Posts Tagged ‘Department for Work and Pensions’

DWP announcement about the next Work Capability Assessment provider

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that Atos Healthcare will be handing over our contract to deliver the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and other smaller volume benefits to Maximus Health and Human Services Ltd on the 1st of March 2015. At the moment there are no changes to the WCA process for those people already going through it. Please continue to follow any information you have already been given, such as to return the ESA50 questionnaire or attend an appointment for an assessment.

Whilst we can’t answer questions for you about the new contract that the DWP have signed with Maximus, we are still the people to contact for any questions or feedback you have if you are currently going through the assessment process. You can find our feedback process and contact details on our website, which will also continue to provide information about the WCA process until we have handed over to Maximus.

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What to do with new information about your health during the WCA process

We have said before on this blog about the importance in the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) of up to date information about how your illness or disability affects you.  You can include information with the ESA50 questionnaire that you complete and send in as well as bringing in information to the face-to-face part of the assessment if you need to have one.  It is important to remember though that new information can be submitted at any stage in the assessment process.Atos-Healthcare-new information-folder

When a healthcare professional (HCP) reviews your referral to us from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) they take into account all of the information that is available to them at the time.  Depending on the stage in the process, this might be your completed questionnaire, information that you sent in with the questionnaire or information that we have obtained from a health professional involved in your care, such as your GP.  If the HCP has enough information to be able to provide a report to DWP without you needing to have a face-to-face assessment they will do so.

It is helpful to make us aware if you receive new information about your illness or disability or your condition changes at any stage during the assessment process.  The new information can then be taken into account. It might mean that you don’t need to be seen face-to-face or it might mean that you can be seen at home instead of an assessment centre.

Atos-Healthcare-new information-contact-usWhat you need to do with any new information will depend on the stage in the process you’re at and what the new info is.  To find out what to do in your case you can call us on 0800 2888 777 and speak to an advisor.  If we have already sent a report to DWP we can tell you this so that you can send the information to them.  The Decision Maker at the DWP who makes the decision on your ESA claim has access to all of the information that you have sent in or that we have obtained, and takes it into account along with the report that we write.

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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 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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