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Old 08-07-2010, 12:33
Hypnodisc
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Thought I'd just share this with you in case anybody else here is coming up to an ESA medical soon,

I had an ESA re-assessment the other day (and naturally was a bit afraid!) but it was absolutely fine and got a letter yesterday saying I was being moved from Work related activity group to Support group as a result of the assessment which was a bit of a big shocker.

It goes to show though that it's not impossible to get into and hopefully this will give someone hope and prove that Atos Origin isn't heartless
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:46
koantemplation
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Thought I'd just share this with you in case anybody else here is coming up to an ESA medical soon,

I had an ESA re-assessment the other day (and naturally was a bit afraid!) but it was absolutely fine and got a letter yesterday saying I was being moved from Work related activity group to Support group as a result of the assessment which was a bit of a big shocker.

It goes to show though that it's not impossible to get into and hopefully this will give someone hope and prove that Atos Origin isn't heartless
Is the Support group the one where they leave you alone or the one where they pretend to support you into work, but really just hassle you to get a job?
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:52
Hypnodisc
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Is the Support group the one where they leave you alone or the one where they pretend to support you into work, but really just hassle you to get a job?
Support group = Leave alone/more money

Work-related-activity-group (what a fudging stupid name) = the opposite of the above
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Old 08-07-2010, 16:36
Hypnodisc
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Just thought I'd bump this because it disappeared very swiftly in all the confusion
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:30
Nonamoose
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That's really reassuring hypnodisc so thanks for posting.

I'm still on IB but you hear really awful stories about ATOS so it's really good to hear something positive for a change...I was thinking that they can't all be *that* incompetent surely?! It's nice to know that they do get it right too.

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Old 10-07-2010, 10:35
sallycameback
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Support group = Leave alone/more money

Work-related-activity-group (what a fudging stupid name) = the opposite of the above
I expect you're very pleased.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:41
michelle666
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I'm glad things went well Hypno, am I right in thinking your health issues are mental health related? In which case it is reassuring, because I've been concerned since all the talk of reassesments that it could end up penalising those with conditions (like mental health) which are by their nature harder to prove.

It doesn't actually affect me any more since my partner is now back in work, but at least it gives a little hope that should things go pear shaped for him healthwise, in the future, then he will hopefully get the help he'll need.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:47
elsquid
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I've just got my second ATOS letter. Not much looking forward to this whole charade again. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia which did improve to the point that I managed to get back on JSA for a bit, then I went downhill again and now I have to do all the crawling-through-hoops thing again.

I am really dreading this because I will either be having bad days so be unable to attend and have to make new appointments and then I may have a "good" day which makes the ATOS gits think that I am perfectly well enough to work. I don't believe in telling them lies or behaving in a certain manner to make me look worse than I am and CFS doesn't make you look ill. Rock and a hard place is where I'm at. I am still seeking work but just a few hours a week, I'm not trying to sit on my backside and make the state take care of me but I haven't a lot of choice.

The ATOS letter has actually upset me a lot this morning because I simply don't know how to prove that I am not well enough to be in full time work.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:08
koantemplation
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I've just got my second ATOS letter. Not much looking forward to this whole charade again. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia which did improve to the point that I managed to get back on JSA for a bit, then I went downhill again and now I have to do all the crawling-through-hoops thing again.

I am really dreading this because I will either be having bad days so be unable to attend and have to make new appointments and then I may have a "good" day which makes the ATOS gits think that I am perfectly well enough to work. I don't believe in telling them lies or behaving in a certain manner to make me look worse than I am and CFS doesn't make you look ill. Rock and a hard place is where I'm at. I am still seeking work but just a few hours a week, I'm not trying to sit on my backside and make the state take care of me but I haven't a lot of choice.

The ATOS letter has actually upset me a lot this morning because I simply don't know how to prove that I am not well enough to be in full time work.
You should always describe your worst days.

They will only use your good days to their advantage.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:16
WokStation
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You should always describe your worst days.

They will only use your good days to their advantage.
That's what my consultant told me to do as well. Trouble is, it feels like lying. Then there's the nag at the back of your head on a good day, if DWP see you doing something that you're able to do in a boom but on the forms you answered as to your limits during a bust, well it's not going to look good, is it?

This is the conundrum faced by those of us with varying conditions. Tell the complete truth and be penalised because they'll ignore your "bust" conditions or withhold the "boom" abilities and feel like a liar.

The DWP/ATOS system doesn't take variability into account. For example, one examination included this...

"Do you wash the dishes?"
"on a good day, yes"
"Do you cook?"
"on a good day, I might, if I didn't wash up"
"Do you hoover?"
"Look, these things, if I'm in a boom, yes, I could do one of those things in a day. Doing them will increase the chances of a bust, and during a bust I wouldn't be able to do any of them."

So, I was honest. When I got the copy of the report it said "daily routine, does dishes, cooks dinner and hoovers". Completely not what I said.

(The same doc also made a bunch of other mistakes, lying about other things I said, misrepresenting the diagnosis and going against NICE diagnostic guidelines ("reports of variability are not in accord with diagnosis") and also tried to sell me a place in his private thai-chi class. Yes I appealed, and won)
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:23
annette kurten
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That's what my consultant told me to do as well. Trouble is, it feels like lying. Then there's the nag at the back of your head on a good day, if DWP see you doing something that you're able to do in a boom but on the forms you answered as to your limits during a bust, well it's not going to look good, is it?

This is the conundrum faced by those of us with varying conditions. Tell the complete truth and be penalised because they'll ignore your "bust" conditions or withhold the "boom" abilities and feel like a liar.

The DWP/ATOS system doesn't take variability into account. For example, one examination included this...

"Do you wash the dishes?"
"on a good day, yes"
"Do you cook?"
"on a good day, I might, if I didn't wash up"
"Do you hoover?"
"Look, these things, if I'm in a boom, yes, I could do one of those things in a day. Doing them will increase the chances of a bust, and during a bust I wouldn't be able to do any of them."

So, I was honest. When I got the copy of the report it said "daily routine, does dishes, cooks dinner and hoovers". Completely not what I said.

(The same doc also made a bunch of other mistakes, lying about other things I said, misrepresenting the diagnosis and going against NICE diagnostic guidelines ("reports of variability are not in accord with diagnosis") and also tried to sell me a place in his private thai-chi class. Yes I appealed, and won)
it does doesn`t it? i was advised by the dwp to describe my worst days, not sure if that`s the official line though.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:28
elsquid
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You should always describe your worst days.

They will only use your good days to their advantage.
Sadly ATOS aren't very good at understanding worst days. *sigh* I have previously had a failed medical with them and shoved over to JSA - around the same time I went into a sort of remission from the CFS but sadly it only lasted for 12 weeks. They were the best 12 weeks I've had in years, mind!

The DWP/ATOS system doesn't take variability into account. For example, one examination included this...

"Do you wash the dishes?"
"on a good day, yes"
"Do you cook?"
"on a good day, I might, if I didn't wash up"
"Do you hoover?"
"Look, these things, if I'm in a boom, yes, I could do one of those things in a day. Doing them will increase the chances of a bust, and during a bust I wouldn't be able to do any of them."

So, I was honest. When I got the copy of the report it said "daily routine, does dishes, cooks dinner and hoovers". Completely not what I said.
This sounds horribly like my previous medical. I was actually going to appeal but, as said above, I did have a few months of being okay so decided to man (well, woman) up and try to get myself into work until I went downhill and now having to go through the whole thing again. I have just found a CFS forum where people are going through similar so hopefully I can get some help from there.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:57
kupo_nut
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I've just got my second ATOS letter. Not much looking forward to this whole charade again. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia which did improve to the point that I managed to get back on JSA for a bit, then I went downhill again and now I have to do all the crawling-through-hoops thing again.

I am really dreading this because I will either be having bad days so be unable to attend and have to make new appointments and then I may have a "good" day which makes the ATOS gits think that I am perfectly well enough to work. I don't believe in telling them lies or behaving in a certain manner to make me look worse than I am and CFS doesn't make you look ill. Rock and a hard place is where I'm at. I am still seeking work but just a few hours a week, I'm not trying to sit on my backside and make the state take care of me but I haven't a lot of choice.

The ATOS letter has actually upset me a lot this morning because I simply don't know how to prove that I am not well enough to be in full time work.
Oh, I feel your pain! I'm in the same situation, although I do manage to work 4 hours a week, but I've been cut off. I explained everything, and apparantley I'm ok :mad

Just a well my meds have stopped working now, I have to reapply
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Old 10-07-2010, 13:20
Sylvia
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Support group = Leave alone/more money
Not quite true, I'm afraid - people in the 'support group' are harassed about every 6 months with forms to fill in and can also be called for a 'medical' at any time at the whim of the assessors.

One good thing, though - they don't demand medical certificates every 5 minutes for you to remain on benefit.
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Old 10-07-2010, 14:06
burnt toast
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"Do you wash the dishes?"
"on a good day, yes"
"Do you cook?"
"on a good day, I might, if I didn't wash up"
"Do you hoover?"
"Look, these things, if I'm in a boom, yes, I could do one of those things in a day. Doing them will increase the chances of a bust, and during a bust I wouldn't be able to do any of them."
You can still be honest by saying "on a bad day, no". And so on. Just talk about your worst days and not the best.
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Old 10-07-2010, 14:12
PFKA EB
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I dont understand any of this tbh, I got called in for medicals about 7-8 years ago the doctors who performed them took about 15 minutes and were so sickened that theyd had to put me through it that they wrote a letter in protest at me being put through the process. I was then put on DLA/IB for life "awarded" is their quaint term as if youre supposed to feel theyve done you a great favour, am I now to sit in dread and fear of a letter dropping on my mat calling me in for another medical only this time with a privatised company who will have targets and quotas to meet?
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Old 10-07-2010, 14:13
Hypnodisc
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Not quite true, I'm afraid - people in the 'support group' are harassed about every 6 months with forms to fill in and can also be called for a 'medical' at any time at the whim of the assessors.

One good thing, though - they don't demand medical certificates every 5 minutes for you to remain on benefit.
I know they can in theory (I was randomly checked upon in Work-related activity group) but it's rarer.

Also, at the medical - according to information freely available online, the assessor is supposed to make a personal recommendation upon re-assessment (something like either 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 18 months or in some cases, never.

The recommendation doesn't have to be adhered to, and most people never know - but it most certainly exists, and if the decision maker agrees to it - it is most likely it will get fixed in stone and you will be re-assessed at the recommended time.
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Old 10-07-2010, 14:39
*AJ*
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it does doesn`t it? i was advised by the dwp to describe my worst days, not sure if that`s the official line though.
I got told the same...I have been on ESA for about 2months...have a medical later this month and the advisor I saw told me to emphasise my bad days. Like others have said though it feels like lying...because on my good days I can do dishes,hoover,walk up/downstairs etc but on a bad day I struggle to even lift my arms.

AJxx
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Old 10-07-2010, 15:18
Sandgrownun
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That's really reassuring hypnodisc so thanks for posting.

I'm still on IB but you hear really awful stories about ATOS so it's really good to hear something positive for a change...I was thinking that they can't all be *that* incompetent surely?! It's nice to know that they do get it right too.

I know a couple of people who've had had ATOS medicals (one for IB and one for ESA). Both said the doctors were understanding and asked relevant questions, not just generic ones. I think that online you just tend to read horror stories about them, but I would imagine most medicals and doctors are perfectly fine.
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Old 10-07-2010, 15:30
Hypnodisc
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I know a couple of people who've had had ATOS medicals (one for IB and one for ESA). Both said the doctors were understanding and asked relevant questions, not just generic ones. I think that online you just tend to read horror stories about them, but I would imagine most medicals and doctors are perfectly fine.
I reckon most people who have good experiences don't bother posting as it doesn't seem note-worthy, so all people hear about are the negative ones where people want help/advice
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Old 25-02-2012, 08:36
estara
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I have unfortunately had to deal with atos on numerous occassions and they have ALWAYS been incompetent, the last time they interviewed me at home for 9 minutes and my DLA was stopped I had previously been getting it and had won on appeal to a tribunal the second time around the decision ATOS made deeming me fit was reversed before it got to the tribunal stage!

I have a question and am hoping someone may be able to shed some light. I have been moved from IB to ESA WRAG and sent in my medical information along with the ESA50 I was surprised to be placed in that category and requested a copy of the medical report, it was contradictory in some parts they said i could do certain things like place an object in my top pocket, walk for more than 50 metres etc, then under the ADVICE section at the top of the form they stated "I AM ABLE TO ADVICE THE CLAIMED LEVEL OF DISABILITY IS CONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENCE BEFORE ME" under the prognosis they stated "I ADVISE THAT A RETURN TO WORK IS UNLIKELY FOR ATLEAST 2 YEARS".

I reluctantly sent in an appeal yesterday totally confused by the report and the category I have been placed in from the evidence before me. Has anyone had any similar experience. I understand that if you appeal you could lose your benefit for which i am having great anxiety over.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 25-02-2012, 10:59
Brain Donor
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I got a letter/statement from the DWP yesterday saying that I am in Support Group. I have no idea what this means, other than what people have said in this thread - it means more money. Well, YAY for that, but I am still clueless as to what Support Group actually is.

Are they supposed to offer me any sort of support other than financially? Will being in Support Group help with general medical stuff (local health authority have refused me CBT twice, is it worth me trying to get referred again?)

TIA for any advice.
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Old 25-02-2012, 11:25
Laura P
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Thought I'd just share this with you in case anybody else here is coming up to an ESA medical soon,

I had an ESA re-assessment the other day (and naturally was a bit afraid!) but it was absolutely fine and got a letter yesterday saying I was being moved from Work related activity group to Support group as a result of the assessment which was a bit of a big shocker.

It goes to show though that it's not impossible to get into and hopefully this will give someone hope and prove that Atos Origin isn't heartless
I'll be due for an assement in the not too distant future and I'm trying not to be too nervous about it as I have a great doctor who is fighting in my corner and who has done more to help me in the last few months than all the other doctors I've seen since my teens put together.

I do think ATOS are, overall, a disgrace and should be replaced with a fairer system, though. The way the genuine sick and disabled in this country are treated because the system operates in a "guilty until proven innocent" way is absolutely appalling.
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:06
Richievilla
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I have unfortunately had to deal with atos on numerous occassions and they have ALWAYS been incompetent, the last time they interviewed me at home for 9 minutes and my DLA was stopped I had previously been getting it and had won on appeal to a tribunal the second time around the decision ATOS made deeming me fit was reversed before it got to the tribunal stage!

I have a question and am hoping someone may be able to shed some light. I have been moved from IB to ESA WRAG and sent in my medical information along with the ESA50 I was surprised to be placed in that category and requested a copy of the medical report, it was contradictory in some parts they said i could do certain things like place an object in my top pocket, walk for more than 50 metres etc, then under the ADVICE section at the top of the form they stated "I AM ABLE TO ADVICE THE CLAIMED LEVEL OF DISABILITY IS CONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENCE BEFORE ME" under the prognosis they stated "I ADVISE THAT A RETURN TO WORK IS UNLIKELY FOR ATLEAST 2 YEARS".

I reluctantly sent in an appeal yesterday totally confused by the report and the category I have been placed in from the evidence before me. Has anyone had any similar experience. I understand that if you appeal you could lose your benefit for which i am having great anxiety over.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Estara,

My first piece of advice would be to get someone to help you with your appeal. Get in touch with your local welfare rights as they will have lots of experience with appeals. The success rate at appeal is also significantly higher if you have representation with you.

If you can afford it, the £19.45 subscription for "Benefits and Work" is worthwhile as it has guides on both DLA and ESA appeals. It also has a forum where you can speak to people who have been through the process:

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/help-for-claimants

Obviously your appeal is aimed at putting you in the ESA Support Group, rather than the WRAG. To get in the Support Group you have to satisfy one of the descriptors in the "Limited capability for work related activity" test as listed here:

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/esa/lcwra

If you are happy that one of the descriptors applies to you then I would advise that you speak to your gp/specialist(s) and (assuming they agree!) get them to write a letter to that effect as it would be difficult for the tribunal to go against that sort of compelling evidence.

I hope that helps a little and good luck with your appeal.

ps: At present, if you have been awarded ESA, but only put in the work-related activity group, whereas you believe you should be in the support group, you will continue to receive your ESA with a work-related activity component as normal whilst you appeal.....so your money would not be affected.

You should bear in mind that in theory the appeal could decide that you are fit for work and take away your ESA but that only occurs in very rare instances, and you should be fine if you have the medical evidence, but it is something that you should talk over with welfare rights.
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:34
Richievilla
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I got a letter/statement from the DWP yesterday saying that I am in Support Group. I have no idea what this means, other than what people have said in this thread - it means more money. Well, YAY for that, but I am still clueless as to what Support Group actually is.

Are they supposed to offer me any sort of support other than financially? Will being in Support Group help with general medical stuff (local health authority have refused me CBT twice, is it worth me trying to get referred again?)

TIA for any advice.
Brain Donor, If you get into the support group you get paid the basic allowance of ESA plus a support component.

If you are eligible for income-related ESA and you are in the support group you will also automatically get an extra payment called an enhanced disability premium.

Members of the support group donít have to undertake any work-related activities at all, because it is considered that they have the most serious health conditions or disabilities. Therefore, you will not be forced into a placement under the Work Programme.

If you are on contribution based ESA and in the support group then you will not need to worry about the 12 month time limit that is being so cruelly imposed (and backdated) on members of the work related activity group.

Hope that helps.
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