBS condition and this was vital to my medical.

The good news is that I passed my medical which means that I am officially recognised as being too ill to be forced to work. The relief of this is immense because the stress of appealing, living on 0 benefits etc was making me sick with anxiety.

The lady who did my medical was true to her word and for that I am grateful because until you get it in writing and confirmed your mind plays tricks on you! She actually told me on the day “You have passed your medical based on your conditions and I will recommend they give you the time to deal with your mental health problems”

It also provides me with vindication that I am ill and a long way from recovery and this does inspire me to one day rejoin the rat race once I am better.

Strange as it seems to have passed a medical to make you unfit for work it really does make a difference to know that others can see that you are not faking anything, that its not in your head.

For now it gives me some breathing space to work through my issues without the stress of being forced to look for work, and worrying about keeping a roof over my head.

They even told me I am entitled to a Christmas bonus payment of £10 woot woot.

So for all the negative posts out there about Atos I hope the fact that my experience was a positive one will at least cause some hope to others. Remember sometimes it is easier to write about the bad things and forget to praise the good and I found the whole Atos experience pleasantly surprising! That is not to say any future dealings will be the same but for now I have nothing bad to say about them.

My Dealing With Atos

Type Atos into Google and sit back and read horror story after horror story about Atos and how bad the medical had gone, how unprofessional the health care professional (HCP) was etc etc and by the time your medical comes around you are a bag of nerves!

A bit like me this morning 😀

And so I made my way to my medical with the unfortunate weegee being unwell and thus unable to attend.*

Luckily by the time I got her message I was too far down the road to justify turning back and not going!

An hour and 20 mins after leaving home I walked out of Archway underground station and made my way to the medical centre for my assessment. Ten minutes later I realised I had gone the wrong way and headed back from where I had come from, but that is besides the point 😀 although it did little to ease my nerves.

I arrived 30 minutes before my appointment time and sat in the office waiting for my appointment. Filled out the forms they gave me and had a much needed toilet visit!

The receptionist even gave me a form to fill in to claim money back for travel expenses which I did not know I could do!

My appointment was for 2.10pm but at 2pm my name was called, first time I have ever been seen early by anything connected to the DWP! Always gets a bonus point from me!

The lady (I can’t remember her name though) introduced herself and told me to relax and not be nervous, she could tell I was anxious and really tried to help me settle.

I was surprised at how much she knew about my illnesses and she had obviously read my notes prior to seeing me.

Her questions were not designed to trick me into anything other than telling the truth, I did not once feel like she was trying to interrogate me or cause me to make a mistake that could be held against me.

All the questions were based on my mental health illnesses and not my physical abilities. I was not examined physically at all.

At one point when I got upset she even calmed me down and gave me time to compose myself, didn’t rush me at all.

After I explained all about my IBS, my depression, possible new diagnosis of Bipolar and how it affects my life and daily routines it was all over. No pain, no suffering just relief that I had been treated like a human being and not like a number.

The lady treated me with respect, compassion and dignity and was nothing like I had read on other sites.

Now I understand that lots and lots of people are having problems with Atos but I can only write about my own experience and can honestly say it was very positive!

Did I get lucky with my HCP? possibly I did but then could it also be the case that it is easier to write a negative story about Atos rather than stick your neck on the line and write something positive?

All I need now is a letter from DWP stating that I passed my medical and all is good in Mooseland until the next medical comes around.**

Atos for me did good today! I hope that many others get as lucky as I did so that there is something positive found on Google about them!

* seriously weegee dont feel bad!

** is it kinda strange that I celebrate my illnesses being so bad that passing a medical that makes me unfit for work is an achievement?

Atos Vs The Moose

Tomorrow is the big day when I have to attend my medical to force me off sickness benefits and back into work. Well I say work its more a case of forcing me to sign on and receive rejection after rejection while the people at the job centre look down their noses at me and make me feel like shit for not finding work.

Even though it is THEIR job to help me back into work most of them couldn’t care less about the person in front of them as they are too busy shouting across the room to a colleague!

Back to tomorrow though and I am stressed, nervous, anxious and determined all rolled into a potent cocktail of emotions. I am determined because I want to make the most of the assessment to help other people like you who have not gone through the process yet know what to expect from them.

We already know the result the government has predetermined that I am going to fail the medical because they take no consideration of mental health issues into account. As far as they are concerned I am fit for work because I can breath and lift my arms.

Problem for them is I will appeal and appeal until eventually they revise it just to get me off their backs! I will exhaust all avenues because that means I can help other people when they have to go through the same process that I am about to.

Sharing advice and information about how these people operate will only help others. I am expecting a few fun and games tomorrow based on what information is available on Google but that will only count against them when it comes to the fun of my appeal. One thing I am good at is writing letters of complaint and appeals, besides I know my little blogging buddy is ready to kick some ass too 😀

Hopefully I can get a decent nights sleep so wake up feeling refreshed, although that would probably count against me LOL so maybe I should stay up all night and walk in like a zombie 😀

Either way it is going to be an interesting experience and one that I intend to use to help other people, yeah I know I am a noble moose 🙂

 

The Call I was Dreading has Arrived

The week from hell has now been made complete. The call I was dreading finally came today.

“This is ATOS we are calling to arrange your medical”

Just that one opening sentence and my stomach was in pieces, my good feelings evaporating before my eyes. I am about to be screwed in 3 weeks.

Three weeks! I have to wait until the 14th September before my appointment, this means I am going to be an absolute wreck between now and then.

For those outside of the UK here is how Atos work.

If you are on sickness benefits you have to attend a medical to continue claiming your benefits. Atos find ANY reason to decide you are fit for work and not entitled to benefits. They take no account of your mental state of mind, have no system in place for those of us with Mental Health Illnesses. All they care about is your physical being. People who have disabilities are being forced to find work because Atos decide that if you can use a finger to type on a keyboard you are fit enough to work.

There has been so much negative press about the medical system, Doctors are against it, the press are against it, unfortunately the Labour government introduced it when they were in power and its here to stay. Of course now Labour are out of office they are now against it – they think were are stupid that we don’t remember who introduced it in the first place. Still its much easier to blame the current government isn’t it!

I am sure people have had good experiences with their medicals and had no problems, BUT do a search on google for ATOS and you will find 100s of examples of people who have been screwed. I personally do not know anyone who has anything positive to say about Atos and the medical assessment!

Meanwhile you lose benefits, which means having no income at all, your housing benefit will be stopped which means I will fall behind on my rent and eventually start getting eviction notices. I can of course appeal if I am told that my benefits will be stopped but that will just add more stress and drama to my life. More than I can handle believe me.

Who has experience of Atos and is willing to come with me on 14th September?