The last few days I have really felt like an information collecting machine and hoarding the most shocking revelations I’ve seen. And the government is a pimp….
Firstly my background story of the last year or so – skip to the bottom if you just want to see the videos and links related to the government’s destruction of life…. the stories are heartbreaking.
Having been taken off benefits last April? May? for not attending an ATOS meeting or failing to give good reason as to why (at the time I was not dealing with paperwork or opening post – which came to a head when I suffered the very degrading experience of being taken from my home at 8am in the morning, arrested and locked in a cell and taken to court for failing to pay a fine I’d received from a speeding ticket – 36 in a 30mph zone (a very wide dual carriageway, with no housing at the side, a very wide grass verge in the middle and 1am in the morning – I genuinely thought it was a 40mph road, but that’s irrelevant).
My ATOS assessment was 2 days after this – I didn’t leave my house, speak to anyone, eat or dress properly for five days as I was in such a state. The last thing on my mind was letting these idiots know I couldn’t come and try to explain why. The humiliation of saying I’d been arrested was too much. I told no one. That one day in police cells was awful. The judge saw my distressed state as I’d also been crying the whole day and was bordering hysteria. He also reduced my fine and said I must open the letter that will be sent. So I now have a criminal record for failing to appear in court.
A couple of weeks later I received the DWP letter stating that because I didn’t attend my assessment and failed to give a reason, my IB had been stopped and I couldn’t reclaim for 6 months and so I have lived off thin air, donations from my family and the support of my mother ever since.
This led to a further bout of locking myself away and not opening letters.
Stay with me, this is all leading somewhere.
A couple of months later a friend came round to see and I popped to mum’s across the road to get some milk from my mum’s and, on my return, my friend told me the police had been round (I had seen the van and yes I admit I did wait until it left). I went into immediate panic mode, convinced this time they would send me to prison. She tried to phone the mental health team. (I’d seen someone some time ago but I’d been moved so many times with the NHS reorganisation and merging that I had no idea who I was supposed to see and when I stopped attending appointments, no one contacted me anyway.) Now I REALLY needed some help as I was convinced I was going to prison. I just wanted someone to reassure me, and maybe come to the police station with me. After a lengthy phone conversation between my friend and the receptionist, they managed to calm me down and I spoke to her myself. She said I couldn’t see anyone because I’d been taken off the books and I would have to go back to my doctor for a new referral. In my rants I’d said about the benefits being stopped and that I believed I was just being left to die and was facing eviction as no rent had been paid, but that hadn’t worked, so I was now being sent to prison. She said I had to go back to my doctor for an appointment and I’d have to go for an ASSESSMENT (groan). She also said she’d get some housing company to call me to sort my benefits out – that never happened, I’ve heard nothing more from them. I did subsequently try to make an appointment with my doctor but they kept asking me to call back each morning and I gave up.
The next morning at 8.30 when all the children were on their way to school, the neighbours were around or going to work – the busiest time of day where I live, a huge police van arrived and three officers arrested me. Oh and just to add to the embarrassment I had a workman there because I’d flooded my bathroom by forgetting to turn the bath off (my mum subsequently bought me a shower) and it had damaged the ceiling. I was given no time to shower or contact anyone but was taken to the local police station where I spent over 30 hours in police custody even after begging and pleading not to be sent to prison or kept in overnight. (I don’t sleep well at the best of times which is prob why I’m typing this at 4 in the morning.) Due to my distressed state the custody officer believed I was in no fit state to be held as I was extremely distraught and that I needed to see a doctor for an ASSESSMENT (by now this word alone was enough to bring on another ‘curl up in a ball and cry like a baby when i felt like screaming like a banshee’ incident. Who wouldn’t be in a state, I’m not in the habit of being arrested, it’s a whole new world), but the nurse (i thought I was seeing a dr) said otherwise – she came to the this conclusion by asking if I have suicidal thoughts, no I don’t, and then without even having looked at me the whole time, stated I was fine to be locked away. I cried non stop the whole time I was there.
All this was because I failed to send back a ticket requesting me to name the driver on a speeding ticket resulting in failure to appear at court – a speeding ticket from the previous November, this time 42 mph over the speeding limit on a 40mph urban highway that had changed from 50mph to 40mph and I didn’t realise.
This hysteria started again when I asked at 5pm what was happening and found out they really were keeping me in overnight as the court was in Derby and there had been no sitting that day – this was just over a week after I was due in court btw. I’d had no food or drink because there was a camera in the cell and there is no way I would have been able to use the toilet with a camera there. Also there was no toilet roll, apparently you have to ask for it – NO WAY was that going to happen. I did ring the buzzer once during the night to get a blanket as I was freezing. I had bare feet as I’d just slipped a pair of flat shoes on but no shoes were allowed in the cell. I assumed they would have bought a blanket as I could hear them asking everyone who came in if they wanted one and I was being watched because every 30 minutes or so the light went on and they looked through the hole in the door. I finally got to court at 2.30 the next day still having had no shower or wash because no woman officer was on duty. the other reason I couldn’t use the toilet was because I was on my period and had no clean sanitary wear with me, and what was i supposed to do with the one I was wearing? Hand it to the police man asking ‘please sir, can I have some more’. There was no basin in the cell either so wash my hands – very degrading
RIGHT – WE’RE ALMOST GETTING TO THE POINT
I then had a bout of physical illness in November which resulted in me bleeding non stop for the whole of December, all clear in Jan and then again from Feb until beginning of April. I couldn’t even stand up without flooding the place (sorry gory details but a bit important, or it will be). I refused to go to the doctors or hospital as I thought they’d just dismiss it as ‘my age’. However one night I was in so much pain and in such a mess, my mum took me to the hospital on the advice of NHS direct who we’d called at 4 in the morning. The hospital referred me back to my doctor again.
By this point mum had enough of both supporting me financially and trying to support me mentally and called the doctor insisting on an appointment. He gave me a medical note stating recurring depression (I was forced to give up work after 29 years 5 years ago due to nervous exhaustion which has resulted in varying degrees of mental problems and failed treatments), she also went to the neighbourhood office to try to sort out my benefits but they only take appointments by telephone now (even though she was standing there in front of him, he said she’d have to call). She also went in the job centre and spoke to someone who said i should be getting ESA and to get a medical note and who gave her the number of the phone line for ESA. She also said when the information comes through, take it to her and she will help….
Here’s the point…
I’M NOT SO SURE SHE WILL
A friend of mine has bi polar, ocd, anxiety and depression amongst other things and came to see me in tears because he had been spoken to so rudely when he tried to change and ATOS appointment. Some of the things he said didn’t sound right so I investigated further AND WHAT I FOUND SHOCKED ME.
Now I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but this ATOS business is absolutely as bad as people say. Recorded interviews, less than ten minutes long to allegedly assess people when the assessor is A COMPUTER THAT SCORES YOU POINTS. There have been over 10,000 deaths. OUR GOVERNMENT IT WOULD SEEM IS GUILTY OF WHAT IS LOOKING VERY MUCH LIKE GENOCIDE. These deaths have been discussed in Parliament, on the news, in documentaries, on the radio and yet still the system continues.
The whole system is set up for you to FAIL. If, like me, you are too distressed, ill or physically unable to attend – your benefit will be stopped. Now if you do attend, then you are more than likely going to be deemed fit for work and put on a work programme. Having attended one of these before (Pathways), the thought of going through that again fills me with horror. Some young girl handing me a pack of standard letters with a couple of typos and explaining what a cv is without even asking me about my previous job or my skills. I’ve actually worked with long-term unemployed on the old ETS when I worked in a large college so I do know how to apply for a job. I was also a manager with top University, employing staff, managing a budget of a few million, commissioning authors and liaising with government about education matters – I KNOW HOW TO WRITE AN APPLICATION. Yes I have issues now in dealing with letters and filling in forms, but I don’t need to know what to put – I need to find a way to get over my fear of them. Box ticking, that’s what it was all about – a complete waste of their time and mine, there are people who genuinely need help, give it to them. Yes find me a job by all means, but don’t assume because I have mental issues, that I’m uneducated.
Back to ATOS…
They are a FRENCH IT COMPANY. Nothing to do with medical treatment/assessment at all. The person who sees you may not even be a doctor – they are medical practitioners. i have read horror stories of them lying, distorting statements and actually degrading people they see on twitter/facebook, etc. They are forcing websites run by disability groups to shut down if they speak out. They are deeming people fit for work, who are not. They are forcing people to train for jobs that don’t exist. They are using ‘sanctions’ to punish anyone (JSA claimants too) who doesn’t strictly obey the rules – punishment can be from 2 weeks to a year. If a person receives 3 sanctions, they are taken off benefits. MAKES NO SENSE.
Appeals are so common that some doctors are refusing to do letters as they have too many patients needing them. The appeals process has now changed because so many people were successful. Now it’s more waiting and no money whilst you wait.
I’m truly horrified and very scared. I cannot bear being made to feels as though I’m begging for something, I find it hard enough to even ask for help or admit i need help. I go to extreme lengths to appear ‘normal’. I have a few physical problems too that I haven’t told my doctor as yet – I figured one at a time (actually 2 because he’s arranged the pelvic scan and also prescribed me antidepressants again).
Prior to all of this it was because of the bombardment of letters from DWP and ATOS that I could not face opening ANY letters… and not all the letters had the same information they were very confusing and contradictory.
I am now back where I started, but thankfully more informed.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER…. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO AND DO NOT CONSENT TO THIS, BY SAYING NO YOU REFUSE TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH ATOS AND WITH NO CONTRACT, THEY CANNOT CONTINUE TO ASSESS YOU….
Just say NO
I WOULD URGE EVERYONE READING THIS TO LOOK ON YOUTUBE AND SEARCH THE INTERNET
USEFUL LINKS IF YOU DO HAVE TO GO TO OR APPEAL AGAINST THIS
BLACK TRIANGLE CAMPAIGN IS AN EXCELLENT SITE AND COLLECTIVE FIGHTING THESE REFORMS.
ATOS CLOSING DOWN WEBSITES – HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE THESE DESTROYERS GOING TO GO…..
I WOULD URGE EVERYONE READING THIS TO LOOK ON YOUTUBE