Thursday, 15 January 2015

Face to face assesment...and ATOS!

To anyone who hasn't experienced applying for health benefits you will not know about the assessments held by ATOS.They are an independent company employed by the government. From what I gather they get paid a commission of how many people they can clear off their list.
Anyway, going to a health assessment can be one of the most anxious and humiliating experiences. I had to go to one the other day and I was so stressed in there that I thought I would pop! At certain points I thought I would just scream and run out. They always ask me the usual questions about 'can I wipe my own bum' and 'can I read' but it's when they get onto the questions like 'can I cook alone'. Well I do, but there's always a chance I'll throw the pan of boiling water down myself. This is why I usually have one of my parents with me. I can get easily confused by the questions, and stressed about how to answer properly (as with form filling, blah!).
The bit I hate most is when they start asking intrusive questions about self harm and suicide. These are things that took long enough to talk to a doctor about, let alone in a room with your dad and a complete stranger who is writing down every WORD YOU SAY.
I do understand why they have to ask the questions, and the people at the assessments are usually nice, but they don't make the decision. I've been through this stressful time and then it is all sent off to The Decision Maker. Yes, that's genuinely the title.
The Decision Maker. A faceless stranger in a room who sits in a big chair and has 2 piles of folders labelled YES and NO. A person who has never met me.