DWP have set dates for the further extension of PIP reassessments

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have recently announced a further extension of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessments to several new postcode areas from the 25th May, 22nd June and 27th July 2015. The updated version of the map that they produce to illustrate the rollout is below.

Reassessment means that the following current DLA recipients will be invited to claim PIP

  • those with fixed period DLA awards ending ;
  • young people turning 16;
  • those where there is a report of a change in the DLA claimant’s health condition or disability; and
  • existing DLA claimants aged 16-64 who wish to make a PIP claim.

 

More information about the design of PIP can be found on the gov.uk website.  We have produced information about the assessment process for PIP.  You can find this information on this blog, as well as on the Atos Healthcare website.

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PIP reassessments extend to more postcodes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have recently announced a further rollout of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessments to several new postcode areas from the 30th March 2015. They have produced the map below to show the new areas and the rollout so far.

Reassessment means that the following current Disability Living Allowance  (DLA) recipients will be invited to claim PIP:

  • those with fixed period DLA awards ending ;
  • young people turning 16;
  • those where there is a report of a change in the DLA claimant’s health condition or disability; and
  • existing DLA claimants aged 16-64 who wish to make a PIP claim.

 

More information about the design of PIP can be found on the gov.uk website.  We have produced information about the assessment process for PIP.  You can find this information on this blog, as well as on our website.

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Atos Healthcare video guide: What to have with you for a PIP consultation

We just want to highlight a video we have recently published on the Atos Healthcare YouTube channel. It describes the information and documents that you need to have if you are having a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) consultation as part of your PIP claim. You can also find this information in the pack you get with your appointment letter.

We have several other videos about the PIP assessment process on YouTube to support the information that you can find on our website.

 

If you have any questions about what you need to bring, you can also find out how you can contact us on our website.

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Can you have a companion with you for your PIP consultation?

Many of the people who claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will need to have a face-to-face consultation as part of the PIP assessment process. We just want to make sure that you know that you are welcome to have a companion with you during your consultation.Atos Healthcare PIP support

A companion can be anyone you choose: from a friend or family member to a support worker or carer. We know that having someone with you can help to make attending a consultation much less stressful. If your consultation is at one of our consultation centres a companion can also provide practical or emotional support while you are travelling and whilst waiting to go in.

Can the companion contribute during the consultation?

With your permission, your companion may be able to provide a valuable contribution to the discussion with the health professional (HP) in helping you to answer their questions. For example, if you have mental, cognitive impairment or learning difficulties a companion may be able to help you to give an accurate account of how your health condition or disability impacts on your daily life.

Atos Healthcare PIP CompanionThe HP will be keen to hear extra information from your companion but it is important to note that the consultation and discussion will always be focused towards you as it is essential that the HP’s advice is based on your circumstances.

Whether you choose to bring someone with you just for company, for practical support or to help you during the consultation please just let the HP know who they are and how you would like them to be involved.

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The role of observation in the Personal Independence Payment assessment

An aspect of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment that is sometimes misunderstood is how informal observations are taken into account. The PIP Assessment Guide, produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is very explicit about this (we have included the relevant extract at the end of this blog post).

Why do observations form part of the Personal Independence Payment assessment?

The role of observation in the Personal Independence Payment AssessmentInformal observations form part of the PIP assessment because they can add to the information that is available to the HP for them to be able to provide a report to the DWP. They may, for example, indicate that you have problems that you haven’t referred to elsewhere, or give a clearer indication of how you are affected by certain aspects of your disability or illness. It is important to remember that PIP is concerned with your needs as a result of your disability or illness, rather than the disability or illness itself.

Observations will only be made by the HP while they are with you during a face-to-face consultation. They won’t be made through things such as CCTV or observation of the car park through a window. They also won’t be done by anyone other than the HP, such as a receptionist.

How observations are used in the Personal Independence Payment assessment

If you are observed to do something by the HP it does not mean that they will assume that you can always do that. The PIP assessment takes into account that some conditions can fluctuate, and that whether you can do something reliably is important. We have covered on this blog previously both how fluctuating conditions are handled under PIP and how the reliability criteria are applied.

HPs will always consider informal observations in the context of fluctuations in someone’s condition. However, if the observations are inconsistent with what has been claimed in the ‘how your disability affect you’ form then the HP will have to use their judgement about what weight to apply to them.

We know that some people are advised by others to explain how they are affected by their illness or disability as if every day is like their worst. If you say in your ‘How your disability affects you’ form that you can never complete a particular task, but you are then seen doing so by the HP, this may be viewed as inconsistent. If your condition fluctuates you are always better explaining how it fluctuates in terms of things like good days vs bad days per week or per year.

Extract from the DWP PIP Assessment Guide, 27th May 2014

Informal observations

  • 2.6.24. Throughout the consultation, the HP should be making informal observations and evaluating any functional limitations described by the claimant. Informal observations start from “meeting and greeting” (where HPs may be able to observe the claimant’s appearance, manner, hearing ability, walking ability) and continue throughout history taking. The claimant’s mood, powers of concentration and ability to stand, sit, move around freely and use their hands should be observed. They may also be observed performing activities such as bending down to retrieve objects such as a handbag on the floor beside them, or reaching out for an object such as their medication.
  • 2.6.25. HPs may note how claimants stand and mobilise to any examination couch and observe the ease with which they get on and off the couch. How does the claimant remove their clothes or shoes? Informal observations should be recorded in the report, for example: “I observed the claimant… and they appeared to have no difficulty with…”; “I saw the claimant lean heavily on a walking stick to cover the distance to the consulting room”.
  • 2.6.26. The HP should note any aids or appliances in evidence, such as a walking aid, and the extent to which they are used during the consultation. Aids are devices that help a performance of a function, for example walking sticks or spectacles. Appliances are devices that provide or replace a missing function, for example artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or collecting devices for stomas.
  • 2.6.27. The HP’s informal observations will also help check the consistency of evidence on the claimant’s functional ability. For example, there is an inconsistency of evidence if a claimant bends down to retrieve a handbag from the floor but then later during formal assessment of the spine, declines to bend at all on the grounds of pain or if the claimant states that they have no mobility problems but they appear to struggle to walk to the consulting room. In deciding their advice, the HP will need to weigh this inconsistency, and decide, with full reasoning, which observation should apply.

 

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