Posts Tagged ‘DWP’

DLA is ending

Until recently only people with a new claim, or people whose Disability Living Allowance (DLA) award needed to be reviewed or was ending, have been assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The government is now starting to end DLA for those people with long term or indefinite DLA awards. This means that these people will need to make a claim for PIP in order to continue receiving support to cover some of the extra costs associated with their health condition or disability.

The DWP keep an up-to-date timetable for the rollout of PIP on their website.

The PIP Claim Process

In the first instance, all claims for PIP must be made to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who will consider the claim eligibility criteria and, if they are met, they will refer the claim to be reviewed by a health professional (HP).  The role of the HP is to be independent from DWP and to assess the individual’s ability to carry out daily living activities as set out in the PIP criteria. The independent advice provided by our HPs is in the form of a report that details what parts of the PIP criteria you meet and where you require further support due to your illness or disability.

The PIP Assessment Process

In cases where sufficient relevant evidence is provided with and in the completed PIP Part 2 form, the HP will provide advice to the DWP without needing to see you face-to-face. However, the majority of people will need to be seen face-to-face. This is because in most cases, the HP will require more information on how your disability affects you to be able to provide an accurate report to DWP.

The HP undertaking the assessment is not trying to confirm the diagnosis of your condition; they are simply interested in how your disability or health conditions affect your ability to live independently. It is very common to find that the impact of similar conditions is different for each individual and indeed it is unlikely that everyone will respond in the same way to treatment. It is for these reasons that you may be asked to see an HP face-to-face so that they can listen to how your daily life is affected by the disability or health conditions that you have.

In some cases we will ask to see you face-to-face in a consultation centre because after reviewing your application, we feel that you will be able to make the journey. However, you should contact us using the phone number on the appointment letter if you feel that the journey will be too challenging.

You can find lots more information about the PIP assessment process on our website.

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DWP have set dates for the further extension of PIP reassessments

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have recently announced a further extension of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessments to several new postcode areas from the 25th May, 22nd June and 27th July 2015. The updated version of the map that they produce to illustrate the rollout is below.

Reassessment means that the following current 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 the Atos Healthcare website.

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PIP reassessments extend to more postcodes

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.

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The role of observation in the Personal Independence Payment assessment

An aspect of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment that is sometimes misunderstood is how informal observations are taken into account. The PIP Assessment Guide, produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is very explicit about this (we have included the relevant extract at the end of this blog post).

Why do observations form part of the Personal Independence Payment assessment?

The role of observation in the Personal Independence Payment AssessmentInformal observations form part of the PIP assessment because they can add to the information that is available to the HP for them to be able to provide a report to the DWP. They may, for example, indicate that you have problems that you haven’t referred to elsewhere, or give a clearer indication of how you are affected by certain aspects of your disability or illness. It is important to remember that PIP is concerned with your needs as a result of your disability or illness, rather than the disability or illness itself.

Observations will only be made by the HP while they are with you during a face-to-face consultation. They won’t be made through things such as CCTV or observation of the car park through a window. They also won’t be done by anyone other than the HP, such as a receptionist.

How observations are used in the Personal Independence Payment assessment

If you are observed to do something by the HP it does not mean that they will assume that you can always do that. The PIP assessment takes into account that some conditions can fluctuate, and that whether you can do something reliably is important. We have covered on this blog previously both how fluctuating conditions are handled under PIP and how the reliability criteria are applied.

HPs will always consider informal observations in the context of fluctuations in someone’s condition. However, if the observations are inconsistent with what has been claimed in the ‘how your disability affect you’ form then the HP will have to use their judgement about what weight to apply to them.

We know that some people are advised by others to explain how they are affected by their illness or disability as if every day is like their worst. If you say in your ‘How your disability affects you’ form that you can never complete a particular task, but you are then seen doing so by the HP, this may be viewed as inconsistent. If your condition fluctuates you are always better explaining how it fluctuates in terms of things like good days vs bad days per week or per year.

Extract from the DWP PIP Assessment Guide, 27th May 2014

Informal observations

  • 2.6.24. Throughout the consultation, the HP should be making informal observations and evaluating any functional limitations described by the claimant. Informal observations start from “meeting and greeting” (where HPs may be able to observe the claimant’s appearance, manner, hearing ability, walking ability) and continue throughout history taking. The claimant’s mood, powers of concentration and ability to stand, sit, move around freely and use their hands should be observed. They may also be observed performing activities such as bending down to retrieve objects such as a handbag on the floor beside them, or reaching out for an object such as their medication.
  • 2.6.25. HPs may note how claimants stand and mobilise to any examination couch and observe the ease with which they get on and off the couch. How does the claimant remove their clothes or shoes? Informal observations should be recorded in the report, for example: “I observed the claimant… and they appeared to have no difficulty with…”; “I saw the claimant lean heavily on a walking stick to cover the distance to the consulting room”.
  • 2.6.26. The HP should note any aids or appliances in evidence, such as a walking aid, and the extent to which they are used during the consultation. Aids are devices that help a performance of a function, for example walking sticks or spectacles. Appliances are devices that provide or replace a missing function, for example artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or collecting devices for stomas.
  • 2.6.27. The HP’s informal observations will also help check the consistency of evidence on the claimant’s functional ability. For example, there is an inconsistency of evidence if a claimant bends down to retrieve a handbag from the floor but then later during formal assessment of the spine, declines to bend at all on the grounds of pain or if the claimant states that they have no mobility problems but they appear to struggle to walk to the consulting room. In deciding their advice, the HP will need to weigh this inconsistency, and decide, with full reasoning, which observation should apply.

 

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When would you have a consultation at home for PIP?

Most people who claim Personal Independence Payment will need to have a face to face consultation as part of the assessment process.  A consultation may not be needed if enough supporting information is available for a report to be completed by a Heath Professional and sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Atos-Healthcare-pip-home-consultation-front-doorWhere does Atos Healthcare carry out PIP consultations?

For people who do need to be seen in person most consultations take place in one of the consultation centres around the country.  However, if it is clear from the information that we have that travelling to a consultation centre would cause significant distress we will automatically arrange for the consultation to take place in the claimant’s home.

If someone is given an appointment in a consultation centre, but does not think that they would be able to attend due to their health problems, they may still contact us and request a home consultation. All claimants are treated as individuals and the offer of home consultations is done on a case by case basis.

How a home consultation decision is made

A consultation will take place at your home if you are unable to travel to a centre due to your illness or disability.  This would apply if, for example, your GP needs to see you in your home rather than their surgery.  It is worth saying though that even if you do travel to your GP surgery it does not mean you won’t be eligible for a home consultation.Atos-Healthcare-pip-home-consultation-contact-us

Other reasons why you might have a home consultation

A small number of home consultations may take place for reasons other than your inability to travel.  For example, this might be because you live in one of the small number of places where there isn’t a consultation centre within 90 minutes travel time by public transport.  A list of all of our PIP consultation centres can be found on our website.

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