Preparing for Your PIP Assessment

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Preparing for Your PIP Assessment

One of the main parts of applying for PIP is the PIP Assessment.  Only people with a terminal illness are exempt from taking this assessment.  It is a chance to explain how your condition affects you but isn’t a diagnosis or a medical examination.

You should prepare for the assessment.  DWP will use the information you provide in the application to help format the assessment.  And you will be assessed by either Atos or Capita – DWP will let you know which beforehand. They will complete a report that is sent to DWP.

Talking about your condition

It is important that you are ready to talk about your condition and how it affects you during the assessment.  You have to do this even if you have already given details in your application form and provided letters from medical professionals.

It is good to talk about things that are difficult to do such as walking steps without some help or remembering to go for hospital appointments.  Detail how your condition affects you on a daily basis. What do your bad days look like – you can’t walk, you can’t leave the house, or you are simply too depressed to do anything due to the pain.

You can take a copy of your claim form along with you to remind you of what you said in it.  Don’t feel rushed into answering the questions and try to explain how something makes you feel and how it impacts you.  

What to expect

The assessor will make use of your claim form for information but also on what you say and do during the assessment.  They might ask things like how you got to the centre – if you came on the bus alone, this would be noted.

You may be asked to carry out some physical tasks during the assessment.  Never do something you wouldn’t normally be able to do and if you are uncomfortable doing something, tell the assessor.

The assessor also looks at your mental state as part of the assessment.  This includes looking at things like depression or anxiety and how you cope with social interactions.

You can take someone along as support if they are aged 16 or older.  This can be a friend, relative or carer and they can take notes and even be a part of discussions if you want them to be.

Ask for adjustments

If you are worried about not being able to get to or get around the testing location, don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments.  They will always aim to make it comfortable and stress-free for you. for example, you can ask if there’s a lift if you need to go upstairs and if it can accommodate a wheelchair if you use one.

If you get anxious in enclosed spaces, don’t be afraid to ask for a roomy location or about the size of corridors to get to the location.  You can also ask for an interpreter or signer if you need one, although do this at least 2 working days before the assessment so they can arrange for someone.  You can even request the assessor is the same gender as you if this makes you more comfortable.

You can also have an audio recording made of the assessment, but you need to request this at least 3 days before.  You can often use your own equipment but there are some rules.

Changing the venue

If the assessment location is more than 90 minutes away by public transport and you have problems travelling distances, you can ask for a change of venue.  This might be to another location or to have a visit to your home.

If you normally get GPs to visit you are home, the assessor is more likely to agree to this.  You may need a letter from your GP to confirm this.

You can phone your assessor on the number featured in the letter.  If it isn’t considered, this could be classed as discrimination.

Attending the assessment

You must attend the assessment otherwise you won’t qualify for PIP and the process will need to restart.  If you can’t make the appointment, you need to get in touch with them as soon as possible to reschedule it.  If you have already missed it, they may consider rescheduling if there was a good reason for it. There’s no set rule as to what is a good reason but things like a health issue or family bereavement may count.  If the claim is declined due to a missed assessment you can request a change of decision.

Travel expenses

The cost of the journey to the assessment centre and back can be claimed for.  This also includes parking and fuel costs as well as costs for someone who accompanies you.  You can’t get this before the assessment, however, nor can you claim for things like meals or loss of earnings.

If you travel by taxi, it must be approved beforehand, or they may not reimburse the money.  For car users, the parking and 25p per mile can be reimbursed.

To claim the expenses, you can get a claim form from the assessment centre and return it to the DWP with tickets and other proof of expenses.