Until recently only people with a new claim, or people whose Disability Living Allowance (DLA) award needed to be reviewed or was ending, have been assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The government is now starting to end DLA for those people with long term or indefinite DLA awards. This means that these people will need to make a claim for PIP in order to continue receiving support to cover some of the extra costs associated with their health condition or disability.
The DWP keep an up-to-date timetable for the rollout of PIP on their website.
The PIP Claim Process
In the first instance, all claims for PIP must be made to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who will consider the claim eligibility criteria and, if they are met, they will refer the claim to be reviewed by a health professional (HP). The role of the HP is to be independent from DWP and to assess the individual’s ability to carry out daily living activities as set out in the PIP criteria. The independent advice provided by our HPs is in the form of a report that details what parts of the PIP criteria you meet and where you require further support due to your illness or disability.
The PIP Assessment Process
In cases where sufficient relevant evidence is provided with and in the completed PIP Part 2 form, the HP will provide advice to the DWP without needing to see you face-to-face. However, the majority of people will need to be seen face-to-face. This is because in most cases, the HP will require more information on how your disability affects you to be able to provide an accurate report to DWP.
The HP undertaking the assessment is not trying to confirm the diagnosis of your condition; they are simply interested in how your disability or health conditions affect your ability to live independently. It is very common to find that the impact of similar conditions is different for each individual and indeed it is unlikely that everyone will respond in the same way to treatment. It is for these reasons that you may be asked to see an HP face-to-face so that they can listen to how your daily life is affected by the disability or health conditions that you have.
In some cases we will ask to see you face-to-face in a consultation centre because after reviewing your application, we feel that you will be able to make the journey. However, you should contact us using the phone number on the appointment letter if you feel that the journey will be too challenging.
You can find lots more information about the PIP assessment process on our website.
If you have a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) consultation at one of the Atos Healthcare PIP centres or one of our partners’ centres, remember to collect a form for your expenses while you are there. You should always be offered one with an envelope to return it in (you don’t need to pay the postage).
What you can claim expenses for
You can claim your travel expenses from your home to the
centre. This includes if you travelled by public transport (bus or train for example) or in a car driven by you or someone you know. We can sometimes pay for you to travel by taxi if you need to, but you need to speak to us as long before the appointment as possible to discuss it as to claim for a taxi it needs to be authorised by us in advance.
You need to make sure that you keep any tickets or receipts that you get for your travel so that you can send them with the form. This includes receipts for parking if you needed to pay for it. If you travelled by car (but not a taxi) you need to say on the form how many miles you travelled. The money you get back is then worked out from that number at 25p per mile.
You can find all of this information and more like it on the Atos Healthcare PIP website. We have explanations on there of all of the parts of the PIP assessment process as well as information about how to get in touch with us if you need to.
As you hopefully already know, we currently have a website (www.atoshealthcare.com) that we use along with this blog and our YouTube channel. We use these to provide information to you about the assessment process part of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The website has been broadly the same since PIP started, which is over 2 years ago now. We have added in new information over this time, and updated anything that has changed, but we think it might be time for a bigger refresh.
How can you help?
We would like your help with this. Is there any information about the PIP assessment process that isn’t on the website now that you would like to be? Are there any features that you think the website should have?
Let us know through the comments box below or the website feedback mailbox.
What will happen next?
It might end up that we can’t implement everything that is asked for or give personal responses to each suggestion, but we will do another blog at a later date explaining what we have and haven’t done.
Most people who claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) need to have a face-to-face consultation as part of their assessment. Consultations can take place in lots of places around the country. Some of the places are dedicated centres for PIP consultations. Others are also used for other things as well, such as physiotherapy sessions. All of the centres that we use for PIP consultations are listed on our website. The list is split into regions to help you find ones near to where you live. We update the list as new centres open.
How is your consultation centre chosen?
If you need to have a face-to-face consultation we will send you an appointment letter. See our post ‘Will a face-to-face consultation always be required if I claim PIP’ for an explanation of when you would need to be seen. The appointment will be at one of the centres near to where you live. It won’t necessarily be the nearest centre. This is because there might not have been any appointments available there at the time the appointment was booked.
Can you change your PIP consultation appointment?
Yes, you can change your appointment. You can change it to another day or time. You can also change the centre that the appointment is at. You can only change your appointment once though. The appointment letter that you have been sent tells you how to contact us to change your appointment or ask any other questions that you might have.
What if you can’t get to any of the centres?
If you are unable to leave your house to get to a consultation centre because of your health condition or impairment we might be able to do the consultation in your home. See our post ‘When would you have a consultation at home for PIP’ for more information about having a consultation at home.
Following on from our last post about testing improvements to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment process, there is another change we can tell you that Atos Healthcare is testing. We are testing gathering some information from you during a telephone call before the face-to-face consultation, rather than gathering it during it.
In this scenario, a qualified Health Professional (HP) will call you about 2 to 3 weeks before your appointment. They will explain who they are and the purpose of the call. They will then ask if you have any questions and if you are willing to provide some of the factual information that would normally be written down at the consultation. For example, this might be your medical history and the list of medications you use. This does not replace the need for a face-to-face consultation, which is where you can describe the challenges you face with daily living tasks. There is no obligation on your part to spend time on the call and there is no pressure to do so.
What is the reason for the call?
The reason for the call is to enable the HP to complete the first part of the report. It also gives the HP the opportunity to explain to you what you should expect when you attend your consultation. This means that when you attend your face-to-face consultation it can be more focused on you discussing the challenges you face with daily living tasks. We hope that such calls will lead to more claimants attending their consultations and reduced anxiety levels for claimants who might have been nervous. The face-to-face meeting might then be slightly shorter, but importantly, able to focus on the daily living areas that you find difficult.
Why does this need to be tested?
The reason we are testing this approach is that we need to be certain that you don’t misunderstand the purpose of the call and believe it is in some way underhand. This is not the case. The calls are purely for the purpose of improving the experience and providing accurate reports to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
There are also a few reasons why you might be unwilling to have a telephone call, including if you intend to have a companion at the consultation to help you or if you find it difficult to talk on the phone. The HP will understand if you simply wish to attend the consultation in the normal way.
If you have any comments or questions about this, let us know in the comments section below. See our ‘contact us’ page for info about how to get in touch if you have a question about your particular PIP assessment.