Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been introduced by the Government as the replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the benefit for those people who have additional care or mobility needs due to an illness or disability. PIP was launched last year. Atos Healthcare is one of the companies doing the assessment part of the process.
As many of you who have already claimed PIP will know, the overall process is taking longer than expected. We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to makes changes to reduce delays in the part of the process that we do. This includes:
- recruiting more people, including Health Professionals (HP) and staff who process the referrals and respond to your queries.
- using more centres for the face to face consultations
- making sure that we are sending reports to DWP based on paper evidence if they don’t need us to see someone face to face (you can read more information about the types of evidence that are used for this in one of our previous blog posts).
There are no delays with assessments for people who have claimed under Special rules, such as Terminal Illness. These cases are always prioritised.
Quality of reports
It is important that the assessments are as thorough as they can be so that complete and accurate information is provided to DWP. This helps them make the right decision about your award.
In common with the other organisation delivering PIP assessments we believe that every claimant should have the opportunity to set out how their disability affects them and receive a fair and quality report to allow the DWP to make its decision.
The quality of the reports that we produce for the DWP will continue to be a priority for us. This means that we won’t make the consultations shorter than they need to be or stop seeing people that we need to. As you would expect with any new process, we are checking all of the reports of new HPs before sending them to the DWP and we check a proportion of all reports to ensure we are delivering high quality reports. That’s why there may be some time between your consultation and when we send the report to the DWP for them to start making a decision on your PIP claim.
When will you be seen?
If we need to ask you attend a consultation we will write to you with an appointment time and location. Appointments are booked in the order that we receive referrals from the DWP.
You may hear about people being invited for a consultation even though they made their claim after you did. This could be because of how quickly they returned their ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form to DWP, or it could be related to the number of referrals we have in their area of the country compared with yours.
In most parts of the country our current estimate is that it can take between 12 to 16 weeks to arrange your appointment. It may take less time than this or longer, for example if an appointment has to be re-arranged.
We are doing everything we can to complete your assessment as quickly as possible.
We are looking at how we can keep claimants informed, for example by making more information available online, direct letters, and informing support organisations.