Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been designed by the Government to help with some of the extra costs associated with long-term ill health or a disability for those aged between 16 and 64. It has been introduced as a replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have overall responsibility for PIP, and directly manage the claim, decision making and payments part of it, as well as the overall policy that sets out how it works. The assessment part of the PIP process, which happens when you first claim PIP as well as periodically while you receive it, is managed by assessment providers, one of which is Atos Healthcare (we cover Scotland, the north of England and the south of England including London).
The role of the PIP assessment provider
As an assessment provider it is our job to provide an independent assessment of the impact that a claimant’s health condition or disability has on their daily life. The report we provide for DWP for any PIP claimant has to be objective and unbiased. Each assessment report is produced by a Health Professional qualified in disability assessment. They could be Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Doctors or Paramedics.
The information used to write the report could come from various places, such as:
- your completed ‘How your disability affects you’ form
- Any other relevant information you provided with your form
- Information that we ask for and receive from people involved in your care,
- A face-to-face consultation with you (if the other information isn’t enough).
- Information provided by DWP
All this information is considered by the Health Professional so that they can provide a report to the DWP decision maker that explains what it all means in relation to the PIP criteria (also known as the descriptors). The decision maker uses the report along with the rest of the information to decide whether the PIP criteria are met and, if so, to what extent, so that they can make an award.
How do we fulfil our role?
Atos Healthcare is responsible for the assessment phase. This includes all of the administrative tasks (such as receiving referrals from DWP, moving them along the different stages, issuing letters to claimants and requesting information) and the assessment itself (including the face-to-face consultations and paper based reviews and reports). We work closely with DWP to ensure that any changes that DWP make to the policy are reflected in the way we are carrying out the PIP assessments. DWP also set targets for us in areas such as quality of both service and reports and the time within which we should provide them with a report after they have sent a referral to us. However, we don’t have any targets relating to the type of advice we provide or the decisions that DWP ultimately make on claims.
You can find more detailed information about the different parts of the PIP assessment process for our areas on our website, as well as by looking at other blog posts here. The infographic below might also help you to identify who you need to contact with any questions that you might have.