Written evidence from Alan Budimirovic (HAB0010)

 

Hello

 

My name is Alan Budimirovic and I’m 60 years old.

I’ve been on legacy benefits since 1998 when I successfully claimed Incapacity Benefit and in 2002 I successfully claimed DLA.

In 2004 I was invited to reapply for DLA where I was successful.

9 years passed and in 2013 I was assessed by ATOS as Incapacity Benefit was changing to ESA. I was placed in the SUPPORT GROUP of ESA. The assessment that took place was paper based.

In 2016 my wife’s health deteriorated I applied for PIP on her behalf as she cannot read and write and has multiple physical and cognitive conditions. I firstly had to fight for a home assessment and provided medical evidence to support our request. This was allowed and the assessment took place but unfortunately she was denied PIP. I appealed on her behalf and lost and decided to escalate her case to upper tier tribunal as I believed the original tribunal had erred in its decision.

Now we are in 2017 and I was to be reassessed for ESA and once again I was placed in the support group of ESA again with a paper based decision.  Then another brown envelope hit the mat, this time for my reassessment of my PIP. Unfortunately I was asked to attend one of their assessment centres even though I produced medical evidence supporting my request for an home assessment. Unfortunately I was refused by ATOS but after a long battle the DWP agreed that that the assessment should be an home assessment. Whilst this was happening my wife’s appeal to the upper tier tribunal was successful and I had to prepare for another lower tier tribunal where she succeeded in her claim. Now it was time for my home assessment for continuation of my PIP. The assessor arrived in the middle of 2017 but on arrival I was really poorly such that the assessor thought it best to phone the emergency services. Once the paramedic stabilised my condition the assessor abandoned the assessment and it was rearranged where my award for PIP was to continue.

My health was now deteriorating and my health conditions were as follows:

 

UNSTABLE ANGINA, CORONARY HEART DISEASE, EPILEPSY, ARTHRITIS, TYPE 2 DIABETES, CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN (Arthrodesis and Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Degenerative), CHRONIC HYPERTENSION, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, SEVERE CHRONIC DEPRESSION, SHORTNESS OF BREATH, GASTROPHAGAEL REFLUX DISEASE, PITTED KERATOLYSIS, AND DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF MEDICATION I TAKE I SUFFER FROM THE DEBILITATING SIDE EFFECTS GREATLY AS I TAKE 33 TABLETS A DAY ALONG WITH OTHER MEDICATION.

At the begging of 2018 it was time for my wife’s PIP reassessment. I did everything asked of me by the DWP and got further up to date medical evidence and once again requested a home assessment for her. The assessment took place at our home after another battle with ATOS and her PIP was to continue with an upgraded award from July 2018.

In December 2018 I was to be reassessed by CHDAUK for my continuation of ESA. Because all my previous ESA assessments had been paper based and my health conditions had deteriorated and my medication had greatly increased I expected a paper based assessment to be successful but if not my request for a home assessment to take place. But no I was to be forced to attend there assessment centre even though I had provided up to date medical evidence to support my request. Once again a battle ensued and I made an official complaint to CHDAUK and ICE. I was eventually forced to attend their assessment centre on 30th May 2019. I attended and on arrival I was so ill I collapsed. An assessor by the name of Cath phoned 999 immediately and took a reading of my blood pressure. I was hypertension stage 3 with a blood pressure reading of 194/164. I was stabilised with aspirin and my GTN and taken to accident and emergency. From there I was kept in overnight on the acute medical unit ward. The following day I was discharged back to my GP.

The following week (July 20019) I received communication from CHDAUK that an appointment was going to be made for me to attend their assessment centre once again. I was distraught and informed ICE and my MP and again asked for an home assessment.

Weeks turned into months and I didn’t hear anything at all. 6 months passed and I still hadn’t heard anything and then out of the blue a letter informing me I was to be reassessed once again for my PIP by ATOS. Again my request was turned down and I was being forced to attend their assessment centre even after I explained what had happened and I couldn’t take much more. I again I informed ICE and my MP. I telephoned the DWP in February 2020 and got through to a decision maker. I explained my situation and he said he would get back to me. He did get back to me and gave me a telephone assessment and shortly afterwards I received his decision which was to continue receiving PIP. The following month (March2020) the pandemic started and I was informed by the department for health and social care that I was to shield as I was clinical extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

In December 2020 I received a telephone call from CHDAUK to arrange a telephone consultation for my ESA reassessment, that had started some 2 years earlier. The telephone assessment took place January 2021 and I was told I was to continue in the support group of ESA but would have to visit their assessment centre when face to face assessments resumed. I informed ICE and the DWP. The next thing I heard was from the DWP a couple of weeks later stating I was to continue in the support group of ESA and that would continue for 18 months.

Several months later I received the conclusion via a report from Sarah Gerrard of ICE regarding my complaint against CHDAUK. She found in favour of CHDAUK. I read the report and it contained obvious untruths and have asked the parliamentary and health ombudsman to look at my case. I haven’t heard anything yet and I’m about to chase it up. I await my next brown envelope in dreadedness.

 

Summary

To the DWP and it’s agents I say this, you are killing the spirit your institutions say they believe in. When a low grade nurse can rubbish GP reports and force vulnerable ill claimants to attend assessment centres against the advice of their GP ending up in hospitalisation suicide or even death I say what a sham.

I’m too old and too ill now and I’ve not much fight left. They’ve ripped my soul from my body and my spirit is broken. GP’s are in the best position to know their patients. I don’t know what damage has been done to my health from the worry the anxiety the stress from continuous assessments. Or from the hospitalisation after a blood pressure reading of 196/146 feeling my chest was going to explode the pain so intense I thought I was going to die. Then to be told I was going to be forced to go through this HELL again. And then told by a so called independent case examiner she believed what CHDAUK told her without questioning the obvious untruths tells us what, only that CHDAUK is to be rewarded and me, well feel that my spirit is not broken but DEAD.

 

 

October 2021