In 2010-11, the following numbers appealed a decision 197,400 ( Employment Support Allowance) 79,400 (Disability Living Allowance)
In 2011-12, the following numbers appealed a decision: 181,100 ( Employment Support Allowance) 83,100 (Disability Living Allowance)
More people appealed DLA, but fewer people appealed ESA.
Is this because fewer people got an ESA decision in the first place (as it's taking longer than it should to process the ESA claims)
Also do we have any idea what proportion of DLA and ESA claimants this represents? Is it something like a quarter who are challenging the decision?
And do we have any idea how many people drop out at the reconsideration stage ie are there any stats on reconsideration or is it not recorded, as it's not an official court thing? Or is it DWP rather than MoJ?
Reconsideration outcomes are available on the DWP data sets. I had a look at them a while ago and wasn't convinced they were making any appreciable difference.
It doesn't surprise me that ESA receipts at HMCTS have reduced but they are only down by 16,000 on 2010/11. I strongly suspect that if you wandered into a DWP appeal office there would be files of them waiting to be 'processed' . DM's must have targets on DLA as well and no doubt have had to turn their attention to these so there is some sort of parallel activity - especially with Universal Credit & PIP coming up. Mr Grayling doesn't have the answers that's for sure.
The ESA claimant count is something I will check on but again the data sets lack clarity. It's identifying those which are 'new', those which are 'repeat cycles' and those which are 'IB to ESA conversions', which is difficult to clarify. I have no faith in the reconsideration process at all, there are only odd exceptions to the rule but I've not seen any marked improvement yet. Call me a cynic but with mandatory revision before appeal and the abolition of legal aid just around the corner the last thing they want is a rise in ESA's. Like the MOJ keep reminding us; 'we're working very closely with the DWP' - hmm, yes to the point where It does seem quite likely the DWP may have been told to 'slow the pace', either that or the DM's are sick of the sight of ESA submissions!
are atos assesors nurses doctors etc not breaching there regulators code of conduct by not putting the interests of the patient first.i dont have a great rappor with my own doc but i trust his judgement as patient care is priority
The stock answer to this one has always been that there is no (in so far as the DWP 'customer' is concerned) doctor / patient relationship between a claimant and the DWP. However a 'healthcare professional' does have a duty of care towards anyone they assess.
It's a tricky one and I'm not sure anyone has the right answer. Remember that DWP contract the work out to Atos so ultimately any issue of complaint would ultimately rest with them. The DWP continually say Atos are merely acting as 'disability analysts'. They do so in the determination of eligibility to benefits and therefore no part of their involvement with a claimant should be seen as something comparable to that of providing a diagnosis or treating the claimant. The DWP bear the responsibility for whatever decision is made on entitlement to a claimant's benefits; they do so mainly on the strength of the evidence. Invariably they weigh the evidence more in favour of that which is obtained from Atos.
I do not think this is the right line. There is case law of the issue of whether to prefer the evidence of your GP or the DWP's appointed healthcare professional - most of which relates to the older Incapacity Benefit. I think the judiciary should take a fresh look at this in view of the change in the medical evidence regulations which were revised to require a GP to consider not just whether a claimant is fit or unfit for work but to consider:
(1) Whether the claimant is fit for work.
(2) Whether the claimant could do some work with (a) a phased return (b) altered hours (c) reduced duties or (d) workplace adaptations.
(3) Whether the claimant is incapable of work.
This is important in ESA cases because it means both the GP and the Atos healthcare professional have separately considered workplace limitation. The reason the DWP reject the evidence of the GP is very often because they say they do not consider limitation - it's not correct because of the change in the way GP's have been asked to consider this aspect. The best way of challenging this in individual cases is by raising it in the appeal stages and in seeking precedent in decisions reached by the higher courts. It's vital that disability campaigners see the need to engage with advice agencies & law centres in raising judicial challenges in the lower courts in individual cases as well as in the higher courts by judicial review. You won't get precedent cases unless they are recognised in the lower tribunals.
It's vitally important to challenge Atos on the validity of their evidence in individual cases. The greater the number of appeals the greater a question mark hangs over the effectiveness & accuracy of the assessment results.
On the issue of Atos and the question marks over their role in diagnosis I think an issue arises and it is this: Whilst Atos may well say "we don't diagnose we analyse", it is their assessment (or analysis) which can undermine the diagnosis given by the claimant's doctor.
GP says " You have severe mental health problems including psychosis and are not fit for work"
Atos healthcare professional says " You have mental health problems including psychosis but are fit for work"
What will a claimant conclude?
Probably that their condition is not as severe as their GP says because the Atos healthcare professional has challenged the opinion of the GP over the claimant's limitation; thus the GP's opinion or diagnosis is undermined.
This could be disastrous for a claimant who then stops believing his GP. As a result a claimant may cause themselves harm by stopping their medication ('I don't need these tablets any more') or by being exposed to a harmful environment (namely the workplace and the pressures contained within) which then brings about a deterioration in their condition. Tell a claimant he or she is fit for work and some will accept it, their doctor may reel in horror at the prospect knowing the claimant could end up making their condition far worse.
Thus the harm is caused by a failure in the Atos assessment or analysis as it undermines and breeds mistrust in the GP's diagnosis.
Personally I think the issue of causing a claimant harm is contrary to the duty of care which rests with any healthcare professional; however they may be employed. Ultimately if their actions harm a claimant I would think it reasonable to conclude they may be liable for damages.
It's a complicated subject but my thoughts are that this is an important and often overlooked aspect of establishing 'causation' or citing 'who's to blame'.
Sorry if it sound complicated; truth is it isn't an easy question to answer.
A contribution to Hamilton and .. after that .. .. a question for Nick.
What about the nice doctors and nurses who although they no longer swear the Hippocratic Oath, but do agree to abide by the GMC's 'Duties of a doctor' when practicing in this country. [ seven of the doctors have been under investigation for more than seven months / another five were placed under investigation this year following complaints about their conduct, mostly relating to allegations /concern about the treatment of vulnerable people ].
""" Our first duty is to our patients""" - yeh right apart from the odd very brave whitleblower any generalist working for ATOS is there for the 20 pieces of silver. the truth of the natter is GP / Physio / OT / whoever contracts to take a wage-rate from ATOS is under no illusions whatsoever that its a purely mercenary outfit designed specifically to rake a chain saw through through the disabled & vulnerable's access to welfare benefits.
.. a question for Nick .. .. started reading here when you began.
Not sure if you are aware, but you have a huge repository of useful reference in your pages that I wish I could go back to on the 'find button' [reference facility] but your search facility does not work, any chance you can fix it my friend ?
Post by fibrography on Sept 28, 2012 12:34:29 GMT 1
I have recently received a decision to be placed in WRAG. I did NOT have a face to face assessment. I requested a reconsideration and a full report into how they had made their decision. They have refused the reconsideration and the report is laughable. I am now in the process of appealing and would welcome any help. My main reason for appeal is that they have: a} Ignored all my mental health issues and even stated on the report that I have NONE that would affect my return to work. b} Stated on the report that they do not expect me to return to work within 2 years but have placed me on contribution based esa which will cease after 12 months c} Clearly stated on the report that they do not expect ANY improvement in my condition.
Now, with regards to A} I told them I have OCD, Major depressive disorder and suffer anxiety and panic attacks. I can't leave the house alone, can't cope with ANY changes to my daily routine and due to my depression my mood swings can be so dramatic as to cause me outbursts of tears and bad language if I get into a panic or feel that I am being misunderstood etc.
Along with this, in the reconsideration, the only thing the assessor seems to have focused on is the fact that I can lift my cup with 2 hands and has wittered on about me using 1 hand to lift a box whilst supporting it against my body - Now I CANT do that if I have to move said box across a room because I use 2 crutches to walk. How can I carry anything when my hands are on the crutches ?
My initial report appears to have been compiled by a Nurse, and whilst I have every respect for the works nurses do they are in NO WAY qualified to assess my health conditions. (Fibromyalgia, Major Depressive Disorder, Underactive Thyroid and multiple other issues relating to these conditions)
I am in no way fot to even look for work, and the Job Centre have already been most helpful in rearranging my 1st assessment interview to be a home visit as I cant leave the house to get to them. (At least not without dragging my mum out on a 2 hour round trip to come get me, which the JC wont reimburse her for the petrol, and she cant come to every appointment I have) So how the hell am I supposed to go to work?
Sorry for the long winded ramble but I wanted to get it all down whilst my brain was working. (another symptom - Fibro Fog) Sometimes I cant even forma sentence so Im making the most of today being a clear head day.
An appeal for placement into the support group from WRAG is one where I would strongly recommend you get professional help from a specialist welfare benefits adviser.
I have little, if any faith, in the reconsideration process as DWP decision-maker's have yet to convince me that they have made a substantial effort in making it an objective exercise.
Take this one step at a time.
The first step is to consider the Support Group 'descriptors'. Use the link I have provided you with and go through them (scroll up to find the WRAG & exceptional circumstance descriptors and down for more on Support).
You will see how (in the WRAG links) I have provided a link to the ATOS guidance on how they consider there application.
It strikes me that they have made little attempt to evaluate the difference between physical and mental health. The difficulty is the two invariably merge (it's where the assessment is badly in need of change I think).
Take a physical descriptor like mobilising:
Let's say joint pain physically limits you in terms of distance, it may seem relatively easy to state to what degree (I accept it isn't)
Now consider the effect mobilising yourself may have upon your mental health.
Having to abandon a mobility related task may bring about a state of depression, distress etc - caused by setting a 'mental' goal which you can't 'physically' manage. Being exhausted and unable to do something is bound to impact upon you mentally as well as physically. This is where it gets difficult to describe. You might try making a list comprising of two columns (1) Physical and (B) Mental
Just write down singular words which describe how you feel about the tasks you think apply. A good starting point would be to find out the WRAG descriptors which have been awarded to you.
Then come back and let me know which of the Support group descriptors apply. If it makes you feel too tired, confused or overwhelmed leave it and come back to it. This is an indicator that you really need specialist help. This assessment is far from straightforward. It's much more complicated than people think.
Take your time and by all means come back to me for any clarification. I also recommend you join another forum here:'The Full Facts'which is ultra supportive for people who have problems with ESA decisions, it's excellent and I quite often post the 'legal' stuff on there. It works really well.
Post by fibrography on Sept 28, 2012 20:59:43 GMT 1
Thanks Nick, I need to get my appeal started, at least to send off the GL24, with evidence to follow. I only have another 14 days to do this. I have spoken with my GP tongiht who has confirmed what I feared. she didnt do the report for Atos, she was on holiday. She is more than willing to write an independent report for me as evidence. My biggest issue with getting representation / welfare advisor /CAB is i am housebound mon-fri and there seems to be limited resources for home visits. I will review the descriptors this weekend and see how well my brain deals with it - though to be honest, I can prob guess, as I dont absorb info very well.
Fibrography: By all means do. If you can just try and work out which descriptors apply the wording in the GL24 is quite straightforward. You can buy yourself another 14 days on top of the month to appeal by asking for 'a full statement of reasons'. You can do this simply by telephoning them (the Jobcentre/DWP) and it will buy you more time. 6 weeks from the date of the decision. Just don't get into a conversation with them beyond the request.
thanks for you reply to previous question.here are some details of my situation.i am an alcoholic who after 15 years of alcohol abuse was told i had cirrohsis of the liver this isthe end stage of liver disease total abstainance or death would be a certainty.a liver transplant is the only cure but would not be considred if i did not totally abstain. all my problems are as a direct result of this brain damage nervous system and most recently diag nosed with cerebro vascular disease which is a mini stoke wiyh more to follow.i am goin to base all the facts in esa form about ilt un der illness or disabillity in great detail and refer each question to this report to me this is the most importent part of the whole form along with medication taken eg abasic example asimple pil like senna and the use of lactoluse is used to help me with bowel movement ihave found out that taken at night it will take effect within and up to fours reulting in asevere bowel movent the veryy same applies in the morning it isnot my ability to get up or down from the toilet it is my inability to react quickly enough toget toit quickly enough which will stop me from basically shitting myself and the problems it bring clean up etc it is thi inability to react quickly enough and fefference to illnes or dissabillities which i hope will help me prove iam not fit for purpose i want to work as do most but because of phisical or other problems.the problem with the bowel movement is only one aspect the list is endless iam now about to embark on a journey esa and would like any help from other users the info on this site is trully amazing
Thanks Hamilton for your reply.Let me mull it over and come back to you with some suggestions as to what to put in the GL24.
I wonder if you could clarify if you have any idea as to the basis you were placed in WRAG without a face to face assessment having taken place? It may be that your GP has completed an ESA113 form which may have been sent from the DWP to the surgery?
dear nickd the message isent to you was not about gl24 but what iam going to base my case when filling esa form if you could read the question i posted and give me areply i would be grateful when i said thanks about the previous question i meant the question iposted before sorry if i sound confused
Many apologies Hamilton, I had mistakenly read your post as one relating to the preceding threads with Fibrography and posted it in error. I've struck through it and will come back with a reply given the history you've outlined, hopefully I will be able to give you some pointers on ESA 50 completion.
The starting point in completing any ESA form is to know what the questions are all about, it's vital that you understand the way the DWP & Atos score you under the regulations and it helps to be prepared by knowing how Atos considers all 17 'descriptor' questions.
Use the following links
Step (1) is to look at the questions in the ESA 50:
This should give you a much better idea as to which ones are more likely to apply. The form is highly misleading and can lead you into ticking 'no problem' without a clue as to what the real questions are. You need to pick up a score of at least 15 points to be placed in the 'Work Related Activity Group' (WRAG). From what you say you may well qualify for the 'Support Group' but have a look at the WRAG set of questions first.
From what you say you are entitled to ESA.
Have a look at the guidance links then come back and tell me if they help you in getting an understanding as to what it's all about. Take your time, it is complicated (a lot more so than people think) but I would be interested to know which ones you think apply to me.
See if you can work out a list and just come back with the numbers and letters which you think apply. So if you say 14(a) this will mean....
You have difficulty in 'Coping with change'
14 (a) You cannot cope with any change to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed. (= 15 Points)
If this was the case you would qualify for a WRAG placement on this one alone. I suspect you qualify for a fair few.
Nick Ive been through the descriptors and picked out 3:
1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid can reasonably be used. Cannot either:
(a)mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion; or(b)repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.
12. Coping with change.
Cannot cope with any change, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed.
13. Coping with social engagement, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.
Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.
My answers to these 3 questions were:
Can you move at least 50 m before you need to stop? NO I cannot move at least 50 m before and stop, due to pain, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. I use crutches all the time and whilst they help me to walk, keep my balance and support me, I also suffer pain in my hands, arms and shoulders from using the crutches. I tire easily and need to take frequent rests ideally sitting down when possible. (This was not all I wrote but is the most significant to the question)
Q 12 descriptor is actually Q 14 and 13 is 16, on my ESA form: Question 14: coping with change
Can you cope with small changes to your routine if you know about them before they happen? For example things like having a meal earlier or later than usual - it varies
Can you cope with small changes to your routine if they are unexpected? Such as appointments being cancelled for your bus or train not run on time - NO
I cannot cope with changes at all. I need lots of notice to make changes to routine, appointments etc. Short notice or no notice sends me into a blind panic. OCD: Again my irrational fears impact on this greatly. Even a small change to my day can trigger fear and anxiety. If I have a time in my head for someone to visit or for an appointment and that time is changed, or I cause the delay because of my need to check everything before I can leave the house, I go to pieces. I often end up exhausted and in tears, unable to go out.
Question 15: Going out Can you leave home and go out to places you know if someone goes with you? YES Can you leave home on your own and go to places you don't know? NO
Due to my OCD I fear danger all the time. I cannot leave the home without spending time checking ALL windows and doors are locked, all lights are off and in particular all electrical sockets are unplugged in the kitchen. (This can delay me leaving home as it can take me up to an hour, and is extremely tiring, especially if I am distracted within my routine and have to start again) I have an irrational fear that if any of these things are not checked and actioned something bad will happen to me or my home. When I am out, even with people I know, in an environment I consider 'safe' there is still the issue of the pain from the Fibromyalgia and my back. The fatigue from being out and the issue of being over stimulated, in relation to noise levels and large numbers of people, such as a shopping centre or supermarket. My cognitive abilities are low. I can get easily confused and disorientated and panic sets it. I have an uncontrollable need to 'escape' the situation and find it hard to make any rational decisions, and worry I wont be able to get home. This can occur even when I am with people I trust.
Question 16: coping with social situations Can you meet with people you know without feeling too anxious scared ? NO Can you meet with people you don't know without feeling too anxious or scared? NO
Travelling to and from places causes stress. I am ok at my parents house, but getting there is stressful. Meeting with family or friends outside of a safe environment causes stress and panic as I cannot control the situation or environment or who else may be there, the stimuli, sounds, dangers etc. Multiple conversations form people around me makes me want to scream at everyone to be quiet. If someone shouts I can feel myself flinch at the volume of their voice. Sensory stimulation becomes impossible to process. Too much light, sound and people. The physical impact that this has on me also can cause a Fibromyalgia flare as well as severe headaches and nausea.
ON THE REPORT THEY SENT TO ME THEY HAVE STATED I HAVE NO MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES THAT WOULD AFFECT MY RETURN TO WORK !!!
I think they have already sent me a statement of reasons. My 1st request to them was for a reconsideration and an explanation. I worded it as follows:
Could you please provide me with an explanation along with a written statement of how you came to your decision to place me in the Work Related Activity Group.
They sent me a "Medical report form" that Says Advice.... Prognosis... and Justification, But what it doesnt tell me is what I scored and it isnt a full breakdown of my answers to their questions. It just seems to be an interpretation of my evidence and the evidence they say they were provided with. They also NEVER met me. Can I buy myself more time requesting something more in depth than this? I was also going to request a copy of the Med 4 the GP filled in for me (as it turns out the doc, at the practice Im in, that completed it is one who has NEVER met me) and my GP wants to submit new evidence on my behalf.
What you could do with is the 'decision-maker's score sheet'. This should be attached to the ESA85 medical report but it doesn't seem like they have sent this to you, they have just their stock summary of the scoring. So ask for a complete copy of the ESA85 report and they should send you this. You will automatically get these documents when you make a proper appeal.
Now in terms of completing the GL24. I think I would suggest something along the following lines:
I disagree with your decision dated the [date] to place me in the Work Related Activity Group and I wish to appeal. I suffer from [brief summary of your health problems]. I believe the healthcare professional has not correctly assessed the extent of my limitation and I say I should be placed in the support group. Whilst you have recognised that I am eligible for placement in the Work Related Group I believe I should be placed in the Support Group because:
My OCD condition makes it impossible for me to cope with any change, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed.
I also believe that the severity of my condition makes it impossible for me to socially interact. My engagement in social contact is always precluded due to my difficulty relating to others or causes me significant distress.
I believe that if I was exposed to the pressurising environment of the workplace my problems would result in me completely going to pieces, my health would dramatically deteriorate and no employer or other employees could reasonably be expected to integrate me in to the workforce.
I am unable to mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping. I need to stop to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion; nor can I repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort and exhaustion.
Accordingly I wish to appeal to an independent Tribunal at an oral hearing and would like to see all of the evidence and legislation you used in arriving at your decision. Please ensure this includes copies of all the medical evidence supplied during the assessment phase including that which you have obtained from my doctor.
Upon receipt of your evidence I will add to my grounds of appeal with further evidence. I cannot dispute the way you have worked out the descriptors until you have provided me with the scoring sheet I have requested.
This is enough to lodge an appeal and it is specifically aimed at getting into the support group. I'll check on the numbering but remember the question numbering in the ESA 50 only directly relates to the 17 WRAG related questions. The numbering for the support descriptors goes from 1 to 16 and is different?
I should just add on a cautionary note that there is a risk in asking for a support group placement when in the WRAG group because it could potentially result in losing your WRAG status. On the evidence you mention I think this very unlikely but it is a risk I must point out. This is why I recommend specialist advice. Don't panic over this though as it's more cautionary than likely.
Hopefully this helps but if not then let me know and I'll come back and give you some further guidance. I appreciate you will be alarmed at asking for an oral appeal but there is a reason for this which I will explain in due course, it's vital that you put this in at this stage. If you know your way around computer formatting you can copy and paste the above text in the above box and put it in font size 8 or 9 and it should go straight into the GL24, if not just say see attached in the GL24 and attach a separate sheet of paper but remember to include your national insurance number and name and staple it to the GL24 and always keep a copy!!
Thanks Nick, I have the GL24 on the computer as I dont fill in forms by hand anyway. Will copy what you have said as it sounds much clearer than what I have written so far. They Definitely didnt include a score sheet with the report they sent me. As for your cautionary note about losing everything, It is something I have been wondering about. If I kick off, so to speak, could I lose it all. But Im hoping that based on the existing report, and my recent DLA renewal with HR mob and LR care I should at the very least remain in WRAG. I guess all I can do is keep fingers crossed (mind you that causes me cramp... sorry sometimes I need to make light of it to cope xx
nickd is this a stupid question are you better to have a home visit where assesor would see me in my home enviroment able to move around my house is adapted to my and wifes needs. wet room no bath to get in or out of. sockets at waist hight all done to help and improve quality of life.or go to there place where i would be able to show them how i react in the outside world this is a new question thanks
No it's not stupid question at all, indeed it's a very valid one.
You will need to qualify the need for a 'domiciliary' visit with perhaps some evidence from your doctor saying you are not well able to attend the examination centre.
I think it's worth a shot and yes I believe it is better to be seen in your home environment in some cases particularly given that the healthcare professional often uses your ability to get to the centre as evidence of your capability! There is a danger though that you may appear too 'relaxed' within your home environment.
That said the fear and anxiety with getting to the centre is often best displayed by going there and letting them see what a bundle of nerves it makes people.
It should be weighed up in the light of what's best for your own health.
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Post by jjclarkejenny on Oct 4, 2012 18:55:28 GMT 1
Jenny's comments from ESA/Atos assessments relating to Hester's appeal have been moved to this thread for now so I can keep a tab on all questions and comments in one place. Please continue to post where you feel your comments are relevant and I'll move them if need be. It may mean I move some here for now and then post them back on an article when it's completed
Post by jjclarkejenny on Oct 4, 2012 21:55:52 GMT 1
They all need to be held accountable....just seen the panorama documentary where the NHS have put in writing to all that it is a world health service...I'm at a loss..all this injustice to our own and then this.....
Post by jjclarkejenny on Oct 7, 2012 13:03:48 GMT 1
By then..they should all hope we are all dead..what is it going to take ..a live suicide on you tube stating them as the cause..they don't seem to be listening to anyone..and getting away with MURDER....
Hi Jenny, yes quite! Am just moving some posts as I have a few more to follow the lead one on here. I've just moved your comments to 'member's questions' for now. But will bring them back to here once I've built the story. It takes apart how Hester was assessed, had to appeal and ended up getting no help at all from the Work programme. By all means continue to post on here as I've inserted some extra posts to 'infill' the story.
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