ephemerid wrote:You are entitled to cancel at least one WCA without your benefit being affected. If you do this, inform your Benefit Delivery Centre immediately and make a note of when/who etc.
You are entitled to insist on a recording - if they won't supply one, do it secretly on your phone.
You are entitled to take a witness, who can make notes - Atos will tell you (they have a disclaimer card to show you designed for the purpose) that notes will not be considered an accurate record - this is a lie, as all tribunal judges will consider contemporaneous notes as evidence.
At the WCA, you should ask the Atos person if they have read your other submitted evidence; if they have seen your forms, doctors' notes, etc. and you should record the reply. Same applies to medication, appliances, incontinence aids, care plans, etc. Your evidence of incapacity should be noted - it never is, and that's useful if you need to go to appeal.
If they ask you to do something that you can't or don't want to do, tell them to record the reason why you have refused - they won't, but that's fine; your record and/or recording will prove that when Atos write "client declined" on the forms later they have lied about your capability.
Make sure that your witness times the WCA accurately - eg. time spent on computer, time spent on actual examination and/or questioning; they routinely lie about timing on the forms.
When you get home, ring your Benefit Delivery Centre, tell them you have attended, and demand a copy of the Atos report as soon as they receive it.
From now on, every single call to them, make a note of what is said. The operators rarely know what's going on, and they invariably say they will email the relevant section who may call you back in X hours/days. Make them read the email back to you and write it down.
When you get the decision, you might get a phone call. They will tell you that you didn't get enough points/whatever, and if you don't agree they will tell you to appeal. This is a lie.
You might not get a call, just a letter - either way the procedure to follow is the same.
You must phone the BDC, and tell them you demand a reconsideration - and you insist on your right to have all time limits for recon/appeal suspended from that moment - you want copies of ALL the evidence used to make the decision, (everything - your ESA50, your medical evidence, your Atos report, the lot) and you want a copy of the LT54. This is the document that Decision Makers use to list the evidence used and calculate points - they rarely, if ever, use the medical information supplied; if there is any confusion they ask the in-house Atos person (yes, they work in DWP too) for "advice". This LT54 is very important, as it shows how the decision was made - they will say, if you ask for a recon, that you must provide new evidence, but if you can prove they have not even considered the original evidence, you don't need to.
DWP always tell people to appeal - this is so that they can shelve you on appeal rate ESA for the duration. Even if you qualify for WRAG, they won't pay it while you wait for your hearing.
If the recon doesn't get a result, you may have to appeal - which is where all those forms come in.
The Tribunals are not there to decide whether or not you are ill - they are there to determine if the Secretary of State has complied with the law. This distinction is important.
If DWP have not complied with their own rules, you will win. If there is any evidence of misdirection (e.g. telling you to appeal before the other options have been exhausted) or of maladministration (e.g. not using all the available evidence and giving it equal weight, not completing the forms properly, not applying the descriptors correctly) you will win.
I got a WRAG decision last year that was wrong on medical grounds - and I had a recon done that was so badly administered that when I sent a 10-page letter refuting the contents, I got Support Group backdated to the beginning of my claim and a craven apology. I can send it to you if you like - it'll give you an idea of how nit-picky you have to be to fight these morons. It CAN be done, and if I can help in any way, let me know.
Share personal experiences or ask general benefit-related queries
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michael barton wrote:thanks for that can you send me a copy of the report they sent you thanks
ephemerid wrote:michael barton wrote:thanks for that can you send me a copy of the report they sent you thanks
That post was in reply to someone I know - and was after some discussion about the WCA.
This particular thread is not complete; we had a few problems with the site for a bit, and the admin bods managed to retrieve some of the content but not all in some cases.
If you have a specific question, I'll be happy to help if I can.
Please forgive me, but as I don't know you yet I'm not sure I want to send the report I referred to plus it may not be applicable to your situation. (It's got lots of -ahem - personal medical detail)
Not being rude here, just a little bit careful.