Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Life As A Carer - ATOS Assessment

As Jan is still recovering from her ATOS assessment, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts about the experience...

Enjoy...well, as much as you can a post about such subject matter!


As you may have noticed, I have been quiet of late...the reason for this, Jan's Personal Independance Payment (PIP) ATOS assessment. I thought I'd share with you a little information about what went on, and as an added bonus, tell what you will be seeing from me as soon as normal service resumes fully... Allons-y!

As you will know if you read my last 'Life As A Carer' post, Jan had her ATOS assessment this past Monday...the 17th. For those who don't know what an ATOS assessment is I shall briefly explain. ATOS is some I.T company hired by the government to find a way for them to wriggle out of paying disabled people money that they need to survive, all because, as is the case with everything, you get some people who make fraudulent claims. The ATOS assessment comes some 28-35 weeks (in quick cases, although, I've heard of it taking 52 weeks or more) after they have already received a detailed form from you (or your carer) about your disabilities and how they affect you. The assessment itself is basically a 'heathcare professional' (you never actually see any proof of qualifications) asking you the questionnaire again, trying to catch you in a lie.

Now you know what it is, I shall tell you about our experience of this, our second ATOS assessment in 3 years (technically our third, although, our first assessment wasn't for PIP, or it's predecessor).

Our assessment was scheduled for 10.30am, at a location deemed easily accessible for us by ATOS...this meant Manchester city centre...some 15 miles away, having to set off during morning rush hour, with no car and an inability to use public transport. Luckily, as I mentioned in my previous post, Jan's side of the family are great so her dad took us. When we got there, I say got there, when we got to where the sat-nav said it was, all that greeted us was a bunch of newly built buildings and a car park that was smaller than most McDonald's car parks. There was no sign at all that we were in the right place. Said car park was full too so Jan's dad had to let us out on the road...very disabled friendly! Thanks to a gentleman who was also there for an assessment, and had been previously, we found out where to go, and headed off down a path barely wide enough for a wheel chair. The path to the building was blocked part way down by the box containing the mechanical workings of a parking barrier. This box forcing people pushing/in wheel chairs to have to go around, on the grass...have you tried pushing a wheel chair on wet grass and mud? It's not easy!

When we finally got into the new built (probobably at tax payer expense) building (you could smell fresh paint), past the Jaguar parked outside, we were met with, what has to be, one of the most unobservant receptionists known to man...Jan signed in, showed her ID and the woman said "can you get upstairs or do you need your appointment downstairs?" the person in a wheel chair!!! Turns out she hadn't seen the chair (having heard her sign other people in, it's a standard question), so it appears she doesn't bother with common courtesy!

Our last appointment started over an hour late so it was a pleasent surprise when, at 10.35am, a nice nurse lady (I can't remember her name...I'm terrible with names, plus, I had other things to worry about!) came to get us. The nice nurse lady saw Jan was worried, so spent a few moments reasurring her and offering her a drink. The majority of the assessment was a questionnaire, the same one we had already's full of some incredibly probing and quite demeaning questions. I have to say though, the nice nurse lady was incredibly good throughout and tried making it as easy, and embarrassment free for Jan as she could. The latter part of the assessment is supposed to be a physical exam however, the nice nurse lady kept that part to a minimum to ease Jan's suffering. As you will know from my previous post, some of the assessors are quite, for lack of a better word, nasty. Luckily nice nurse lady was, well...nice! I think it really helped that in her job as a nurse, and a therapist she helps people who suffer from M.E so knows it's effects.

I'd be lying if I said the assessment was pain free, it was far from it. Jan was panicked leading up to it, she was a nervous wreck in the waiting room, and she is now suffering the physically after effects of it. I was also panicked and stressed going into it, as anyone out there will know, when someone you love is worried, or stressed, or facing something unpleasent, you worry for them. Thankfully that part is over now! Now we just have to wait 6-8 weeks to found out the decision of our claim...cue another 6-8 weeks of worrying!

Have you had any dealings with the DWP and ATOS about PIP? How have you found the experience? Leave me your thoughts below...

As promised at the start, here is what I am working on...

Currently I am part way through writing reviews for some Marvel Legends Spider-Man Infinite Series figures, including...Movie Electro, Ultimate Beetle, Carnage, and the Ultimate Green Goblin Build A Figure. As well as those figure reviews, I am also part way though writing a review of Candy Japan...a subscription service that sends you 1-3 packs of sweets twice a month from Japan. On top of that, I hope to be able to bring you lots more figure reviews, movie reviews and all sorts of other good stuff!

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

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