P.I.P.,Assesment..? — Scope | Disability forum
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lavender Member Posts: 29 Connected
Could someone who has been through the Assesment with the French firm " ATOS" give me the
benefit of their experince "PLEASE"?
Should i "RECORD" the  Assesment ,as there seems to be conflicting opinions?
Many thanks.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,575 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2017
    You can not record an assessment without first agreeing with the assessments providers. If you record the assessment without them knowing and they catch you, the assessment will imediately stop, you file will be returned to DWP and you'll very likely be refused the benefit.
  • Barrylad1957
    Barrylad1957 Member Posts: 100 Courageous
    Hi @lavender
    I had my pip assessment (or consultation, as they kept reminding me) just last week. It wasnt at all like I expected, but reports and reviews vary so much, I dont think theres an actual 'rule of thumb', tbh. It was certainly nowhere near as uncomfortable as I expected, the hcp who dealt with me was reasonable and pleasant. I followed advice from social workers and support groups, and listened carefully to the wealth of advice and information I learned on here; I took somebody with me, didnt 'dress up' for it as if it were a job interview, and took my time answering the nurses questions and queries, thinking about how to respond before opening my big mouth. I read my copy of the application several times the day before and on the day of the assessment, I didnt travel to it by public transport, or attempt to drive to it - rather, I asked the advocate who attended with me to pick me up and take me home from the centre. I honestly dont know if the stories about them watching how you arrive at and leave the centre are true, but decided to behave as if they were. The process of 'recording' the assessment legitimately is painfully difficult to accomplish - like, you have to have a device that simultaneously records onto 2 discs or tapes simultaneously, and give them one copy, you keep the other, blah blah blah, but as @poppy123456 says above, if you try and 'stealth' record it on a mobile phone or other concealed device it can all go terribly wrong (for you) on the day, is inadmissable as evidence, and therefore a waste of time to try. Watch out for questions about pets - you havent got any, even if you have - and about how much tv you watch; I said I watched about an hour or two of news per day. The assessor also seemed to be inordinately interested in how and when I used my mobile phone, and what I used it for. I told her, truthfully, that I only had my immediate families numbers,the DWP's number, and that I didnt always answer it, even when I recognised the caller id, and never used it to access the internet.
     I posted a full detailed report of the assessment on the day, you should be able to find it here under my name if you want to read it. Whatever kind of day youre having on the day, make sure that youre having your worst day, if you get me? Let them see what your life is like under the worst circumstances of your condition. I was told that my assessment would be "about an hour", but it lasted for almost double that. Take somebody with you - if you have an advocate or someone who is dealing with your case, try and get them to accompany you, but if not, a friend or relative, but dont go by yourself, if you can help it. The assessors can be nice and friendly and even seem supportive on the day, but you won't know what theyre thinking so be cautious with them, would be my advice. Take your time, take somebody with you, and dont try to record it on the quiet - if you cant get the correct recording equipment, (most people cant) and permission to use it, its better if you dont.
    Good luck, I hope it all goes your way, let us know how you get on.
  • lavender
    lavender Member Posts: 29 Connected
    Barry i simply can't thank you enough for your experience. If i did record it would NOT  be covertly but in the full knowledge of the assesor. Thanks again i will read your full write up.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,575 Disability Gamechanger
    Great advice there by Barry!
    They do watch you from the minute you arrive to the minute you leave. The questions you'll be ask are based around what you stated on your form. Be careful of the questions they ask you because you may not realise it at the time but some of them can be trying to catch you out and you won't even realise it. For EG, if you stated you can't sit down for long periods of time and the HCP asks you in general chit chat "how long do you spend watching TV?" and you say about 4-5 hours a day then they've just caught you out. If you have more evidence take it with you on the day. Another little bit of great advice is they have an awful habbit of cancelling appointments at the last minute and very often when claimants are on their way to the assessment. I'd advice you to ring them BEFORE you leave home to make sure the assessment is still going ahead. Good luck.
  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    PIP assessments can be recorded
    First you have to obtain permission.
    The equipement needed must record two identical copies at the same time. This can be achieved with x2 relitiveley cheap tape recorders, not necessarily one machine that makes two recordings. For a clear recording an external mic is often necessary.
    With regard to questions, the assessor will use a mix of open, closed and leading questions
    Think before answering any question, don't be rushed to answer

    Be especially aware of closed questions, ones that normally only require yes/no answers
    EG. "Can you cook a simple meal"
    We are pre programmed to answer in the positive.
    ie."Yes, but I can only do so with help "
    The assessor has stopped listening at "Yes"

    Practice answering in the negative
    ie "No, but I can do so if I have help "
    The assessor is far more likely to listen

    Try to be aware of this and start practising this response any time you can, it does not come naturally to most people.


    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • bob852
    bob852 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    After asking permission, I recorded my wife's PIP assessment By buying online two portable tape recorders with two Microphones  and set both up and started them simultaneously. I was allowed to do this in Birmingham. but it is notoriously difficult as you have to be able to record two identical tapes one of which they will keep. To buy such equipment would cost several hundred pounds and they know this. Some centres will have recording equipment for which you can ask to have your assessment recorded but expect them to put obstacles in your way. They will not except recording by phone, laptop, or mp3 recorders, however a duplicate recording can be gained from an mp3 recorder by copying and downloading the file onto a hard drive this they could do easily but wont  because it would open a bag of worms for some assessor's.  Hope this helps.

  • Nystagmite
    Nystagmite Member Posts: 603 Pioneering
    They lie and contradict themselves a lot. Even if your evidence contradicts their lies.
  • bob852
    bob852 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I have now attended three of these assessments, two with my wife and one with my sister- in -law. On one occasion I recorded the assessment please read the previous post, one was with an Atos assessor and the other two were with Capita. My advice to anyone who is having to attend a face to face assessment is not to be afraid of them, and remember that the assessor is most probably a nurse, physiotherapist, or paramedic. This doesn’t mean that they understand all of your problems so make them clear.

    If you can before you send your application, photocopy it and take it with you on the day so you can refer to what you have written. Also have someone with you who can help you explain things if you get stuck , do not go alone, if you do it will be your word against theirs, if you need to appeal it, whereas if you have someone with you who can take note’s of the assessment and help you explain things it makes the assessor more aware that someone else is listening and paying attention. They might try to put you off taking notes by saying you can apply for a copy of their report later, tell them politely that you are aware of that, but still wish to take notes.

    The Assessment itself is mainly a computerised assessment, which is the LIMA system, ( logic integrated medical assessments) were the assessor will ask questions about how you cope on a day to day basis. Always make the point when describing your particular problems that you tell them about your worst possible days.  The assessment itself can last up to two hours long, and can sometimes be fast and furious if the assessor is not giving you time to answer them fully, tell them they are going too quickly. They sometimes will appear to be your best friend, don’t be fooled they are there for a reason.

    When it comes to the physical part of the assessment, the assessor is not allowed to ask you to do something that will cause pain or discomfort. They should inform you of this, so don’t be brave, if it's going to hurt or cause you discomfort tell them and make sure they hear you. If they insist, which I don’t think they will refer them to the assessor's guide, of which I will attach a link at the end of this blog so you can read them. 

    Make sure you tell them of any appliances you have at home that aid you ie:  adaptable eating cutlery, handles, walking frame, etc etc.  anything that makes life easier. 

    When it comes to whether you can walk distances, for example, can you walk between 1mtre but no further than 20 metre’s  it means can you do this distance safely, repeatedly, and in a timely manner, ie; DOES IT TAKE YOU TWICE AS LONG AS AN ABLED BODIED PERSON. They won't tell you this, so tell them.

    All three assessment I have attended have been successful, however, I did have to intervene in the assessment’s when I felt things weren’t going right on behalf of my wife. Don’t let the assessor put you off, even if they as they did with me, show a little annoyance at my intervention. You only have one chance at this so tell them everything that you suffer from and make sure they hear you. Be polite and firm  at all times, this applies to anyone whom may accompany you  

    Hope this helps good luck.

  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    I don't think I can add anything to the excellent advice you've had here. As people have explained, you can record but it's difficult to do:

    Another option is to take notes, or take someone with you who can take notes. I recommend this because it is sadly often the case that what is said in the assessor's report doesn't tally with what you remember. Having someone else there helps to be more certain about what happened and what was said, especially if they are able to take notes for you.

    Watch out for 'trick' questions (pets, television, use of mobiles etc) and assume that they do observe you, even if it isn't obvious. Unfortunately even assessments where the health professionals are nice and professional don't always end up giving you the result you want, so everyone on here is right to be wary.

    I strongly recommend having a go on the PIP self-test before you go, so you know what points you think you should get. For example, if you're not expecting to get any points for moving around or following a journey, it doesn't matter so much if you walk a dog (though other aspects of looking after a dog might be used against you in other ways)...On the other hand, f you do have problems moving around outside your home, then you should be much more careful about any suggestions that you walk a dog by yourself (though if it's only occasional, be clear about that - what matters is whether you have problems more than 50% of the time). 

    Having said that, the assessment itself isn't always logical - a lot of conclusions are made based on very crude tests and observations. What matters, as everyone has mentioned above, is whether you can do things safely, repeatedly, within a reasonable time and to a reasonable standard. So if you can't (for example, if you're worried about any risks or dangers when you do things), say so.

    And good luck!

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland


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