Posts Tagged ‘Department for Work and Pensions’

Taking special requirements into account for the WCA

We know that some people going through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process will have specific needs. We have a range of services available for those who need them and we’d like to explain about how you can access them.

Specific needs during your correspondence with us

Atos-Healthcare-special-requirements-sign-languageIf you have informed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a requirement to get written correspondence in a different format, such as Braille or large print, they will inform us and you will get letters from us in that format.  If we have not been informed by the DWP, you can still arrange for our correspondence to be in an alternative format by contacting us by phone, or by email.

Specific needs in arranging your assessment

We will also try to accommodate any requirements you have in relation to a face to face assessment if you need to have one, such as: 

  • Language interpreters, including British Sign Language
  • If you feel that you can only do the face-to-face assessment with a health care professional of the same sex, for example, on cultural or religious grounds, we will try our best to provide one for you, although this may not always be possible.

If you require any of the above for your appointment you should inform us as soon as possible.

Specific Mobility Needs

If you have significant mobility problems it might be the case that we can’t see you at your nearest assessment centre.  Although all of the sites we use are fully accessible, a small number of them need a certain level of mobility to be compliant with their fire and evacuation procedures. Your appointment letter will tell you about the centre where your assessment is due to take place and whether there are any constraints around mobility.  If it is not suitable please call us. We apologise for any inconvenience but please be assured that with prior warning we will be able to arrange a suitable alternative.

Atos-Healthcare-special-requirements-contactHow do you discuss your requirements?

To discuss any special requirements you have you can get in touch with our customer service centre on 0800 2888 777 in advance of your appointment. You can also find the number on your appointment letter. The customer service centre is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.

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Can I see a copy of my WCA report?

A Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is an opportunity for you to describe to a healthcare professional (HCP) in your own words how your condition(s) affects your day-to-day life.

During and after Atos-Healthcare-wca-report-health-professionalthe WCA the HCP will complete a report, based on what you said during your assessment as well as medical reasoning and any available medical evidence. For more information about what the report is, please see this explanation of your report  blog. Once the report has been completed it is sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The report doesn’t say what the benefit decision will be as the decision is made by the DWP. The DWP uses this medical report as one of the pieces oAtos-Healthcare-wca-report-callingf evidence in reaching their decision.

If you would like to see a copy of your report, you can contact the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with your claim.  Their telephone number will be on the letters you have received from them about your claim. Or, you can call 0800 055 6688 to find out the telephone number for your local Jobcentre Plus.

 See also:

Atos Healthcare: All about your Work Capability Assessment report

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Where to go for more information on Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment is a new benefit and will eventually replace Disability Living Allowance for working age people.  This is a very important level of financial support for people with conditions and disabilities who face extra costs associated with living independently.  It is understandable that there will be many questions about this change and not surprisingly there is a great deal of information available and from many different sources.

Useful PIP information from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)Atos-Healthcare-pip-links-signpost

For many people the most appropriate place to start will be the gov.uk websites relating to PIP; they give a very good overview of the eligibility criteria and what to expect from the benefit. There is also information for support organisations that help claimants in completing the ‘how your disability affects you’ questionnaire.

Here are some examples of what is available:

The UK government has decided that people applying for PIP should be assessed against standard criteria and that the assessment should be done independently of DWP by appointed ‘Assessment Providers’.  Atos Healthcare and Capita have been appointed as the PIP assessment providers for the UK.

Useful PIP information from Atos Healthcare

Atos Healthcare has provided information on our website about our approach to PIP assessment provision, against criteria set by the DWP.  We also provide this information in the letters that we send to claimants who are invited to a face to face consultation as part of their assessment.

We aim to provide information in a number of different formats to help explain our part of the process to people with differing communications needs.  The assessment process is depicted in our animation. Our frequently asked questions section and this blog also provide information on a range of topics related to our role in the assessment process.

Atos-Healthcare-pip-links-computer-screePIP Information from charities and other organisations

In addition to information from the DWP and from the Assessment Providers, there is a wealth of information provided by Disability Representative Groups (DRG).  These groups often provide information that is focused on specific conditions or disabilities and in many cases is more directly relevant to an individual with that condition.

Disability Rights UK has written a comprehensive guide to PIP, which includes detailed information on the entire process, including making the initial claim, filling in the form, and the face-to-face consultation.

fact sheet from Carers UK explains the differences between three benefits, PIP, Disability Living Allowance, and Attendance Allowance.

There is also more information available from other charities – we’ve listed some links below from these groups where you can find more information on welfare reform and benefits

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Help finding your WCA assessment centre

This post gives you information about how best to find your way to a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) assessment centre.  Most of the people who get referred to us by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for a WCA will have a face to face assessment in an assessment centre.  If you do, you will receive a letter telling you when and where your appointment will be.

The WCA Appointment Letter

The letter you receivAtos-Healthcare-directions-manchester-mape will have with it a page of directions covering various modes of transport, as well as a map of the area around the centre. In addition to this we have all of the sites listed on our website with similar travel information and an interactive map.  You are able to change your appointment once, so if you think that you would have difficulties in attending the centre on your appointment letter, it may be possible to change to a centre that is easier for you to get to.  You can do this by calling us on 0800 2888 777.  Generally you will have been allocated to the centre that is nearest to your home address and within 90 minutes travel time by public transport.

The availability of things like parking are covered in the information on each site.  It is worth checking to seAtos-Healthcare-directions-one-waye if you need to phone ahead to access a disabled parking space, or if you need to change to a site that is more accessible for you.  We are constantly working with the DWP to improve the sites that are available to us and welcome feedback you have on aspects of the site you visit.  Detailed information on claiming expenses for your journey to the assessment centre can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages.

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How new additional medical information is used during a Work Capability Assessment

Previously on this blog we have written about the importance of additional medical information to the work capability assessment (WCA) process.  This post expands on what is considered to be relevant information, and how any information you bring in at the face to face assessment stage is used.

Medical information that is relevant to the WCA processAtos-Healthcare-relevant-medical-info-post

The sort of information that is relevant to the WCA process is anything that provides further insight into how you personally are affected by your illness or disability.  This is useful because people with the same diagnosis can be affected in different ways, depending on things like varying severities, and how long someone has had to adapt to their circumstances. So, if you have copies of any outpatient clinic letters, x-ray or scan results, or anything else that contains medical information about you, please bring them along.

You do not, however, need to provide information which is more general and does not refer to you personally, such as printouts of internet pages about your medical conditions or treatments. This is because the healthcare professional who reviews your case is interested in how you personally are affected by your problems.

The Work Capability Assessment is designed to assess what a person is, or is not, able to do in terms of common everyday activities and actions, rather than in diagnosing someone or confirming any existing diagnoses.

How medical information brought into the face to face assessment is usedAtos-Healthcare-relevant-medical-info-photocopier

Generally, the earlier in the process that you provide medical information, the better.  Every referral that starts the assessment process gets reviewed by a health care professional (HCP), and it might be the case that advice can be given without needing a face to face assessment.  We have previously described this process in more depth on this blog.   However, if you are asked to attend a face to face assessment you can still bring in any evidence that you didn’t provide before.  This will be especially useful if it is recent information.  We have also produced a checklist that you might want to use to help you remember what else to bring.

When you bring written information to the face to face assessment the HCP will review it at the start of the assessment.  They will look at what you have brought, and if appropriate it will help to direct part of the discussion you go on to have.  The HCP will not necessarily read every item in depth when you give it to them, but they will read anything that is relevant before finishing their report.  With your permission, items will be copied and included in your file so that they are available to the DWP Decision Maker when they decide on your entitlement to ESA.

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