We know that some people who have a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) have specific requirements, either at the face to face assessment if one is required, or beforehand in relation to how we communicate with them. Examples of requirements are things like needing a sign language interpreter or a health professional of the same gender.
If you need correspondence from us to be sent to you in a different format, such as large print, this can be done. If the DWP are already aware that you need this they will inform us when they make a referral to us so that it is in place from the start of the WCA process.
If you have any of these special requirements that you want to discuss with us please contact the Atos Healthcare Customer Service Centre on 0800 2888 777. It is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.
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Taking special requirements into account for the WCA
There has been an announcement today regarding Atos Healthcare’s contract to undertake Work Capability Assessments (WCA) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
We have seen that this has caused some confusion for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants, especially those who currently have appointments to attend a face to face assessment. To clarify, we are continuing to complete WCA for anyone already referred to us by the Department for Work and Pensions and those referred going forwards. If you have been asked to attend an assessment please do attend as planned.
The WCA process that you will go through has not been changed.
The announcement only relates to WCA and does not affect the contract that we have for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments.
If you are going through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process, either for the first time or if you have gone through it before, there is a large amount of information on our website, blog and YouTube channel. You can find information that can help to explain the assessment process to you, or answer any specific questions that you might have.
On our website we have split the information into sections depending on whether it relates to the early parts of the assessment process, the face to face assessment or what happens after the assessment. There is also a frequently asked question (FAQ) section organised in the same categories. You can also find the information that you get with your appointment letter to help you get to the assessment centre, if you are asked to attend one.
We use our blog and YouTube channel to cover particular topics in more detail, or in a different way or format. We are always adding new information. We also use our blog to highlight changes to the process that you might need to be aware of.
If there is anything about the WCA process that we haven’t covered, or if you have a query about your own assessment or referral to us by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), there is information on our website about how to contact us. If you have questions about any other elements of the ESA claim process the DWP can help. Their contact details will be on any letters you have received from them.
If you have questions about your claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), this short video is designed to direct you to the people who can best provide an answer.
This is a guide to the questions you can direct to Atos Healthcare, which does PIP assessments in some parts of the country, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is responsible for the benefit, and completes the other parts of the process.
In general, the Atos Healthcare Customer Service Centre can help you with queries relating to your PIP consultation, while the DWP can provide information about how to lodge your initial claim and their decision on eligibility.
If you want to read more about the PIP assessment process see our PIP FAQ pages or the PIP section of our blog for more information.
Many people who claim DLA and those who are expected to claim PIP experience both physical and mental challenges. The diversity of mental conditions means that even though our health professionals are trained to assess people with all conditions, including mental health conditions, they may still require support regarding less familiar conditions. All Health Professionals (HP) are fully qualified in their health discipline and all receive training in disability assessment which includes specific training in mental health conditions.
Mental Function Champions (MFCs) are experienced Health Professionals who have direct and relevant work experience of helping patients with mental health problems and who can advise the HP on any aspect of the effects of mental health conditions on someone’s everyday life.
What is the role of a Mental Function Champion (MFC)?
- To offer advice and support for health professionals in dealing with people who have mental, intellectual, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
- To identify and highlight training needs for individual health professionals.
- To keep up to date with best practice and management of mental health conditions. They maintain a portfolio of their readings to demonstrate this.
What are their qualifications?
- A PIP MFC will have at least two years’ postgraduate experience in a clinical role involving the management of patients with mental health problems, learning disability or cognitive impairment. For example: a mental function champion could be a registered mental health nurse or learning disability nurse. Many are highly experienced with 10 years’ experience or more.
- They will have completed intensive Atos Healthcare training, a separate course covering mental health, the training materials for which are reviewed by the DWP