Maximus replaces Atos as WCA provider: a step forward?

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive

Today is an important moment for thousands of Citizens Advice clients whose sickness or disability means they are unable to work. Responsibility for carrying out Work Capability Assessments (WCA), which determine who can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), has moved from previous provider Atos to a new contractor; Maximus.

ESA is not fit for work

It is no secret that the ESA applications process is not fit for work. Between 2008 and 2014, over 700,000 people experienced application delays and 40% of fit for work decisions resulted in appeals.

Our evidence shows that ESA continues to be a huge source of problems for our clients, with almost half a million such problems recorded by bureaux each year. Many people face issues getting appropriate medical evidence taken into account when their claim is being decided, and when this evidence isn’t sourced directly by the DWP, claimants have to pay up to £125 to get it themselves. We also see thousands of ill and disabled people each year who have experienced low quality assessments, with problems ranging from inaccessible assessment venues to poor treatment by staff and factually incorrect work capability reports.

In June last year, the Work and Pensions Select Committee went as far as to suggest that the whole system could benefit from a radical overhaul. The National Audit Office has also been highly critical of the DWP’s management of the Atos contract because, for example, Atos faced few penalties for poor performance.

This unacceptable treatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, is why we spent 2014 campaigning to make ESA fit for work.

A new provider… a new dawn?

So, is the introduction of Maximus the radical overhaul for which we have all been waiting?

The decision to terminate the Atos contract and award responsibility for carrying out the WCA in the future to Maximus demonstrates that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has taken some note of concerns raised.

And we are pleased that the new contract includes steps to improve the process:  for example bringing in an independent body to monitor customer satisfaction; tightening requirements on the quality of assessments; including provisions to better hold the new provider to account if things go wrong; and improving feedback between DWP and the assessor.

Maximus have also made some positive announcements. They have promised to make better use of evidence, tackle delays in the assessment process and use increased funding from DWP to provide more staff additional assessment centres and better assessor training. This is a real step forward towards ensuring that no ill or disabled person is left without financial support. 

A long road ahead

However, today’s change is not a magic bullet. Many of the issues Citizens Advice identified during the course of our campaign cannot be squarely placed at the door of the assessment provider.  It is DWP’s responsibility to ensure that these changes lead to improvements for ill and disabled people. They must hold Maximus to account more effectively than they did Atos.

Further change necessary

As well as making improvements to the assessment process, DWP must ensure that all claimants have their medical problems – and the impact of those on their ability to work – fully explained to an assessor by a health or social care professional of their choosing.

Ministers must also act to end the current situation where thousands of people are left without any financial support because they asked for a second opinion on their claim. That’s why we’re asking all political parties election manifestos to include a commitment to ensure proper support for illness and disability goes to those who really need it, with fit for work decisions made within 12 weeks and financial support available until a final decision has been taken.

The arrival of a new provider offers a chink of light to people who have faced unacceptable treatment. But there remain huge challenges for ministers to address if ESA is to finally be made fit for work.

What do you think of this post?
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49 comments

  1. Tom

    Maximus are no better than Atos ,they may be quicker at assessing you ie within the 13-week timeframe, but is that a good thing , and who does it really benefit?

    I have been subjected of several of these F2F farces AKA the WCA, And they aren’t there for the benefit of those claiming ESA i would advise that everyone requests on their WCA being Audio recorded, and if the location for your assessment is not on a ground floor and you have mobility issues then ask for a different location that is ground floor

    Also by using public transport if you have issues mobilising you could be proving them correct because you are showing that you can do this therefore fail the WCA zero points

    The MR process is also floored under 10% of decisions are changed by a decision maker , And Tribunals are no silver bullet

    1. Mandy

      I was booked in for a f2f on 19th May ESA review. I sent in supporting documents from GP and consultants from Kings hospital with regards to mobility and spinal conditions. Along with other lifelong conditions. Along with an OT report. Maximus have phoned me and told me f2f is cancelled and my existing ESA claim will continue as it is. Supply the relevant documents, explain everyday living and how your disabilities impact on your daily life in full.

  2. ian

    i visited the sunderland venue in may for my medical was shown into the room by a woman who looked like the michelin man(she was hugh)later turned out she was a registered nurse.sat in the chair listened to the daft questions and gave answers best i can but had problems consentrating so took ages and in pain sitting for so long and she joked nhs cuts meant couldnt afford better chairs.next the medical examination bit,stood by bed for one minute then crawled up on couch.as ive got arthritis in both knees first part she bent up right knee then bent knee out to side,,,,,,oops i fainted with pain came too with her asking if i was ok so i said no and i terminated the medical.after she checked my blood pressure she opened the door and let me leave…after getting no points i requested medical report and on it everthing is twisted around against you no mention of faint and all the physical bit filled in anyway,lies lies lies,,technical bit,,,total time for interview 68mins,,breakdown,,talking 62mins,,standing 1min leaving five mins for all the other stuff…are the dwp so desperate to fiddle the numbers they pay people to lie like this,in future i will demand audio recording as is my right,oh and ive made official complaint so waiting for more lies….be warned people..

  3. jan

    I had one of these assessment’s by maximus and got a copy of the report…did not mention the lung disease I told him about,he mucked my medication up and mucked the peak flow test up…according to them there’s nothing wrong with me…my breathing is normal, so if that was the case why do I have lung disease for and bronchial asthma for…since he lied about everything I’ve lost all my benefits and I just want to say a big thank to maximus for me having my house being repossessed….

    1. Lisa

      Maximus are no better than atos ive had 2 assesnents one in january 2016 where i scored 9 points and the other in november 2016 and scored 0 points the aasesser was to busy talking about her own proberlms saying i should go and a hypnotise at £150 PER session (which she got a phone number off her inboxes on facebook ) for my anxitey and depression i have made a complaint to maximus has she was very unprofessional i have to put an appeal in has dwp has stated they are sticking with the assessers statement

    2. ian

      you have my sympathy,nothing you say is recorded correctly,if your breathing and can move an eyebrow like roger moore your fit for all work,hope you complained and appealed.

  4. Stuart

    Hello.

    Terrible to read the things written here.

    I had a Maximus WCA recently.

    I have pretty bad mental health,and a physical condition which severely limits what I can do.Four years ago,I was dismissed from work,due to these issues.Due to this I was placed on ESA,in the support group.Since then I have worked,part time for short periods,with support,under ESA rules for permitted work.It is very difficult for support workers to get me this work,due to health issues,and on both occasions of work unfortunately (they were temporary)I didn’t get kept on. It is very difficult to tell if this is due to health issues which employers are meant to be flexible about but aren’t.This is just to let you know,I am trying to be productive and do what I can.I would much rather be fit to work full time than be stuck with health issues.

    Anyway,a WARNING to anyone going to a Maximus assessment.

    I was very anxious at the WCA and the assessor had to stop the questions several times,maybe five times,while I composed myself.She kept reassuring me that this was ok,to take my time.She asked me questions,but not really about health conditions,she seemed to move the subject,if I tried.She said that she already had all the information she needed about these,not to worry,shouldn’t be any problem,since the health professionals had provided information about my health that everything would be ok.

    So,some weeks later,and to my surprise,and my doctors,the claim has stopped.I have had to sign on to jsa,and even the lady signing me on says she doesn’t consider me fit for work.She says she will assist if she can.I have asked for a reconsideration but they have twice now not sent me the medical report.It is 3 weeks since the decision.The decision letter states that at the WCA I was not nervous,behaved normally,and did not have any further medical evidence.The DWP decision makers report is so at odds,it’s very frustrating.I am very isolated,and see only a family member and partner regularly,three times a week.They provide me with support.Somehow this was turned into ‘manages to lead a socially active life’ by the DWP decision maker!

    Sorry,I’m too upset to explain correctly.I believe the Maximus people must gather on their lunch break and laugh at how they trick us.

    I have asked for a reconsideration,though it is difficult without the copy of the medical report to respond fully.The mental health doctor who provided the information and monitors me is pretty annoyed,as on my claim for PIP she stated the DWP distorted information she gave.At appeal it was overturned,and the Tribunal criticised the DWP.So,for now the same medical evidence and conditions accepted by a PIP Tribunal have been rejected by ESA.The PIP is up for review (it was awarded last year,)after a nearly two year wait.

    I feel very,very upset for everyone having to go through these things.

    If the government is doing this to people they should balance it by making employment available where employers HAVE to make allowances for disabilities,because in my experience all the discrimination laws stand for nothing,the employer merely states other reasons for not making adjustments for people,and uses sick leave laws to dismiss people.I wouldn’t be so afraid to take a risk working full time if I knew that an employer would make allowances.

    Apologies for the long post,I haven’t been able to speak to my family member they would be too upset so I had to get it out.

  5. Paul Henry

    I went to Atos in Newcastle Upon Tyne March 2015. Became ill in August 2014 so took about 7 months before I had to go to the most ridiculous medical assessment. The women was a district nurse I believe. During the assessment she would not shut up about Morrison’s and how she could walk around the store for hours and how she loves the fish counter there. BUT, she did not have interest in my medical conditions, how they affect me, how the medicine affects me and how it had changed me. She ask me questions and when I answered she would rudely interrupt me and say we will go into detail later. Later never arrived. She was snappy and seemed annoyed with me. She got me to do some stupid hand movements and last one was to make the OK sign with both hands. I had to keep them like that so she got out of her chair came round and poked her fingers through stating, “yes, no problems there, your OK”

    This assessor told me she was not allowed to give me medical advise, which I never asked for, but she said I going to anyway. Her medical advice was to buy a bag of frozen peas and put it in my back and it will work wonders for me and cure my Sciatica. Soon after she marched me out and sent me on my way. 10 maybe 15 mins I was in the room with her. The impression I got that a decision had already been made before I arrived.

    1 week later I got a call from ESA telling me they had cancelled my claim as I was fit for work even though I was not. I wrote a 5 page letter of complaint once I received a copy of the report. The report was the most unprofessional I’ve ever seen. The answers to the questions were filled in and made up by the assessor, grammar and spelling was terrible. I called ESA about this and they said nothing they can do about it other than pass my complaint onto ATOS. I am still waiting for a response 1 year on. ESA/DWP do not seem to be bothered that ATOS are faking reports.

    I had to go onto JSA even though I was not fit for work, hallucinating, going in and out of conscience and various other side affects from being on 12 Gabepentin a day amongst other side affects. DEA at job centre said I should never of been taken off, Remploy said I was not fit for work but DWP claim otherwise as they said I could stand at a photocopier all day photocopying or something similar. My condition has not got better and is a lot worse and now my Neurosurgeon has informed me I have to have an operation so now in a queue for this.

    Well, tomorrow, 20th April I am back for another medical assessment at Ardon House. Oh what fun it is going to be.

    1. Sandy

      What did the woman look like or did you get her name?

  6. clive raymond

    i had my atos assesment in feb was 30mins long seemed to go ok,i have crumbling disc’s and sciatica in my back im on crutches and painkillers,i got a copy of report and was shocked it seemed i was fit! i had doctors letter mri scan results etc,anyhow when i got my result from dwp it said ‘not deemed fit for work’ i got 18 points (you need 15) so it shows you dwp overide atos as dwp new by my past records im very disabled the dwp woman even told me its all handaled wrongly and needs sorting out

  7. Janet schwartz

    Further to my comments previously I have now attended a Tribunal appeal and have now been placed in the support group of ESA. I have made a complaint to Maximus and also have made one to the nursing and Midwifery Council about the State registered nurse who conducted my assessment.
    Please people take advantage of having your right to have a recording made of your assessments.

    1. robert mcgregor

      the appeal process will have too go on ,there are no changes it is still all atos staff,i went for an assesment yesterday i know she is failing the nurse i seen ,but i do have it tape recorded ,first time i went was waiting 45 minutes went up asked how much longer she said another 45 mins i said no way ,it was actually her that said about the complaints form so got that off her sent it back same day got reply 2 days later ,load off rubbish wrote back too me ,saying i would get new appointment ,which i did very quic ,after that assesment i had too get another complaints form they said they were not paying for taxi because i did not have doctors letter ,which i am waiting on coming ,but i have a load off medical evidence if she is stupid enougth too say i am fit for work ,then i will appeal i will not sighn on for jsa ,there are food banks and i know i will win my appeal ,we just have too fight it out with them the whole road ,remember maximus is not any ones friend ,they are nasty ,but we are smart and just as intelligent as those fools ,if you have an illnes do not be afraid off maximus ,maximus=atos=maximus =atos no differenece

  8. Norman Pillings

    I was put on ESA after spending the maximum time of 11 weeks on sick whilst claiming JSA.
    My 13 week assessment period ends next week (18 December 2015), and as yet have received no appointment date for my WCA interview.
    Could anyone help me as to what I should do?
    Do I carry on sending fit notes or contact the DWP to arrange a date for a WCA?
    Will I still receive the basic rate of ESA?
    Looking forward to some help with these matters.
    Regards
    Norman

  9. Janet schwartz

    I reccently had to attend a Maximus assessment at Coventry. I had the presence of thought to make a secret recording of that assessment and also took a witness. When I received a copy of the complete assessment report it was staggering the amount of fraudulent content that was written in it. My assessor actually knowing that my mental health was being totally overseen by my GP recommended that I change my doctors surgery which could have disaterous consequences. I have suspicious feeling that if “clients” have a supportive doctor that this is just a tactic to lessen the support.
    I have now made a complaint to Maximus but have sent transcripts of the recording and list of all the factually incorrect information which I consider fraud to my Tribunal Appeal.
    What I find really hard to comprehend is the letter that I have received from Maximus complaints department and a part of it states”Due to the nature of the allegations made in your complaint , it has been referred to this office to be investigated by ATOS HEALTHCARE,SERIOUS COMPLAINTS TEAM”.
    so really….. one bad company is investigating the other!!!!
    It then goes on to say “an experienced Medical Advisor , who is trained to carry out investigations of this nature,will investigate your complaint”.
    Do people who work in customer complaints need to be “trained” to carry out investigations?”
    I urge any one who is going to an assessment to request that you have a recording made you have the right to have one and just in case they manage to screw up your recording take a dictaphone as a back up.
    The contract that the DWP have with Maximus is not a contractual thing between me and them I have now told maximus that I consider that as they are a private healthcare company and I am not a pateint or client of theirs then they had no business having access to my private and confidential medical notes and I believe this contravenes the 1998 Data protetion act. Also that their indemnity insurnce will obviously not cover me in the event of a malpractice case. My attendance to the assessment did not mean that I had entered into a contractual agreement as I was compelled to attend by the DWP. I considered that the Minister for the Disabled had stated that these people were to put my strongest possible case to the DWP assessor and if there were a contract between us they obviously did not fulfill their contractual deal.
    I dont think any of us are going to get justice while these traitorous bastards are in power but at some point in the future there will be a change of government and then I hope all involved will be made to be held to account.

    Next time you all go to vote make sure that you put your little cross not only in the right box but also dont use the bloody pencil,s that they provide you with and do it with a pen!!!!!!!

    1. Sue

      Hi, Firstly I agree the system is wrong but Omg, how did you get them to accept a secret (illegal) recording? Did the tribunal or maximus listen to the recording you made? And why did you feel the need to make a secret recording, had you been unsuccessful before or had a bad experience? If you did, why didn’t you ask for a recognised recording which would have been allowed? Doesn’t make sense to me…..

      Do you know what’s happening with the person who assessed you? Only to me it seems you should be attacking the company or government policy not the nurse. Were they horrible to you in the assessment?

      I’m on Esa myself but I had an excellent nurse and assessment with lots of input and I think the vast majority of the nurses and doctors really do care and they are all trained the same. It’s the Dwp who don’t listen or ignore advice.

      Sorry to disagree with you Janet, I just think maybe you have been so determined to get the benefit you think you’re entitled to that you’ve blamed the wrong person. Have you thought about the person who you are trying to get sacked?! You could have seen anyone that day and still you would have complained and that isn’t fair either. This nurse gave you advice, probably trying to go above and beyond because they are genuinely trying to help. And it’s your decision if you change your Gp, not sure why you blame someone for trying to help, you must have said something negative to make her say that.

      Sorry but I just think you wouldn’t be complaining if your benefit had been approved…and going to tribunal means you had it reviewed and still got turned down so why blame one person when at least one more said No?

      These people are humans doing a hard job under pressure from a rubbish government department…so write and complain about them rather than try to get one person into trouble for doing their job.

      Regards Sue

      1. Anne Scott

        Sue —- 20 March 2016 at 12:58 am

        WITH REGARDS TO: Your Reply To Janet Schwartz

        Sorry I do not agree with your reply to Janet. For everyone who is given zero points by an HCP – they are awarded with extra money (Bonuses). You would do well to read transcripts by former ATOS as assessors (whistle blowers) who spoke out about the injustices they were forced to inflict on ‘clients’ and could no longer continue.

        The HCP’s are NOT your friends OR trying to be…..helpful. Why don’t people get that? They are there to get ‘clients’ OFF benefit. I was a victim of a downright LYING HCP – so WHY is it NOT at least partly their fault? Did the DWP tell them to LIE?

        Luckily, when I collapsed in the assessment room (due to being on morphine following major surgery) I had my father with me, and I had a witness to the HCP’s lies. I scored 0 points as the HCP said that I REFUSED to any of the physical. I ended back in hospital and ATOS called my parents house DEMANDING to speak with me and I was in INTENSIVE CARE !!!! Had to appeal, and the judge threw out the DWP’s case and I was awarded around £8.000 back payments and placed in the support group.

        THREE years later it’s MAXIMUS – nothing has changed. Due in for yet more major surgery in two weeks time then will be in intensive care… Doctor insisted by letter and fax that I needed a home visit. Maximus REFUSED. I had to cancel the assessment as I was too sick. A NEW one was made and it’s on the SAME day as my next operation. Was told I cannot cancel a second time, no matter the reason and my benefit would likely be stopped …… MERRY XMAS MAXIMUS!

        MAXIMUS IS AS BAD AS ATOS!!!!! And people believe tory and labour lies !!!! Thank God in my part of the UK, I don’t have to vote for any of the Westminster losers!!!

        Yes DO blame the government by all means – BUT Maximus have more poison than a ton of arsenic – and twice as deadly! Criminal charges should be brought against HCP’s who lie and falsify assessments causing hardship, suffering, homelessness ….. and even death, to sick and disabled ‘clients’ At the LEAST they should be struck off – and NEVER be allowed to practice again! Enough said.

    2. Valerie Albutt

      I think its so cruel i dont know who the assessment people aand the maximus sleep of a night. The government should also be ashamed of themselfs.
      I am going to go on Universal Credit before my assessment as i cant have stress of it all, i have c.o.p.d.

      1. david

        I have to go for a face to face assessment for esa.cant understand why 4years ago I did not need to.i sent them loads of information doctors letters hospital apps.ive got a lot worse now to what I was like 4years back.i have spinal stenosis,disc problems,I’m on crutches,can hardly walk,and in pain 24/7.and on top of that mental health problems.who would employ me,l would be on the sick all the time.hope this was helpful to someone.

  10. Theresa

    I attended a wca on 21 October & have never been treated so appallingly. I received the decision letter on Saturday 7 November & have never seen so many lies in my life. There was no mention at all about the amount of pain I was clearly in … I was even told off at one pont for making too much noise. How can someone who is not medically trained & does not know me overrule my doctor’s decision that I am unfit for work. I have now had my ESA & housing benefit money stopped because of this & therefore have no money to live off.
    I had my ESA payment on 5 November but when I phoned them up on Monday & said they still owe me money because they pay in arrears was told they had paid me up to date & in fact I probably owed them a day’s money. How do they work that one out?
    More stress & worry I could do without

  11. Sandy

    There hasn’t been any improvement and there won’t be. Being spoken to like I am dirt, degraded, humiliated and tutted at in fury and snapped at because I didn’t give the answers the woman wanted at the assessment. Lies in the report and the answers I gave ignored and left out of it anyway.
    Then the tribunal which I found the dwp had added their own spin on everything, about how I was lying about my illnesses, how I could work as I wasn’t in hospital all the time, how the “medical professional” had no reason to fabricate a report and I was not to be believed. They sounded so desperate to have my appeal disallowed.
    I won my appeal despite two men from the dwp turning up STILL arguing their case, DESPITE my complaint against the lies in the report being upheld by the company.
    It is Atos staff. Same system. Different name. Being paid for the same thing. I nearly commuted suicide after the treatment I’ve had from the LOT of them, nobody will tell me it’s going to get better because it isn’t!!

  12. Joanne Allard

    Hi, I’ve read all previous articles and to be honest have now a reasonably good knowledge about the Dwp ‘s system and operation of it etc, Im really confused though as Im due my first WRAG meeting tomorrow at 10am, Im clearly being made to feel mentally inadequate already before I’ve even got there!!! I worked as an ambulance driver for the NHS for 12years, passionate about my job and clients, went off sick last may 2014, in December 2014, dismissed on grounds of capability due to degenerated disc which was impinging on my sciatic nerve also narrowing of the lateral recess, Im still awaiting my operation and Im in a great deal of pain and Im on numerous medications which make me tired, Im attending MAXIMUS tomorrow with hope in them getting me back to work in the future?, i mean hello, let me have my op first and no thanks Im not illiterate and do not require the assistance of a fraudster to help me look for my next employment, i am capable of this once Im well again!!!””!!gggrrr.Joanne. brrecess and one other disc bulging inadequate inadequate regarding the work

  13. tracy

    I am fully aware of the appalling service at maximus. Having gone in to ardon house in newcastle I was appalled to see claimants having to wait 1 hour before any assessment. The waiting area was in an appalling state with graffiti on walls dating back to 2012. I attended an assessment with a claimant which took near 2 hours to complete. So the total amount of time on site was just over 3 hours. I did not agree with how the assessment was carried out as the assessor stated she was being shown how to work a new programme, however I clearly could see the assessor was capable of carrying the assessment out on her own. I was happy that the claimant was being assessed by 2 assessors at the same time which resulted in questions coming from all 4 corners of the room. The claimant recieved 0 points and my thoughts are the rgn nurse over shadowed any decision the main assessor had. My findings clearly indicated how corrupt the system is and the lengths maximus go to awarding 0 points. Having read the claimants report I could clearly see the rgn nurse had fabricated the report with untrue findings. The claimant is currently requesting a re-consideration

  14. John Connick

    Maximus are a joke, I have had 2 operations on my neck and an injection to, I get pins and needles in my upper body on my left side, I get numbness in my neck and face, I take Morphine, gabapentin etc I take close to 6,000mg’s of tablets a day and they say I am fit for work, and i am due in hospital again on the 7th of October. Which company is going to take you on when you are taking this many tablets and you feel tired every day, what makes me laugh is when you phone them up they only speak basic English and they only use physio’s who no nothing about nerve damage at all, just see what they want to see.

  15. Ray

    1. robert mcgregor

      sighn it and share 1000 sigs in no time, the more the better

  16. Herbert

    Tomorrow is 20 july 2015, off to an atos wca meeting, thought we were rid of these muppets for good now ! What happened to atos quit, atos were sacked, but it seems even after quitting, being sacked and being replaced in march atos will carry on making your life a misery…

  17. Paul Davidson

    Just in case anyone need to fill out a ESA 520 form, I found a blank form in this link http://pdf.ac/6SLTuBhttp://goo.gl/cWlG6T. This site PDFfiller also has several related forms that you might find useful.

  18. ian h

    Are maximus allowed to use out of date esa forms mine is14 months old Ave my new assessment in two wks

  19. John H

    My son has not worked since he left school he is now 21 no qualifications through no fault of his put in a disability school because he was bullied at primary and secondary school they said it was for his own protection done two courses at college through disability treated like a slave and learned nothing he has had his ESA AND HIS DLA stopped found out he has Aspergers the brainy side and got a photographic memory and can do anything on a computer no good to him no qualifications got an Atos Maximus assesment in Edinburgh on thursday that will probably be one big feck up My point is the system fecking stinks i am not just speaking for my son its time they torie bstards where kicked out and create some real jobs and training schemes this country is going down hill quick the clock is ticking 1984

  20. David Schneider.

    Maximus is progress ?, and there’s an independent body to monitor customer satisfaction ? yeah right, well I’ll stop right there, because I’ve never heard such rubbish in my life.

    Look…Maximus are proven criminals in America, their record in Australia is appalling, and as for here it’s going to be the same old same old.

    We haven’t got time to spare to find out if they are – or not – going to be proven liars like ATOS, they’ve already started the dirty tricks by not sending people ESA 50 forms, filling in an ESA 50 is our right, and they’re deliberately not sending them to us, what are this so called customer satisfaction lot doing about that eh ?. Well I’ll tell you, so far nothing, zero zilch.

    Progress ?, don’t make me laugh.

    1. Vanessa

      The DWP send out the forms for you to fill in – not Maximus/Atos/Capita etc etc etc so if you haven’t received your forms to fill in (or been given the link to fill in online) contact the DWP or Jobcentre Plus.

  21. Freda B

    Too much talking from those employed to’keeping track of progress’ and too many ‘reviews’. This has accomplished nothing, apart from the destruction of lives. As said in an earlier post, it is the DWP that need to change and until they are forced to do so, nothing will improve. They clearly will not take this action without being forced, and this needs to happen as a matter or urgency.

  22. Dawn

    This is the same company Maximum we now have in the UK. Sorry CAB if it is a re-post, it was broadcast quite recently in Australia and am sure our members would like to see it. My sister who i mentioned below in an earlier post was awarded zero points by the ATOS, we went to appeal and she was awarded 29 points and she was put in WRAG. She now has to attend the mandated work program as i also stated in my earlier post which is ran by Maximus. Sometime in the future she will have to attend another WCA again which Maximus also do now. Looking at this video below gives us zero confidence in them.

    Quote::

    Four Corners goes inside the industry, finding shocking evidence of fraud, manipulation, falsified paperwork, and the recycling of the unemployed through temporary jobs.

    Hours are bumped up, wages are inflated, and in many cases, vital evidence to support claims from the taxpayer appears to have been falsified. One former jobseeker tells Four Corners her paperwork appears to have been completely forged.

    In recent years Government checks have forced some companies to pay back millions of dollars, but few are sanctioned. Former job agency employees say crucial internal records are adjusted in preparation for government audits.

    “That, I guess, caused alarm bells for me… Claims that have been claimed, signatures that weren’t on them, and we were sort of told, you know, if the signature’s not on it, get it any way that you can.” – Former job agency.

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/02/23/4183437.htm Maximus Video

    employee.

  23. martin

    yes my wife is due another test in 5 months
    these people will be no different and just as bad as atos
    most of these people who do these tests are unqualified in real medicine or probably
    failed doctors of all nationalities (my wife had a chinese woman do her assessment (the one she had to appeal against)and she spoke terrible english)
    its like this
    you cant say your a pilot if you cant fly a plane
    but these people can say your fit for work when your not

  24. Dawn

    My sister recently had to attend a Maximus ”welcome” meeting at their ‘Devonshire House’ offices in Grimsby, she had before this been attending an ‘Intraining’ meeting ‘one to one’ for 10 months at their Grimsby office at Armstrong Street offices also in Grimsby, but they lost the contract, she is in the WRG. She has been suffering from epilepsy ‘due to a car accident 2 years ago’ and also has severe depression, stress, anxiety and panic attacks and requires one to one meetings with a personal adviser, and i or a family member always take time off work to accompany her to each meeting as she basically cannot cope on herself. I telephoned Maximus 12 days prior to her appointment date and to confirm that she was to have a one to one personal adviser, they said that her case file had not been received from Intraining yet and to phone back in a week, but they would make a note on their system, i said thank you and said i would telephone again. I telephoned a week later they still did not have her records and they had no record of my conversation a week earlier i had with them, said they would phone me back within 4 hours, they did not. I telephoned them the next day, this time they had no records of my conversation of the day previous, and was told not to worry and everything would be in place by the time my sister was due to attend the appointment. I telephoned 2 hours before her appointment on the day, they still had no information of her needs and no past records from Intraining had been received, and basically was told she was to attend at the appointed time or she may be sanctioned. We attended and it will be a day i will never forget, it was complete and utter chaos in their office, there must have been over 100 plus people crammed into a space not designed for such a large number and the noise was unbearable even for me, my sister was terrified and was totally confused and distressed and i had to take her outside and i asked a member of the public to keep an eye on her. I went in again managed to pull a member of staff to one side and explained the situation, i was told that there where NO one to one advisers available and that she MUST attend the class room welcome meeting or details will be passed to DWP and a sanction may be imposed, i asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that none where available and she could do no more. I went out and checked on my sister who was still in a distressed state, and went back in and joined the line to sign the register to confirm we had attended. I left the building and attended to my sister and said thank you the lovely lady who looked after her. And told my sister that she did not have to go back in and this calmed her down considerably. When we got home i telephoned Maximus, once again explained the situation and once again told that details will be passed on to DWP as she did not attend the work related work program and that a letter will be posted to her in due course. Sure enough 3 days later she received a letter saying and I Quote:: WE HAVE RECENTLY INVITED YOU TO ATTEND A MANDATED REVIEW MEETING WHILST SUPPORTING YOU ON THE WORK PROGRAM. As you did not attend this meeting we have informed Jobcentre Plus who will decide if a benefit sanction is appropriate. And also a new appointment date was in the letter. These ‘people’ are doing the work related work program and they ALSO have the contract for the medical assessment which ATOS lost, they are not fit for purpose. My sister was making some real positive progress with her one to one counselor at Intraining, she is now so confused and distressed at the moment and is so upsetting to see. I also wish to add that my sisters case was not an isolated one, there where three other people so obviously distressed due to their illness and that their carer’s basically had to try and calm them down. They are WORSE than ATOS.

    1. Eleanor

      Hi Dawn, I’m researching from a documentary about changes to the ESA and the WCA, specifically the change from Maximus to Atos. Your experience of Maximus sounds terrible and clearly demonstrates that the WCA is not fit for purpose under the organisation. Would you be willing to share more details of your experience and therefore help provide the evidence needed for this documentary to be commissioned? Stories like yours show that it is in the public interest for Maximus to be exposed for what they are.

      Thanks

      Eleanor

      1. Olga Bozinovic

        This is a message for Eleanor are you still doing the documentary because I would be willing to talk to you of my experience

      2. Olga Bozinovic

        I had one of these assessment’s in November and I have to say it was a complete farce so have appealed but will also go to the CAB in the meantime , I have a compression fracture in my lumbar spine which is giving me a lot of trouble and am due to see my Neurosurgeon next week , I will probably have to have an operation after being in a brace for several months and physiotherapy.

  25. Linda

    Maximus have a really bad record in the States and Australia, the WCA itself though is the problem, if Maximus are using Atos computers and LIMA software, the results will be the same, Atos staff have simply relocated to Maximus. As for not sending out ESA50’s, this is bang out of order, this is your only chance to tell the company how your illness affects you. You should download this form and take it with you to the WCA, they have to accept it. I have recently read a report where a claimant went along to a WCA and had not received an ESA50, the decision maker at DWP deemed it necessary to have one and made the claimant start the process from the beginning again. This is a disgrace, it is peoples lives they are destroying.

  26. John H

    I’m sorry but I find this article really unhelpful, inaccurate and a danger to those with upcoming WCA’s. Messing about at the edges of this process wont change anything, the process is corrupt, all those involved in the process lie, they do so in collaboration with each other to deny or reduce benefits (Maximus has exactly the same remit as ATOS). The proof of this is beyond question, I myself can provide direct evidence of their lies and those same lies have been documented thousands of times.
    Maximus has no intention of changing this, they will continue to carry out the DWP’s “cleansing” process, to prove this look at their record and what they believe to be ethical behavior, and its started already, they are consistently sending out demands for people to attend WCA’s without sending them an ESA50, this is against regulations and they know it, but it makes it very easy to lie in their statement to DWP, which is exactly what the DWP want them to do.
    By giving people false hope that things have changed and the system is now fair your putting people at a huge disadvantage, they will be less well prepared and more trusting.

  27. Helena

    Maximus are calling themselves the more benign sounding ‘Centre for Health and Disability Assessments’ and their letters are plain, black and white, no logos etc. official and ‘in house’ looking.

    I received one today and had to look up the name of this sender as I had no idea who they were. Then I realised- the old Atos. My letter told me that I have to go to an assessment in just 3 weeks’ time. I was shocked, as I had not expected this- I have not received the ESA50 form that you are meant to fill in before any such face-to-face assessment- and such a face-to-face meeting is only arranged if a decision can’t be made just from your ESA50 form.

    I called their office to say that I had not had the form first, and I was told ‘Not everyone will get a form.’ According to their own website, and the Gov. website on benefits info., and online guides eg. from MIND etc., the procedure in place is that you fill in an ESA50 questionnaire first, having 4 weeks to return it. This way you can say in you own words how your condition affects you, and gather up letters, etc. as supporting evidence. What Maximus told me on the phone simply isn’t correct.

    So I wonder now- is this incompetence, or is it something more sinister? Are they trying to ‘catch people out’? Has the system changed- quietly, without telling claimants?

    I don’t know what to do about this. I am not going to a face-to-face assessment. I have Bi-polar 2 and have just had my meds increased by 25% last week. This is a major trigger. I would rather just drop out of the system. Although I need this to pay my bills, I’d rather live with the lights out, no phone, little food… been there, done that. Would rather do so again than put myself through the dehumanising, humiliating, excruciating experience of an assessment with Atos/Maximus/whoever. -same staff, same questions, same computer…

  28. Martyn Meacham

    Didn’t the chief exec of ATOS quit to become boss of Maximus?
    Also, i’ve been awarded PIPS at the advanced rate which includes the care component.At the first meeting with Working Links in Merthyr tydfil,i was told that if i had the care component,i didn’t have to waste my time-and theirs,by turning up for the ‘interviews’.But i’m being forced to turn up on pain of sanctions.Where do i stand…..Do i still have to turn up,or can i stop wasting mine and their time not going?
    P.S.,I had a glimpse at the computer screen and i saw the word ‘Voluntary’ there.

  29. Martyn Meacham

    Didn’t the chief exec of ATOS quit to become boss of Maximus?
    Also, i’ve been awarded PIPS at the advanced rate which includes the care component.At the first meeting with Working Links in Merthyr tydfil,i was told that if i had the care component,i didn’t have to waste my time-and theirs,by turning up for the ‘interviews’.But i’m being forced to turn up on pain of sanctions.Where do i stand…..Do i still have to turn up,or can i stop wasting mine and their time not going?
    P.S.,I had a glimpse at the computer screen and i saw the word ‘Voluntary’ there.

  30. jacky

    until we end the wca and allow those with progresssive degenerative terminal or life long conditions the human dignity support and life long benefits help they deserve then we will have to continue fighting as carers and disabled people – the wca must go – too many have died, too many are suffering, too many plunged in to debt and destitution just because they are ill/disabled – cab should be standing with us in solidarity

  31. sue taylor

    The WCA is not fit for purpose, until it is then maximus, atos or any other company will NOT change the way they perform. These companies are CONTRACTED to do these assessments and the directive and instructions are doled out by the DWP. UNTIL THE DWP CHANGE THIS THEN NOTHING WILL CHANGE – what part of this don’t people get ????????

  32. Gerald Ward

    I simply have to agree with Email dated March 2nd 2015 by Marrion Fallon, I used to be an unpaid carer for a friend of mine who is sadly passed away last year, and I always get concerned when people and organisations Like the C.A.B,begin by trying to prepare us for something that is highly unlikely to happen, What Maximus is all about is the same as ATOS, the only difference is they are being paid MORE, Did you not see the 4 undercover programmes by both Panorama (2) and Dispatches(2) which clearly showed how these “So Called” WCA were actually being carried out, with the Onus clearly on the also so called Highly Trained Medical Assessors, who personally speaking I wouldn’t let Examine a hamster never mind a Human Being, here is an example of how ridiculous this WCA really is, when my we mate was Alive, his benefits were cut, he had not long lost his Wife Jean(Also Disabled and Housebound) He came to me for help, he had the following conditions, could only use his left hand as his right one was twisted inwards as a result of polio as a child, He was neither numerate nor Literate to any properly recognisable degree, at the time he was 60 year old, he was an Insulin dependent Diabetic.(had to Inject himself 3 times a day) and was also in a wheelchair as a direct result of having to have his right leg amputated, They sent him for a medical, as I write this I am having great trouble trying to keep calm and not punch the F…. wall. Keith had a pile of Debt Letter so high you could barely open the door, I got them into some sort of order and then we actually went to the C.A.B. and advised a DRO. which would cost £90 but as I tried to explain to Keith at the time it would save both him and me, a lot of time and Hassle, Regarding the Medical, I took Keith with me to the Local Town hall to meet our M.P (Helen Goodman) who also could not believe Keith was being asked to go for a medical, and to be fair contacted the DWP, also Keith’s Doctor (Dr.Long, as well as Dr Gammalon, were very helpful) Dr Long wrote a letter of support which personally I think was spot on. In the meantime Keith still had to go for a medical to Bishop Auckland, and guess what we had to go by BUS, and when we got there the Examination room was, “wait for It” UPSTAIRS, you really cannot make this stuff up. as I know a bit about Law/Human Rights/ and Health and Safety, It was obvious the medical could not take place even allowing for the fact there was a lift there, if a fire broke out not to put too fine a point on it me and Keith would have been >>>>>>> should a fire occur, as you can probably guess by now I don’t bear fools gladly, and can speak for Britain when I start, and I did not give the girl who came to see us the lickings of a dog, I can also be a bit OTT with the verbal’s at times, and this was one such occasion, when people who work for any company like or similar to the DHSS the DWP ATOS Maximus Etc, and they say to me (and I hate this expression) don’t blame me I am only doing my Job. to which I usually reply and so were people in charge of the concentration camps but that excuse didn’t help them at the Nuremberg Trials, A bit Harsh you might think? Well no actually, it’s called being an Individual, Knowing the Difference between right and wrong, having a good Ethical code of conduct by which your Morals are guided and judged by, having sound “Principles” by which you try to live your life, or put in simpler terms a trying to be a decent Human Being by doing the right things in life, having compassion for your fellow man, or to encompass all of this in one word sentence, Simply having a Conscience? and being conscientious ( as in conscientious objector) To Conclude, You know as well as I do that this Government (Democratic Dictatorship) are Hell bent on Destroying not only the Welfare State, but privatising our NHS (hence the reason we at 38%Degrees were out campaigning against the TTIP agreement which this government are trying to rush through without letting the public even know about it and which in its current form would not ring fence our NHS) when good people like the Late Mr David Clapson an ex soldier and FULL TIME CARER for his Mother when she was seriously ILL, Dies because he has not got enough money to put credit on his electric to keep himself warm Or to keep his Insulin at the right temperature, Due to “Benefit Sanctions” and has about £3.40 in his pocket. An out of date tin of sardines and a can of soup to his name at the time of his Death and nothing is done about it, then this Country and everyone who does nothing about it should hang their heads in shame, David died of Diabetic ­Ketoacidosis this is caused as a direct result of not being able to take his Insulin, The Coroner also found the contents of David’s stomach were empty, Despite both his Sister and their local M.P (Debbie Abrahams) asking for a full blown Investigation into his death they were conned into a false sense of belief that something would be done only for things to go wrong at the final hurdle as they say, As usual and with exactly what you would expect from this Government, the Tories made their usual token gesture to do so but on the last day just before recess (restricting and preventing a discussion on the matter) a “LIMITED ENQUIRY” was published which clearly failed to address many of the main concerns and issues that it should have done, meaning that Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey have got off scot free, the reasons David died was because of (or at least in part)to do with the sanctioning of his benefits,(I have long argued the case for justice on matters like this based on “Cause and Effect” and I have also long maintained that this Government are guilty of crimes against Humanity, in effect in this example involuntary manslaughter, as for David’s Human Rights under the 1998 Human Rights Acts and Protocols, Article 1 Protocol 1 being abused, Articles 2 and 3 are Absolute Rights and cannot be abused under any circumstances (even if done unintentionally) so why the two former politicians mentioned are still free to walk the streets, Is a Mystery to me, You then have to ask yourself WHY was a proper enquiry not set up?. Your guess is as good as mine. although to be fare my guess is probably not actually printable unless I Invoke my Human Rights in order to speak out under Article’s 9 and 10 for my own protection, and furthermore would like to add that any and all further Article’s, Protocols, or “Directive’s not mentioned here are duly “Implied” Tacitly for that specific purpose. nothing in this article was meant to upset or offend, but as I always say when things like this happen Doing nothing is not the answer and neither should it be, it should also never ever be considered to be only given “Lip Service” and a sham and Timed “Enquiry” trundled out that is meant to satisfy the masses, when in actual fact, the WCA should be Scrapped, Maximus Like ATOS should be sent packing, All pending Appeal Tribunals Suspended and the money owed to the claimants reinstated with Immediate Effect, Mr Ian Duncan Smith, and Esther McVey Suspended without pay With Immediate Effect (They can still appeal against this using the same current system applied to all ESA Applicants, bearing in mind that we are ” ALL Equal Before the LAW” (at least in theory) a Full in public View Enquiry held, and Mr Smith and Ms McVey charged accordingly with crimes against Humanity, because for the record, like many other crimes they don’t just happen during times of conflict, with all of this put in place it would maybe give the Tories the “Harsh Sense of Justice” they so desire for everyone else but themselves, and give them the much needed Insight into exactly what it is like to have no money and at the same time in effect be “GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT” Contrary to common Law. unless real Radical changes like these are put in place, it is only a matter of time before another good person like Mr David Clapson once again is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. and the imbalance in power and Justice in this “So Called ” Democratic Society” of ours Called Britain continues, like a form of Imperfect perpetual motion, Ad Infinitum.

    Yours Sincerely

    Gerald Ward

  33. Richard Mier

    Personally I’ll believe it when I see it at my next WCA. Not holding out much hope.

  34. Marion Fallon

    I really hope I’ve read this wrong, have you actually said that Maximus taking over the ESA/WCA is progress??? Have you not read who this Maximus are, apart from having a shocking record in the U.S on many fronts, they are also in trouble in Australia? They have or hope to have the sickness programme for workers, who are off work a month, they are planning to buy Remploy, they are running some Work Programmes here in the UK and other places, so they could soon have a total monopoly on working age people who are sick, disabled, or become so, that seesm fair?? The WCA is not fit for purpose and in fact, the whole ESA system isn’t and now DWP even sanction plenty of people on ESA, you think this is progress? Just to end with (it’s been a tiring day) I have been protesting yet again at an inaccessible WCA centre in Norwich, that we were promised by 2 Disability Ministers, MP and more, would be resolved by now, but clearly isn’t. Maximus have been paid almost double what ATOS were paid (why?) they knew exactly what they they were taking on, yet they couldn’t be bothered getting rid of the Norwich inaccessible centre, that just shows what contempt they, DWP and this Government have for disabled poeople. I’m very concerned with your attitude on this and think you too, must be in the Government pocket on this and I will be letting people know!

    1. Kierra Box, former Campaigns Officer

      Kierra Box, Campaigns Officer

      Hi Marion,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I certainly agree that the ESA system isn’t working, which is why we’ve been campaigning to highlight this issue to ministers. As Gillian says above, this change can’t fix everything that’s wrong with the WCA process, because many of the problems require the DWP to take further action. The contract between Maximus and the Government is stronger than the previous one, so the Department for Work and Pensions now has the power to penalise poor performance – a power we will expect them to use, if necessary.

      Maximus have proposed some improvements, including replacing inaccessible assessment venues like the one you mention, and using that extra funding to train more staff and reduce delays. We understand that, like many large companies, Maximus has attracted some criticism in the past. That’s why it is particularly important to watch their progress to ensure that they fulfil those promises. If they fail to perform, they do need to be held accountable.

      We will keep a close eye on the numbers of clients coming through bureau doors with problems related to ESA and the WCA process and will not hesitate to raise any issues we see with the Government.

      Best wishes, Kierra

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