Work capability assessor asked why depressed claimant had not committed suicide


An ESA claimant has explained how an Atos work capability assessor asked her why she had not yet killed herself, after she admitted suffering with depression.

Abi Fallows described the interview on the I bet I can find a million people who DON’T want David Cameron as our PM Facebook group after reading Vox Political‘s article on the hidden cost of the Coalition Government’s benefits policy.

“At my last Atos ‘assessment’, when mentioning depression, the ‘assessor’ asked me why I hadn’t killed myself yet,” she told astonished members of the Facebook group.

She said the assessors’ attitude seemed to be that she couldn’t be depressed if she had not already killed herself: “I’ve noticed a few people, over the last year or so, going to Atos with depression are being asked that same question.

“I tried signing on for Jobseekers [Allowance], but thanks to the wonderful ‘Y’, who I saw, she said I was no way fit to work under any circumstances because I’d always be set up to fail.

“I had a doctor’s appointment this morning (December 4) and I told my doc. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a doctor swear like that. The doctor swearing in response – a rather softly spoken voice – said, and I quote: ‘Holy shiiiiiiiit!'”

But it seems the scandalised claimant is set to have the last word because – unknown to her assessor – she recorded the entire incident.

“I shall hold my hands up and admit I did record it without their knowledge because sometimes my memory gets fragmented during these ‘assessments’ – it takes me a while to comprehend what’s happened,” she explained.

“I went to that assessment armed to the teeth with as much stuff as I could take with me. It’s not my fault that the evidence I needed didn’t arrive until after my assessment – as is the case with many others.

“[It is] almost like Atos want you to be there for your assessment as helpless as possible so they can fail you quicker – and if that behaviour can be proved, a lot more cases could be overturned.

“I’ve recorded two out of three assessments that I’ve had in recent years – and no doubt I shall continue to record them and expose them for the abject failures that they are. In fact, if we all do that, then there’s no way ever that they’d be able to get away with things. It’s the simplest and best form of direct action.

“For some of us, it’s the only action we’ve got left to take.”

She added that she had been “instructed” to email her MP. “That email went out at the end of last week and I’m sitting here waiting to get an answer – if not, I know the time and date of her next surgery and will attend that.”

In conclusion, she said: “Yeah – I’m sick of being sick.

“And I’m sick of sick-thinking people, sickly requesting that we should all pretty much piss off and die.”

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  1. Dominique December 6, 2014 at 12:38 am - Reply

    They asked me too at my assessment. I told them, because of my children… but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.

  2. laurettalottiepearson December 6, 2014 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Back in 2009 I was asked by a TNG worker: “how come they didn’t give you a new heart?” and “why can’t you take your computer into hospital with you?” In hospital I was constantly vomiting and sleeping when I could, I was described as “seriously ill”. These people are chosen for there lack of empathy and of course medical knowledge. The TNG worker told me she used to be a Nurse. I checked up and she used to be an Auxiliary nurse. She assisted nurses and doctors. Knew absolutely nothing about Ebstein’s Anomaly or HOCM. I was in and out of hospital at least once a month. One time she phoned me at home because I’d missed my appointment due to being in hospital, luckily a nurse was at my home and asked me “who is that?” took the phone of me and gave her a piece of her mind and told her how ill I was. One time in hospital I was deprived of water. I rang my dad to get me out of hospital and asked him to purchase water on his way in. I hadn’t had water for 24 hours. Just the tip of the Iceberg of my sickness woes. Bastards the lot of them. Sorry for my language.

  3. leonc1963 December 6, 2014 at 12:51 am - Reply

    Lost for words, but just how Barbaric can they get

  4. Thomas M December 6, 2014 at 6:18 am - Reply

    This government seems to want to kill disabled people.

  5. Amelia Louise Ashton-Brooke December 6, 2014 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Some-one suffering depression already feels pretty worthless so could easily be tipped over the edge with such a callous question when all you can do is survive one day at a time. Is that really their aim, to get rid of us?

    • Mike Sivier December 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Or at least, it seems to be.

  6. Neil Mac December 6, 2014 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Sickened, but not surprised.

  7. jaynel62 December 6, 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I was asked the same question by Capita as well as ATOS, I wonder if it’s in the DWP ‘Script’?

  8. HomerJS December 6, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

    We need to talk about this as much as we can, in the hope that the word spreads. We certainly can’t rely on the MSM to inform people.

  9. Tony Dean December 6, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Can anyone reference a link to the “unofficial” full list of deaths related to the Work Capability Assessment please. (I wish to print it out and send it to certain people’s home addresses as a Christmas card.)

  10. Jason Ellis December 6, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Yes so true, too many talks, less action on the real fact of solutions

  11. Niki December 6, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

    I’m very glad she recorded them and I hope she publishes it so we can make it go viral…..such an evil thing to say to anyone let alone someone with clinical depression. Talk about a trigger!!!!

  12. kaz December 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Unfeeling and distressing . I challenged an Atos des assessment as he examined the wrong side I had had a stroke and his assessment was upheld! Thank God they have lost the contract but how much longer do we have to suffer such incompetence and damaging assessment.

    • Mary December 6, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      I’ve got an assessment for PIP coming up with Atos. They’re slowly phasing them out. But not fast enough for my liking.

  13. James Drummond December 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    The answer to that – why haven’t you committed suicide is because of the medication I take before being confronted by you asking why I haven’t taken my own life.

  14. Nick December 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    they always say things like that at any home appointment they always say to me you still here of which i always say apparently

    only a few seam to be able to look deep and say you don’t look well a little peaky are you snowed in with paperwork

    well it is tough and over the years it’s got worse there are 3 people in my life me my wife and the DWP

    what a life who the hell needs it I’d be better off in Burma at least for the most part i would be living in the warm albeit on rice and beans

  15. ,arjorie arnold December 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    i really dont understand what this country is coming to. can they sink any lower?

  16. S.L.Mountford December 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    To think an ATOS advisor did this but that is not surprising as they are not interested in anyones condition all they are interested in is ticking the boxes for IDS works dept, They are not interested in the medical conditions because they will refute that you even have one all they are interested in is getting you into employment, even if it is appropriate or not as they are paid on percentages rather than your medical conditions you may have. They don’t even want to know if your disability is congenitial or one that might have happened due to circumstances in a life issue. They only see you as a fit note rather than a sick note even though you don’t want to be in this situation but they refuse to listen or help you as they all pee in the same pot. So you own understanding and your disability means nothing as far as the ATOS as it says in the word toss they don’t listen to what you have to say as long as IDS is at the helm of the Department of Work and Pensions. People with disabilities whether it be mental or physical will always come off as the people at the bottom of the barrel in their meanings.

  17. amnesiaclinic December 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Very effective direct action. Then follow it up by a meeting with you MP with the evidence would soon stop this nonsense.

    Well done!!


  18. joanna may December 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    I was recently acquainted with someone who is on the assessment phase of esa, but she believes in IDS and what he does, she also reads the daily fail, needless to say I want nothing to do with her, oh and she says she has a heart condition, yet cycles everywhere and she has 3 jobs on the side! go figure!

  19. Mary December 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    I’m very lucky to have a brilliant GP who helped me a lot with her ‘evidence’ for my ESA claim. I didn’t have to have an assessment. I got a letter from the DWP to say that I was in the Support Group for ESA.

    I’ve got a PIP assessment coming up (with Atos because they’re still ‘responsible’ for the PIP claims in this area). I’m going to be taking my advocate and a friend, because I have personality disorders, I don’t communicate so well in person, especially when there’s new people around, and even more-so in that kind of situation. So my friend is going to take notes (not that she knows it yet) and keep a track of everything that’s said as I can’t keep up a lot of the time these days. (Which is incredibly frustrating, considering that I was at uni training to become a teacher).

    I don’t think it’s the assessors that are at fault here, I think it’s the system. They are told what questions to ask and what boxes to tick. Unfortunately, they have their common sense and judgement removed because that would mean that more people get the benefits, and IDS’s people don’t want that.

    • George Berger December 7, 2014 at 7:32 am - Reply

      If assessors are told to ask such impertinent, degrading, questions as routinely as the comments here suggest, one should ask why this is so.

  20. Paul December 7, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    They asked me the same question. I said I was too weak to do it

    • Debbie December 17, 2014 at 12:26 am - Reply

      You aren’t too weak.
      You’re strong enough to keep going. I’ve felt like I could no longer go on before, and managed to somehow still plod forward. Many people are stronger than they seem and it is being strong for too long that hurts so much.

  21. Y. Dawson December 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I was forced to walk in the deep snow of Buxton to go to work with a pericardial effusion and a pleuritic sounding chest because assessors said I was fit for work.

  22. Lynne Ismail December 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    It beggers belief that people in this country are so devoid of empathy and humanity that they could even ask such a sick question. Even if it is the fault of the system rather than the assessors, how could they be a party to such atrocity. I would rather commit suicide than be forced to be complicit to such barbarity!

  23. paul lee December 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    i suffer from ptsd from aganistan guess what they said to me atos in blackpool my best mate was blowen to bits on patrol and 3 of us were badley injured by the blast I recived bad injury to laft side of brain and the stupid atos work who was French said MAYBE YOUR PERMANANT BRAIN INJURY WILL HEAL ITS SELF !!!! SHE STARTED TAKING IN FRENCH TO HER WORK FRIEND THEN I DROP THE BOMB SHELL AND SHOWED MY 2 REP FFL ID CARD AND THERE FACES DRPPED AND WHEN WHITE AS A GHOST PUT THAT IN YER PIPE AND SMOKE IT SO I DUELY APPEALED AND WAS NO LONGER THAN 30 SECS AND IT WAS ALLOWED TRAA JOB DONE LOL bonjour Madame. bottom line as they thick or what a permanent brain injury does not heal heads !

  24. Shelley Anne Thompson December 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    After my ATOS assessment, my assessor told me that I needed to ‘man up’ Not a word of a lie. I too live with clinical depression amongst other health issues. I wish I had recorded it. This was after a two-hour wait in the assessment centre due to ‘delays’. I couldn’t face re-booking the assessment when offered because I didn’t want to go through the anxiety again, so decided to stick it out. Worse still, a woman who should have never been anywhere near an ATOS assessment centre because she was so mentally disturbed flipped out and the staff had no contingency plans for dealing with her. It was horrendous, as was the assessment itself. I had a panic attack while waiting, which I dealt with in the toilets but got upset when my name was eventually called, hence, I think the ‘man up’ comment as I was exiting the building. Left that day feeling utterly worthless and six weeks on am still waiting for an outcome. I can more or less predict what it’s going to be. This really did happen and I will never forget that day as long as I live.

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