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PIP: Should I appeal/complain to ATOS?

krisbeekrisbee Member Posts: 3 Listener

I really need some advice about whether I should go to the Appeal stage after making some ground in MR. Should I also be complaining to ATOS?

After reading this forum, my DLA to PIP move is a depressingly familiar story.  I was given a permanent DLA award in 2013 at higher rate for care & mobility,  I ended up with a zero award after the F2F assessment, which took place in my home.

The copy of the ATOS assessor’s report contained multiple inaccuracies, misrepresentations and at least one blatant falsehood.

It took all my meagre energy to argue my case on paper to the DWP.  Not helped by a breakdown in communications with my GP.  It was obvious the ATOS assessor had made no attempt what so ever to get FME from the Consultants I quoted on my original PIP claim form, not even for my own GP.  I did manage to find some medical evidence among my own paper work to backup one aspect of my objections to the PIP decision.

I’ve recently received the MR decision and have now been awarded standard rate for care, but still nothing for mobility.  So that’s a partial victory, I guess.  At 66 years old, the MR says I will not be contacted about PIP again until after October 2020.

I don’t know if I’m right to suppose this change in the DWP decision is a tacit acceptance that the ATOS report contains a falsehood, etc. The MR letter does say, “If you consider that there are inaccuracies or discrepancies in the information provided by their health professional, or you have any concerns with how the consultation was conducted, you need to take this up directly with the assessment provider ATOS, under their complaints procedure”.

I have genuine and long standing mobility problems, but it’s hard to know if it’s worth appealing as I judge I would only be awarded standard mobility rate under PIP, assuming a fair and accurate assessment.

My major problem with an appeal is I would be unable to attend in person. Reading posts made by @mikehughescq the likely hood of a “paper based “ appeal being successful seems pretty low.   

Is there anything to be gained in complaining to ATOS? I’ve read that people have got the ICO involved too, saying ATOS holds false data about themselves and have made a “subject access request” under the GDPR, etc. Would anyone care to outline/explain what’s involved and how they benefited from this?

I feel exhausted after the effort of challenging the original PIP decision at the end of 2018 and don’t know if I can cope with an Appeal and complaining to ATOS, but the sense of moral outrage is still very strong.












Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,182 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello and welcome, as you will know the two benefits DLA and PIP are accessed differently one about your illnesses, disability and the PIP is all about your abilities to meet do the descriptiors in the PIP application form and acessment. Having a long award on DLA dosent mean an automatically the same award for PIP as you are being accessed on your abilities not disability. Taking your case to tribural if you feel up to it and can appear in person is the best option if you feel that your award was wrongly given considering the different acessment criteria from DLA and PIP
  • krisbeekrisbee Member Posts: 3 Listener
    @wilko I completely understand DLA and PIP awards are based on different criteria. Having successfully argued and got the original PIP changed for care, my assessment of the best outcome re: appealing mobility would be standard rate under PIP. 

    Why are DWP suggesting I complain to ATOS?  They appear bound to accept ATOS report regardless of whether it's fit for purpose, or not.  If you go to appeal, is there any point in complaining to ATOS other than getting personal data corrected? Or, is a review of the ATOS assessment report part of the appeal process?






  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The reason you've been told to complain to ATOS is because they are the ones that do the assessments and write the reports. The report has nothing to do with DWP and they won't be interested in any lies told.

    You can certainly put a complaint into the health assessment providers but don't expect a reply from them. I've hear that they don't often respond to any complaint.

    When requesting the Tribunal it's always better to appear in person and the Tribunal may request that you attend because it's not always possible to make a decision based on the evidence alone. Success rates for those that have paper based decisions with a Tribunal are less than 10%, in fact i think it's as low as 8%.

    Appearing in person this increases to 71% if you're represented and about 50% if you're not.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • krisbeekrisbee Member Posts: 3 Listener
    @poppy123456 et al: 

    So is the DWP comment about complaining to ATOS just a standard part of the MR letter, or does it have any special significance? I'd still like to hear other opinions. 

    Seems I'm caught in the proverbial catch-22: not fit to travel to an appeal tribunal, so can't successfully appeal about my mobility problems. 

    Any advice about how to get free representation, or is that not available?

  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 374 Pioneering
    Statistics regarding a paper appeal does not mean that you will be unsuccessful if you have the ability to state your case on paper and get your point over you can win
    I won a paper tribunal and you could be one of the 8% too
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 965 Disability Gamechanger
    I made a complaint about the health assessment provider with mixed results.Essentially they just ignored what I said.The content of their latest letter is hard to believe - specifically referring to a 'clinical review', which wasn't written until a week later, and to a document which they said had been destroyed.

    That apart they have sent an 'updated' report to DWP which more than doubles all of the points that I was awarded. I'm now waiting for DWP to have a look at it.

    I'd complain if you think that there are blatant errors which you can prove; in my experience they are highly unlikely to admit that they're at fault...

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Complaining about the assessment report is not a standard part of the MR letter. You need to write to the health assessment providers to complain. See their website for their complaints procedure.

    Some advice centres will represent you and there's no charge. You shouldn't pay to be represented. You can still request a paper based decision this way.

    See link for what's in your area. CAB no longer represent people but welfare rights and law centres do.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 965 Disability Gamechanger
    In the interests of fairness can I correct my previous remark about referring to a destroyed report.... having re-read their letter I think that this is not the case (although it's not at all clear)
  • YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
    cristobal said:
    I'd complain if you think that there are blatant errors which you can prove; in my experience they are highly unlikely to admit that they're at fault...
    I agree. With complaints to the assessing company you will have to be prepared to prove that what has been stated factually is untrue. As for arguing that what was written does not agree with what was said, you will probably find that the company will say that it is your word against theirs.
  • YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2019

    Some advice centres will represent you and there's no charge. You shouldn't pay to be represented. You can still request a paper based decision this way.

    See link for what's in your area. CAB no longer represent people but welfare rights and law centres do.

    As you say some may and others won't.
    The link, if I take my area (South East) and excluding London which is only specific if you reside in a particular borough, tends only to show AgeUK & CAB.
    From my experience neither offer any form of personal representation at a Tribunal.

    Unfortunately due to the lack of quality resources in some areas that deal with welfare benefit representation - paying for it is the only way you can get this service, as in my own case.
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