Disabled? There’s only one way to make Atos ESA assessors understand your condition

Insanity: Apologies for using this image yet again but it perfectly encapsulates the lunacy that is rampant in the Department for Work and Pensions, headed up by Iain 'I believe' Smith.

Insanity: Apologies for using this image yet again but it perfectly encapsulates the lunacy that is rampant in the Department for Work and Pensions, headed up by Iain ‘I believe’ Smith.

We’re all getting to the point now, aren’t we?

You know what point I mean; the point where we realise that we can no longer afford to believe our dealings with the Department for Work and Pensions – including any of its representatives – involve contact with rational human beings.

There is nothing rational about DWP decisions. We’ve known that all along, but now we have enough evidence to prove it.

Look at the Daily Mirror‘s story today: Almost half of the ESA claimants who are known to have progressive conditions like Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis are being refused admission to the support group.

Instead, they’ve been put into the work-related activity group, which means they are expected to recover from these permanently-disabling ailments to a point at which they could look for work.

This is, of course, impossible.

All doctors know it is impossible.

Atos assessors are said to be doctors. Therefore they should know it is impossible.

An Atos spokesperson, quoted in the article, tried to cover the company’s arse by saying decisions are made by the DWP.

The DWP spokesperson said, “There is strong evidence working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition.”

Like Parkinson’s?

A condition like that of the gentleman quoted in the report, who gave up working six years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and who can no longer do even basic things?

Nobody can say he didn’t try to keep going for as long as he possibly could. But he was repeatedly told he would be able to recover from his progressively worsening condition and work again, and now the DWP is refusing to carry out any more assessments on him.

Closer to home, Mrs Mike – my own long-suffering significant other – first began experiencing the chronic pain that eventually stopped her from working in 2001. She soldiered on for a further two years before being signed off work by her doctor after spending a lengthening series of time on sick leave.

Her condition has worsened progressively since then, resisting all attempts at treatment. She was granted Incapacity Benefit but this was changed to ESA last year. She was put in the work-related activity group but appealed against this after being told by a work programme provider that she would not be healthy enough to work by the time her benefit ended, and that she should seek reconsideration (or appeal) with a view to being put in the support group.

She did this, but the DWP has sat on the request for almost six months without doing anything, waiting for her benefit period to end so she could be signed off and claimed as a “positive benefit outcome”. This finally happened, two weeks ago.

They say she must be fit for work now. In fact, her health is worse than ever.


And – as this is the prevailing attitude at the DWP – we can say that the DWP attitude as a whole is irrational.

(We know the DWP monitors this site, so: Hello, DWP snooper! Are you aware you’re quite mad?)

It’s reminiscent of the stories about amputees being asked when their limbs were likely to grow back. That, too, was irrational.

It does offer a way out, for those people under threat from these idiots and the Atos employees working for them. Not a particularly nice way, as you’ll see – but probably the only way that will work:

Anyone going to a work capability assessment takes an able-bodied friend with them. As soon as they are alone with the assessor, the able-bodied friend rips the Atos employee’s lower jaw off and destroys it. It doesn’t matter how.

(I told you it wasn’t a particularly nice way!)

For the claimant, and their friend, this course of action leads to a secure future in prison, where their bed and board will be supported by the taxpayer (albeit at considerably greater expense than if the DWP had just put them in the support group).

For the assessor, it provides insight into the plight of those he or she has been working with; sometime in their own future, they will know exactly how it feels to have one of their own colleagues asking, “How long before it grows back and you can get back to work?”

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that anyone should actually go out and perform such a heinous act on a (so-called) medical professional.

But I maintain that they will never accept the seriousness of your condition unless they are made to suffer it – or something similar – themselves.


  1. peter davies August 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    this is powerfukl stuff keep hoighlighting the dwp’s position – lets hope ids suffers some ething himself & can be assessed by atos & sent back to work

  2. Mike Sivier August 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I contacted our MP on behalf of Mrs Mike, and he put our case up to the DWP’s ‘complaints resolution department’ last week. Today she had a call from our MP’s office, saying the DWP won’t release any information without Mrs Mike’s permission – which she had already given, of course, by making the complaint through our MP in the first place!

    More delaying tactics from the Department of Worthless Procrastination.

    Guy Fawkes was right. The only way to get anything positive from this lot is to put dynamite under them.

  3. paul jackman (@paulfitter) August 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    that tell me all the people that been struck off as got a case of discrimination by this government under there law they have broken i rest my case

  4. joanna August 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    We need a 21st century version of guy fawkes, only much more competant!!!!!

  5. Alex Casale August 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    The term irrational is often used in psychotherapy and the concept of irrationality is especially known in rational emotive behavior therapy originated and developed by American psychologist Albert Ellis. In this approach, the term irrational is used in a slightly different way than in general. Here irrationality is defined as the tendency and leaning that humans have to act, emote and think in ways that are inflexible, unrealistic, absolutist and most importantly self-defeating and socially defeating and destructive. I am of the opinion that this government is not being irrational. They know exactly what they are doing. They are in fact resorting to genocide.
    “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.”

    • Big Bill August 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      They are, in short, withdrawing life support for the lower orders stating with the disabled. Labour seem intent on continuting with this and there is the theory extant that the endgame is to do away with much of the earth’s population leaving a resource-filled wonderland for the handful of very wealthy survivors. It’s a theory as is mine above. Perhaps there’s a bit of both going on.

    • paul8ar August 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      thats more to the point, i suppose but i do share the frustration of the article. it is the systematic and deliberate destruction of the welfare state. it is cold, calculated and rooted in ideology.
      the real evil here is beginning with the most vulnerable. one quote said that a society is judged by how it treats those.
      this govt have started with the most vulnerable. having got away with it under the nose of the public in general they have proved that their propaganda machine works. they will now be unstoppable, having done the worst part and got away with it.
      i find this terrifying. deeply.

      • Big Bill August 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

        Naw, like all predators they pick on the weakest and the helpless. Like all predators, they’re cowards. When the bankers behind them force them to really start in on the middle class they’ll get creamed. Be a few years yet though. Lots of ugly to come in between!

  6. Big Bill August 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    The behaviour of the DWP and Atos is entirely rational if you assume their endgame is to end the benefits system by making benefits impossible to claim. This would open the door to the disgraced American insurance company Unum to step in and hoover up profits in the newly created multi-billion pound insurance market. Lovely jubbly for all, especially, one imagines, the senior personnel at the DWP who’ve helped bring this situation about. I find it easy to believe Unum would be very, very grateful. We know Unum are involved as the WCA, as was the PCA before it, is strikingly similar to the tests Unum used to deny disability premiums in America and we know from Private Eye and Soundings they’ve been acting as advisors to the DWP on ‘welfare reform’ since the 90s. So the DWP and Atos’s behaviour is despicable maybe but certainly not irrational.

  7. Mike Sivier August 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    I stand by my words. It IS irrational to claim that a person with a progressively-worsening physical condition, who cannot currently work, is going to recover enough to work.

    This has nothing to do with the overarching ‘theme’ of the DWP under this and previous governments, which has been, as Big Bill says, to end the benefits system, make benefits impossible (or at least very difficult) to claim, and open the UK up to benefits insurance fraud of the kind that has previously been operated by Unum.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

  8. Richard Iles August 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    I’m scared.
    I have Chronic Pain Syndrome myself and the last two years have drastically changed my life, perhaps forever… who knows?
    I don’t know what is going to happen to me when my ESA runs out (I did get on the support group luckily) my condition grows worse with new pain every day. I have gained weight through lack of movement but people don’t understand, I CAN’T JUST GET UP AND GO FOR A WALK. 10 minutes, if that and I am on the floor. :(

    • Big Bill August 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Since you’re in the SG your ESA is permanent. Unless you’re reassessed and found fit to work of course, in which case you run the risk of dying from starvation and cold as we all do.

  9. elaine4queen August 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    It’s been a year and a half since I appealed the decision to consider me ‘work capable’. There have been two cancelled tribunals, the last of which cancelled with two hours to go. They said they needed more up to date medical evidence, which seemed fair enough since they had taken so long about it… then the other day I got a letter with ‘updated’ evidence which was from several years ago when I was on Incapacity… I have no idea what they are up to except that one of my complaints was that they had said they’d assessed me but that they actually hadn’t. I’m beginning to wonder if they are waiting for the assessor to die.

  10. None of the Above August 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    The concensus seems to be that there is a rationale, probably to end the benefits system, possibly to replace it with a private and lucrative one, the question is, what do we do about it. I’m reminded of the Martin Niemöller poem First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist …, but in this case I’m not sure speaking out is enough

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      I’ve used the Niemoller poem ad nauseam, so I know exactly what you mean.

  11. Rob August 27, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Atos said I was fine when I broken down in an atos meeting, I was extremely Ill from Crohns Disease and was also homeless after the single room rate was abolished…. I almost suicided over it but my friends intervened and thanks to them, I am still around.

    Atos deserve the death penalty for what they have done to our sick and poorly.

  12. Douglas Taylor August 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    The saddest thing is that the people we{r at least some of us} elected the cretins into their positions and they appointed further cretins to adjudicate {sometimes without seeing the subject of the enquiry}on their fitness for future work. The problem seems to be that nobody accepts responsibility for making that decision,Each one blaming the other.I have great difficulty in controlling my language but know that it will not make one iota of difference to the uncaring self effacing smug little rich boys in the civil service and government and the lap-dogs of Cameron and his Cronies.They are only “IN IT” for their own self glorifycation “WE ARE VERY DEFINITELY NOT IN THIS TOGETHER” There are going to be very many people {i.e. current students,pensioners,unemployed people young people in schools without prospects etc} who are going to be able to vote in the very near future and they will show their true anger then,when the time comes. I suppose Cameron and his mates will not care a jot because “THEY ARE ALRIGHT JACK” and don’t need their salaries to live on.When they lose their seats in Parliament it will be a case of “SxD em all” and they will never think “Oh dear,what did I do to deserve this?” I hope that they remember that Margaret Thatcher left Downing Street in tears and that they ponder about that. I would say that I am NOT a labour supporter but in the past have supported the Lib/Dems and before them the Liberal party but I find it impossible to continue on that road. As you will gather,I will certainly not support the Conservatives. I have been in Education since 1964 and have seen the standards in Education drop in our Country from being the best in the World to one of the worst now. I taught Mathematics and have a 1979 text book titled “O LEVEL MATHEMATICS” and it waswritten by W.Harwood Clarke. Now it is a fact that many “A” level students do not know how to approach the questions in this book.I have seen repeated government interfereance since 1979 which has only resulted in watering down the quality of achievement y our students year by year.I despair of all political parties nowand am sorely tempted either to vote UKIP or BNP despite the fact that I hate for the BNP stands for and regard UKIP as being totally ineffective. Mr Gove certainly has not impressed me with his whimperings about educational standards. I do think that this is atotal waste of time and intellect on writing something the won’t probably ever be read,but be warned the election is not so far away now

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Expect this comment to be read by a few thousand people, Douglas. They won’t all comment on it, but some might find food for thought in it.

      • Stormkeeper August 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

        I certainly have found food for thought in the comment; it’s a tragic state of affairs when a country goes in a downward spiral.

      • Joanna April 6, 2014 at 12:20 am - Reply

        I don’t know if this is a factor, but I know 3 people who are in the support group, each one of those people have been brought up in “children’s homes”. Including me, all are suffering with long-term depression. Obviously not everyone in the support group has such backgrounds, but I do wonder if that could be a reason?

    • None of the Above August 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Try voting Independent

  13. darren webb August 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis I have swelling and pain in my right and left hand(right hand worse) also in my left ankle and left knee I’ve been put in wrag but I’m appealing the decision I asked my doctor for help and he said he thinks work would be good for my lifespan and condition so don’t think I’m getting any help from him and must think somebody’s going too rush and employ me. I worked all my life till I got rheumatoid arthritis I’m bad on my feet and cannot grip with my hands the coalition know there condemning disabled people to hardship but don’t give a dam its disgraceful

  14. Stormkeeper August 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In all honesty, while it is possible for a handful of people to recover from their conditions, the majority of people will either not recover from their condition or they get progressively worse. It’s (extremely) tragic when a government starts seeing its citizens as basically a number on a sheet, or basically a financial liability. Actually, it’s not tragic at all, it’s appalling what’s going on, because it’ basically dehumanising anyone who basically is not fit, healthy or rich. I don’t see how they can claim superiority over the rest of us simply because they happen to have any money.

    Not that I expect this to happen overnight, but the MPs, politicians and rich folk need to recall that 1) we all are born into the world exactly the same way, and 2) circumstances of birth could have meant that they were not able to be in the position they are today. Of course, as as been said before, it’s easy to forget that in a second, your entire life can either change for better, or for worse. I can’t for the life of me understand why they feel the need to exterminate anyone who is basically worse off than them, through no fault of their own; it’s like we’re all being punished simply for existing… that’s not right at all.

    I still see the huge irony in “Double Standards” Dave’s position towards disabled people, given his son was disabled. I have to wonder what possesses him to make life worse for disabled and ill people, given the fact his son lived with disabilities before his life was sadly cut short. Most people would have actually used that as motivation to actually try to do more for disabled people, but not Dave… it seems he has some sort of vendetta against disabled people, but I can’t for the life of me work out why.

    As for Iain Duncan Smith… there’s not really much that can be said about him, or many of the other individuals that make up parliament. Of course, the ironic thing is that by dehumanising the poor, sick, disabled, etc. they have actually made themselves inhuman! Funny how that works out.

    • Joan Edington August 29, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

      I expect that “Double Standards” Dave is simply being his naturally vindictive self. If his son has to die, then so has yours.

  15. Thomas August 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I don’t support terrorism but would understand the point of view of the terrorists if they did target ATOS, since other legal non-violent means are impossible (strikes) too small to work (demonstrations) or too expensive (using the law.)

  16. Douglas Taylor August 29, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply


  17. rainbowwarriorlizzie August 30, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply
  18. noneoftheabove1 August 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    If anyone wants to do more than talk I have an idea for action. It’s legal & ethical (and doesn’t involve facial surgery) but not appropriate to discuss in an open forum, so call me on 07761 102 540

  19. […] We're all getting to the point now, aren't we? You know what point I mean; the point where we realise that we can no longer afford to believe our dealings with the Department for Work and Pensions …  […]

  20. MS December 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Some very interesting points, but what on earth an we do to change things ????
    I have had my assessment, both he and my GP have said absolutely I cannot work. I have numerous debilitating illnesses. I have appealed after being put on WRAG and sent in lots of medical documents and x-rays confirming my illnesses, BUT STLL THEY WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR MINDS !!!!!! I am now awaiting a tribunal hearing – which is more than likely influenced by the government. I cannot believe ATOS will blatantly go against medial proof and advise, I know I am not alone in this predicament. What on earth are we supposed to do about it ???????????

    • Big Bill December 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      Atos work to quotas set by the DWP and the tribunals don’t. This is why so many pass at tribunals who fail assessments.

      • MS December 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm - Reply

        Thanks for that Big Bill, I am hopeful that common sense will prevail at the tribunal. I shall let you know how I get on, although I do not have a date as yet. I cannot attend the tribunal as I cannot travel, so would imagine this could go against me.

  21. derek January 11, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    hi i hacve multiple conditions COPD asthma bone degeneration (brittal bone) high bp anmd headachs which paralises my whole right side how am i capable of work if i cant move or do anything ????? is this not a human rights issue and therefore the court of human rites should be in formed and act upon it as they are making a person work wen they know it might kill them so putting there life at risk i thought we beat the natzies obviously not if enough people complained to human rites they would have to listen surely

  22. John January 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    ATOS is the governments version of acceptable euthanasia. That might explain why IDS sees himself as a righteous saviour, a saintly figure ending the suffering (and cost of course but that’s not the issue…oh no) of these wretched creatures.

    If you believe in some form of natural justice and the theme that what goes around comes around then these filthy people will end their days in screaming agony, alone.

    I have my assessment today, a whole lifetime of deteriorating physical and psychological problems caused by surgical stupidity at the hands of an utterly incompetent surgeon in my first year who very nearly succeeded in killing me, then a lifetime of real “society” as opposed to the fantasy of tolerant and caring people.

    I did work for nine years but disability took its toll and I had to retire on ill health grounds. Since then I’ve been managing financially but this ATOS charade is causing me severe stress and the burden is going to fall on family, who all have enough of their own problems to deal with.

    I despair but who knows, maybe these ATOS welfare recipients really are miracle workers and I’ll crawl in, receive the magic cure, and stroll out, whole again, and ready to take on the world.

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