A comedy of errors – the 28 page joke that is my PIP assessment.

Today I received the most entertaining and most depressing document of my life. The ATOS report for my Personal Independence Payments assessment.

You may remember I went for my assessment back in July. The guy who assessed me was really nice, he was relaxed and chatty and not like a driving examiner or someone terrifying, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that the document I received today was not due to his incompetence, but due to a broken system that does not allow people to do a good job.

Or spellcheck their documents, apparently:

“…she will manage to put out a bowel of cereal for herself.”

Right. Sounds…disgusting, really.

The guy was typing this as I watched so I know he didn’t try to type it with his head or with both hands tied behind his back.

“Has who cats”. I first interpreted this as meaning I had cats who were in the band The Who, until it was pointed out to me that it probably meant my cats were actually Timelords.

So yes, funny funny ha ha, until I realised that this document was about my life. This document was being provided to someone who would look at it and make a judgment on my quality of life. And there wasn’t even enough time to make sure it had proper spelling and grammar. In 28 pages I counted 31 spelling and grammar mistakes. And that doesn’t even count the sentences where I just thought “I have no idea what he’s trying to say here.” Also, typos can change the meaning of sentences. At one point it says “was the rheumatologist at the hospital” rather than saw the rheumatologist at the hospital” which, while you can say that the DWP knew what he meant, still completely changes the meaning of what’s being said!

The assessment report says that the nice man who conducted my assessment was a physiotherapist. About four pages later it then has a space where he describes what he takes my mental health to be, based solely on his observations. As a physiotherapist. In this regard I feel lucky – I do not have complex mental health needs. However, I do not feel that my physiotherapist assessor was qualified to make mental health assessments of me purely by observation.

I was also observed to have “no abnormal movement in the upper limb” which made me wonder at which point I’d misplaced my other arm.

I’d also contest whether being able to calculate change fulfilled the requirement for “able to manage complex budgeting decisions”

The following quote really needs no further comment other that I found it rather offensive:

“…was of more than average build. Therefore she has no significant functional restriction in relation to taking nutrition.”

So, other than misplacing an arm, changing career and being called fat what was the outcome of this assessment?

Well they assessed me as being able to plan and follow a journey unaided, which anyone who has ever been in a car with me will tell you is really not the case. I was also assessed as being able to walk more than 200 metres, which was proved by the fact I “parked in the multi-storey car a park for which walked from with 2 elbow crutches to the centre (110 metres)

(random sentence structure left in for your own amusement)

It also repeatedly states there is no restriction of movement in my upper limbs, which seeing as I have fibromyalgia and not arthritis, is unsurprising. Fibromyalgia is a pain condition. I can still move my arms around.

This document is ridiculous and laughable. A professional company that puts out assessments on people that will have a profound effect in their lives should not look like the document I was sent today, riddled with spelling and grammar errors, awfully written and completed in a hurry. I went into huge amounts of detail on my application form. The amounts of blank page on this assessment made me feel like this was not an accurate representation.

And it’s not the fault of the assessors. ATOS telling medical professionals to assess patients for things they’re not qualified to assess for. They send out assessment reports that look unprofessional and it just shows that they have no respect for the people they are assessing. They just want them through the door as fast as possible.

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5 Comments on “A comedy of errors – the 28 page joke that is my PIP assessment.”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Having worked for the DWP for a time, no longer thankfully, I apologise on their behalf. It sounds very much like yet another failed service user. My one slight disagreement is about it not being a fault of the assessors. To an extent I feel some responsibility does lie there as they should be challenging the employer if they are not able to make said judgements but are asked to. But this is easier said than done I guess. Hope you get the payments you deserve and not based on a rushed through application.

    • Emsy says:

      Thank you. I did get my payments back in July thankfully, but I only recently asked to be sent a copy of my PIP report.

      I think the broken system means the people on the front lines – assessors for ATOS, DWP etc. – are put into a position where they just have to get the work done. Maybe they should be challenging more but I feel like the organisations would rather provide a good quality of service to the government – get people through fast – than to the service users – detailed and accurate reporting.

  2. John Lockett says:

    Sincere sympathy. The problem starts with IDS, although he will deny it. Beyond that, the application form itself is actually hilarious – if you are not the poor sod who has to fill it in.

    For my own assessment of the form, try: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/03/to-atos-andor-oh-assist-dwp-a-plea-for-logic-any-kind-of-bloody-logic/

  3. Emsy says:

    Reblogged this on EmsyBlog and commented:

    Tomorrow, I’m having another assessment buy ATOS to see if they want to give me disability benefits for another year. In “celebration”, let’s look back at what they said about me last time…

  4. […] Yep, after doing my renewal application for my PIP, I was declined. I was half expecting this anyway but it still came as a shock. So now comes the mandatory reconsideration period and the appeals process. I’ve also requested a copy of my assessment to see if it’s as comedic as the last one was. […]


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