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.
One of the key things people want to know before their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) consultation is what they should have with them.
It is important that you can prove your identity when you attend a PIP consultation, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will not allow us to proceed with the consultation if you are unable to prove your identity. It is also important that you can explain to the Health Professional how your condition or disability affects you in daily life.
Why you should bring your appointment letter?
The appointment letter gives you exact details of where to go for your consultation and the phone number of the customer service centre should you need to contact us.
What is suitable for Proof of Identity?
We are required by DWP to carry out a proof of identity check when you have a consultation. Suitable proof is two types of identification from the list below.
- UK driving license
- UK travel pass with photograph
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Debit/credit card
- Council tax demand
- UK utility bill
- Council/housing association rent or tenancy agreement document
- Foreign national ID card
- Evidence of entitlement to state or local authority benefit
In some circumstances we will be able to verify your identity without these documents but it is far easier and quicker if you bring the appropriate documents.
Bringing a Companion
You are encouraged to bring a companion or support worker who knows your situation well with you to your consultation. They can also participate in the consultation itself (if you like) and are frequently helpful in ensuring that the HP gets a full understanding of your situation.
Bringing Additional Supporting Materials
You may have already provided evidence that you had when you completed and returned the ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form to DWP. The Health Professional will have access to this information at the time of your consultation.
However, you can bring new or additional information with you to the consultation. Of particular value will be:
- Tablets and other current medication, such as inhalers
- Any medical aids, such as walking aids, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses
which you would normally use or take with you if going out. You don’t need to bring any aids or adaptations you only use at home however, but the HP will want to talk about these during the assessment
- Any extra medical information, such as test results, or letters which you have from GPs or specialists about your disability or condition, which you’ve not already provided as part of your claim. Anything you have already sent to DWP will be on the system and the HP will be able to see them
You can also see more information on the additional evidence blog