In this article, we answer the following question: “How to pass Atos medical for depression?”
Keep reading for an honest confession from a former Atos employee.
What is an Atos medical assessment?
An Atos medical assessment is a mandatory step in claiming a benefits award.
You can compare this medical assessment with an interview, where a Healthcare Professional will evaluate your health.
The HP will refer to the form you filled out and submitted when you applied for benefit.
What happens at an Atos medical assessment?
According to an Atos employee, who wrote about the Atos medical assessment on her blog, every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work”.
That may seem unfair to you, but theoretically, this is the role of an HP.
They must seek evidence and information as if your disability really affects your daily activities.
Before the assessment
Things that are noted are:
- Did you complete the form yourself
- Is the handwriting legible
- Are the contents coherent
These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, your cognitive state, and concentration.
Also, the HP will consider:
- If what you wrote in the form is accurate
- Does your medication support your diagnosis
- What tests you have had to confirm the diagnosis
- If you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or social care worker. or consultants. If you have managed to gather this evidence by yourself, this shows that you are organized and you can handle it alone, which may not be of benefit to you in this case.
What happens at the Atos assessment?
The assessment starts right before HP asks you questions.
There are a few things you need to be very careful about, as these can be clues for the Atos HP without you realizing it.
These are the situations to which we refer:
- When you are called into the room, the HP will notice, whether you heard the name immediately or not.
- Other things the HP will note: if you were standing or sitting; if you were sitting did you find it hard to get up? Did anyone have to help you to stand up?
- Were you accompanied by a representative or did you come alone to the assessment?
- Did you look confident or anxious?
- The HP will ask you how you got there, whether you used public transportation or a personal car.
Based on the form and evidence you submitted to DWP, the assessment will begin.
The HP will ask you questions about the information it has from you. Some questions that can be asked:
- How long have you had this disability?
- What treatment did you receive for your illness?
- How many specialists did you see?
Also the HP will note which medicines you take, what they are for, how many times a day you should take them and if you have certain allergies.
You should mention here what are the side effects of medicines, and how they make you feel.
This can greatly help your case.
Next, the HP will ask you a few questions about your daily life.
Here you have to argue how you feel and how your illness affects your routine.
You will be asked about the conditions in which you live, for example, how many people live with you in the same house, if you have a personal car and so on.
If you had a job and had to resign because of the illness, now is a good time to mention that.
When you are asked by HP what a normal day is for you, be careful to describe what a day is like when you feel bad, and not a very good day.
Otherwise, the HP might get the wrong impression.
1. Describe how you sleep, whether your disability or illness affects your sleep (sleeping too much or too little; you often wake up, etc.) accentuates this.
2. If you have difficulty moving (for example due to a motor vehicle disease), specify how this problem affects you. Can you dress or take a bath by yourself? Can you go to the neighborhood store without help? Can you use public transport without any difficulties?
3. Mention if you need help when you need to cook, do laundry, make daily purchases, send a letter, pay your bills.
4. If you have vision or hearing problems – they should be mentioned.
5. Do you have any other difficulties, such as incontinence, diabetes, or seizures?
Other things that the Atos HP will look for that are signs of well functioning:
- How well you are dressed, how is your hair, nails and makeup.
- If you have another person or a pet under your care.
- If you belong to different social groups, volunteer groups or something.
- If you can drive.
How to pass Atos medical for depression – tips on Mental health questions
If you want to pass Atos medical for depression, you have to know what are the Atos Healthcare Professional looking for:
- How you are dressed and how are you presenting yourself to the assessment
- How was it for you to come to the assessment. Do you usually get in time at your appointments with your GP, meetings with your friends or other activities? If not, what is the reason for that?
- Can you wash yourself, do laundry, cook for yourself?
- Do you know how to pay your bills and manage money?
- Can you use a smartphone, a computer or a cooker?
- Are you aware of hazards and have you had any incidents related to fire hazards, for example?
- How are you behaving at the assessment and how is your mental health at the moments of the assessment.
More observations that the Atos Healthcare Professional can take into account:
- Do you have any suicidal thoughts?
- Are you able to engage with the assessor and sit throughout the assessment without major difficulties?
- How (in)appropriate is your behavior?
Not every claimant has to undergo an Atos medical assessment.
Some cases, like a terminal illness or if someone is a danger to themselves and others – can be exempted of the medical assessment.
Other questions that might be asked at an Atos medical for depression
- Are you going away or have you been away this year?
A; yes – they will assume you can get about, mobilize, etc, if you have then you need to tell them exactly what you did, ie if you haven’t had a holiday in years and your family went to help if you struggled with mobility whilst there, etc.
- Do you have a dog?
They will ASSUME because you have a dog, you can take it for walks, you can open cans of food, and bend down to feed him, they will also assume you can get up quite quickly to take him out when he wants to go out.
- Do you have a washing machine?
They ASSUME that having a washing machine means you can follow complicated instructions, and know the chronological order the washing cycle takes.
They might also assume you can remember this.
- Do you have a car?
They assume if you drive, even if not often, that you can follow directions/maps complicated instructions and sit for long periods of time, whilst multi-tasking and going to unfamiliar places.
They will also assume you are safe to go out alone and get yourself in and out of the car okay.
- Do you visit the hairdressers?
They will assume you can get there okay; can sit still long enough, can socialise with strangers whom you’ve never met, ie customers, can leave after sitting for so long, and have no problems with your return journey.
- Do you have a mobile phone?
They assume you have no trouble speaking to unfamiliar people or strangers or have trouble communicating.
They will assume you can follow complex instructions, and operate it easily.
If you cannot do so and it was bought as a gift for relatives to keep a check on you then say so.
- Do you watch TV?
If yes, they may ask ‘do you like Eastenders’ etc, Eastenders watchers are ASSUMED to follow complex storylines, without forgetting the order they follow (ie if you have indicated you cannot cook as you forget the order of things, this contradicts this.)
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
In this article, we did our best to answer the following question: “How to pass Atos medical for depression?”
Unfortunately, there is no recipe on how to act or what to say in order to pass the Asos medical assessment.
However, we hope that by explaining in detail what happens at an Atos medical for depression, you have gained perspective on how to pass it.
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comments section below.
FAQ on how to pass Atos medical for depression
Are PIP assessors doctors?
PIP assessors are medical professionals who impartially and thoroughly assess the personal situations of those with a disability to see if they qualify for PIP.
They ensure that those requiring help and assistance from the Government are able to receive it and play a key role in the health system.
What are PIP and ESA?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) provide financial support to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.
Do PIP assessors make a decision?
PIP assessors do not make a decision.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will make a decision on your PIP claim after the medical assessment has been completed.
Does everyone have a medical for PIP?
Not everyone, but most people have to go to a medical assessment to claim PIP.
A medical assessment is done by Atos or Capita, depending on where you live.
What are Atos and Capita?
Atos and Capita are private companies that have been contracted by the government to do the medical assessments for benefits claims.
Does ESA contact your GP?
The DWP may contact your GP or healthcare professional to obtain medical evidence when you submit a PIP or ESA claim, but in many cases, they will not.
- How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong
- Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison
- SAD lamp | Helps combat seasonal affective disorder
- Reasons to Stay Alive
- The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness
- Depression, Anxiety, and Other Things We Don’t Want to Talk about
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
- Citizens Advice.org.uk