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Date: 29.01.2012
From: Macca

Subject: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Hi all, my wife suffers with Osteoarthritis and is currently going through the grinder of the ESA machine. I'll give a brief background.

Problems :

i) Osteoarthritis affecting Right hip, wrist, foot, ankle, shoulders. Resulted in total left hip replacement at the age of 27.

ii) Osteoporosis

iii) Lumbar Scoliosis resulting in chronic lower back pain

iv) A pelvic tilt

v) Left leg is shorter than the right

vi) Manic Depression

vii) Anxiety

viii) Irritable Bowel Syndrome

ix) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

My wife was retired from work as a classroom assistant in our local primary school in 2003 on the grounds of permanent ill health. Since then and until December 2011 she has been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit. She is also in receipt of DLA at the higher rate for Mobility (currently that is until DWP use the flawed ESA report to take that too).

After an ATOS medical in September of 2011 she was unsuprisingly given 0 points and so we are now in the process of appealing this decision. I've written the appeal for her and it was draining so I have every sympathy for sufferers that are faced with doing that for themselves.

We have enlisted the help of a Welfare Rights Adviser at our local council and he appears very experienced. One thing he did say when we first met with him that really suprised us was that the Tribunal are unlikely to consider the ill health retirement reports that we have obtained copies of. These were produced for her then employer and pension provider. Despite the fact that they document she was permanently incapable of carrying out any type of work upto the age of 65.

The Adviser commented that as they are 9 years old and she was retired at the age of 33, the Tribunal would question whether the decision of the Doctor that retired her was correct as at that time he would have no way of knowing what medical advancements may come along over the following 32 years (to take her up 65).

I was a little shaken at that as I was thinking that those reports would be a key factor in her appeal.

Has anybody else had this or a similar situation?

Cheers, Macca
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Date: 29.01.2012
From: Colin

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Hi Macca

you need help with the tribunal , we went through 2 with the help of http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ for my son losing incapacity , they will know how the tribunal works & how to help you

the doctors doing the medical seems total idiots sometimes so CAB can pick holes in what they done , dont understand why he did not score points for Manic Depression let alone anything else ,

good luck with the tribunal & get help beatting it
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Date: 29.01.2012
From: macca

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Hi, if only she'd had the luxury of a doctor. The assessment was carried out by a nurse although i think she worked part time as a baker, 'cos she was a dab hand at porkie pies. I read her report and was convinced it had been written by the brothers grimm! Apart from other stuff i was amazed at the report when i read "the customer was observed carrying a medium sized bag". So what image might that conjure up? A large handbag or pehaps a small satchell? .....try this, she was holding a small paper bag that had her medication in it, yes the same bag given to her in the pharmacy. These jokers are completely unregulated and it stinks big time. The WRA seems very well practiced so feeling good about that, i was just shocked that the ill health retirement reports wouldn't carry any weight.
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Date: 29.01.2012
From: Dave S

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Hi Macca
Been there done that i also was observed carrying a medium size bag, actually a morrisons carrier bag with 4 blisters of tablets in it hardly a heavy item. I was also awarded 0 points at ATOS but when i went to tribunal which by the way is no where as near daunting as it sounds was awarded 15 points as required for ESA.
I subscibed to the Benefits and Work site which gives lots of very helpful advice about appeals and ATOS medical, you would not beleive some of the absurd assumptions and traps that the non medical assesors use to formulate a completley fabricated report about things that they obviously dont have the first idea about.
Good luck with your appeal and hope that your wife is not in too much pain at the moment.
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Date: 30.01.2012
From: macca

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

I think i'd believe anything after sitting through her assessment with her bud. The assessor happily reported how she "likes to go to the park to walk on a daily basis", i was there, she told her no such thing. They can make up what they like and we have to deal with the consequences.

Well done Cameron, if this is 'ensuring that the help goes to the people that need it' then bravo, the PM's played a blinder.
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Date: 30.01.2012
From: bsk

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

But why shouldn't someone like to go to the park and walk on a daily basis? Are disabled people supposed to hide away at home all the time? Going for a walk in a park doesn't necessarily mean you are able to work. What rubbish.
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Date: 30.01.2012
From: macca

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Absolutely bud, and don't get me wrong i was only using that as an example of the lies told. In my wife's case that total fabrication has no doubt led to a decision maker awarding 0 points against the mobilising descriptor as this fantasy statement was at complete odds with the statements of fact my wife had made and her state of health. How those guys sleep at night god only knows.
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Date: 30.01.2012
From: Colin

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Macca one tribunal we went to , the doctor claimed we had 30 cats , just one of the things incorrect like dancing at night club

at the tribunal the CAB guy pointed out this on the form & said what else was wrong with it , & we won claim , good luck with it , sure you can win it
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Date: 30.01.2012
From: macca

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

funny you should say that, the welfare rights adviser was telling us how he was involved in a tribunal where the esa report stated the claimant took the dog for a walk to the park everyday. Slight problem...the claimant didn't own a dog.

Whopper eh?
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Date: 31.01.2012
From: Paula

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

They are famed for doing that, putting words in your mouth and making massive assumptions. With ESA are they are more interested in the last 12 months of the illness, not say 7 years ago as things change, they concentrate on the current, although you can provide a history. Wish you luck for your appeal. A nurse with 10 minutes training that is what you got. They are supposed to have mental health champions at the medical centres. What a joke that is.
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Date: 31.01.2012
From: marmac

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

All these comments make it real scarey despite what they deny ATOS is a profit making company they are bound to get bonuses of some sort for preventing people accessing the benefits they need otherwise why make up lies, there has to be a bonus system for the assessors otherwise they would just be sick mothers. Why not put a recorder in a bag and record the conversation I suppose you could tell them you wish to do this I dont think they could refuse. Personaly I wouldn't tell them. But it is an absalute disgrace what they get away with.
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Date: 01.02.2012
From: Paula

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

While a lot of comments are totally agreeable I think you need to be careful what is said on this ATOS and the DWP are famed for shuting forums down when they read comments that could lead to legal ramifications for that site. They can refuse your request to tape your medical. If they knew you had euipement on you they can stop the medical and your benefit would be stopped that day. You can ask for the medical to be recorded in advance but ATOS want approved recording engineers and equipment at great cost to the claimaint. Better to take someone with you with a pad and pen and write down as much as you can. When you get the medical report then you can rip it apart. I am not defending these "people" beleive me, I know you are angry as we all are about all this, but we don't need them shutting a site which beleive me they have the power to do. As we all need this for support and to deal with many different forms of arthritis.
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Date: 01.02.2012
From: macca

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

Hi Paula and all, cheers for the insight, as it happens i've also now had a second opinion from a CAB worker who suggests that whilst the ill health retirement reports aren't a deciding factor, they are a base to work from and need to be complimented with additional information including the GP's current medical report.

Cheers, Macca
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Date: 01.02.2012
From: Paula

Subject: Re: Ill Health Retirement and Appeal for ESA

The decision maker has to take ALL medical evdience, even non medical evidence into considertation when making their decision. If you find out later, they have not, or have not contacted the relevant professionals depsite you aksing them to is grounds for appeal. Good luck, keep is posted. x
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