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.
Atos Healthcare has been assessing people as part of their claims for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for two years now. Over that time we have learned a lot about what works well, and we have identified some areas where improvements might be possible. Whilst we don’t have any control over the design of the assessment itself (that is the DWP), as one of the assessment providers we are responsible for other parts of the assessment process, such as the places that consultations take place in and the ways we communicate about the assessment process with claimants.
Doing things better
We have implemented a number of changes already; including, text message reminders about appointments and developed our YouTube channel as another way for people to find out about the PIP assessment process. We are always considering how we can do things better. This is often a balance that needs to be struck between different options.
Any change we trial is aimed at improving the service we offer for claimants and for DWP. It is important that we carefully consider the balance between the claimant experience in terms of attending a consultation and the overall waiting time. One trial that we are able to tell you about now is how we are looking to change the way we arrange taxis.
A claimant can request a taxi to their face to face consultation if they are unable to take public transport, but are still able to leave their house. At the moment, if a taxi is approved it is paid for by the claimant and the money claimed back from us through expenses. We are trialling the use of a national taxi account that will charge us directly for the journey, rather than ask the claimant to pay and give them a receipt to claim back.
Currently we are testing this for appointments booked at 5 of our centres; Deptford, Chelmsford, Manchester, Plymouth and Norwich. We need to make sure the process works properly in practice and that there are no unexpected problems. We are likely to extend the number of sites that will have this facility later this year.
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.