PIP assessment next week, any advice — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

PIP assessment next week, any advice

brighid
brighid Member Posts: 23 Connected
Hi guys, I’ve applied for PIP and have assessment next week. Anyone got any advice on what to expect or how best to prepare. 
Had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and depression last year and have now lost my job as too ill to work now.
I don’t have much evidence apart from copy of my notes which are not very informative, just confirming diagnosis really. And an occupational therapy report for work, the assessment was just over the phone. I haven’t sent these in can I take them to the assessment? And how helpful are they likely to be.
as my symptoms have only recently become severe enough to become unmanageable I don’t have much medical history. It is so bad I thought it was some neurological condition like MS, so insisted on referral to neurologist, appointment was last week and neurologist said it’s not neurological, but has sent me for mri just to be sure. 
Im a bit of mess tbh, my partner has to care for me and I can barely walk.
any advice welcome

«1

Comments

  • curiousmom1996
    curiousmom1996 Posts: 35 Connected
    Here are some of my tips:

    Ask for support prior to the assessment. This can be a good friend or family member too. They can sit there and take notes. 

    Read the guidance provided by the assessor. Be sure you understand everything. Ask questions if you don’t. 

    Take a copy of the application form and any supporting evidence too. This includes letters etc. 

    Tell them ever they need to know. Don’t naively assume that they have read your notes. Include all the facts.

    Make sure that you arrive safely and on time. 

  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger
    In the 'Search' box type in 'PIP assessments' and a list of advice articles will appear.

    I suggest you don't dress up - people are very influenced by what they see.  Minimal make up and jewellery.

    The assessor will watch your every move from when they collect you from the waiting area.  They know how many meters it is from waiting area to assessment room.  They'll watch how you walk.

    You might be asked how you travelled to the assessment.  Travel by public transport could suggest a low level of disability.

    In the assessment room, they'll note if you put a bag down on the floor and pick it up again later.  

    They might ask trick questions such as about pets and hobbies.  Looking after pets could suggest a high level of energy and organisation.  Certain hobbies, such as crafts, could suggest considerable manual dexterity.

    They might ask for how long can you walk rather than how far.  Just giving a time might make them think you can walk farther than you can.  Say that it takes you X seconds or minutes to walk Y meters.  DWP think that 45 seconds to walk 20m is very slow walking.

    You might be asked about how much you drive.  Driving a lot could suggest a low level of daily living needs - as driving requires concentration, energy, strength, co-ordination, manual dexterity.

    Good luck next week :).
  • brighid
    brighid Member Posts: 23 Connected
    Thanks, my partner is going with me. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,180 Disability Gamechanger
    When you're given advice "not to dress up" take that advice with a pinch of salt. My advice, be the person you always are and not someone you're not. Good luck.
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger
    I wouldn't take the advice 'not to dress up' with a pinch of salt.  Disability Rights UK advise people not to dress up when attending PIP appeal hearings.  I suggest the same advice holds good for assessments.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,180 Disability Gamechanger
    Advising people to dress differently to how they always dress, whether it's an assessment or a Tribunal is the worst advice i've heard, whether it came disability rights or not.
  • susan48
    susan48 Member Posts: 2,221 Disability Gamechanger
    Dress and look as you normally do, be comfortable in what you wear. It’s stressful enough without giving yourself more things to be anxious about.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,180 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq oh dear!  Can i change my comment to... advising people to dress differently to how they always dress, is ONE of the worst bits of advice i've heard.
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Disability rights advising people not to dress up is not advising them to dress differently to the way they usually do (unless they habitually dress up, of course, and not many disabled people do).  Rather the opposite - it's telling people not to make any special effort with their appearance for hearings and assessments.

    This is a bit subtle, of course, but I think the reasoning behind Disability Rights' advice (which poppy thinks is one of the worst bits of advice she's heard - from Disability Rights) is that people have a tendency to dress more smartly than usual for important meetings.  However, DR say they should not do this for appeal hearings and, by implication, assessments.

    I have confidence in Disability Rights even if poppy doesn't.

    People reading posts can make up their own minds about them - posts tend to speak for themselves.
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    All I can say on this subject is that I dress differently every day all depending on what I am doing and who I am seeing.

    Some days I'm in my PJ's until mid afternoon, some days in my work suit, other days looking something akin to Michael Portillo. Some days I may change two/three times especially when I have different meetings.

    Ideally I would want to wear BDU's as I do at weekends when I go out shooting.

    Given that lot what should I have worn for my face to face assessments?
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    edited August 2018
    I think we’ve established people will make up their own minds. 

    The DRUK advice is poor as, contrary to your unevidenced assertion that most disabled people don’t habitually dress up, the opposite is true. It’s based on an assumption that disability is visible disability or physical disability. Most disability is invisible. The issue, as @poppy123456 and I have already suggested is about ensuring people are comfortable enough to be relaxed and be at their best. Telling people that dressing up is a bad idea is dumb no matter who propagates the idea. There is simply no one size fits all. 
    I agree. Dress in anyway that will make you feel comfortable and calm. In my case the assessors that I had looked like they had just rolled out of bed (all three were pre 10am) whilst I turned up in various guises as though it was to be a professional/civic meeting 
    It didn't do me any good though - all three reported that I had no disabilities and deserved no points.
  • brighid
    brighid Member Posts: 23 Connected
    Thanks for for the advice. I will dress how I usually dress, which is pretty basic to be fair. I struggle with buttons zips etc so it pretty much restricts me to leggings and and pull on top or dress, which is what I will wear. I do not wear makeup and jewellery anyway... thanks for advice about pets, hobbies, etc though I’ve pretty much been forced to stop just about everything I used to enjoy, I do sometimes get frustrated and try to do things but it definitely comes with payback in terms of pain and recovery time, so I’ll say that.... 
  • brighid
    brighid Member Posts: 23 Connected
    Will also remember to ask what they’ve written :-)
  • AnnieJB
    AnnieJB Member Posts: 3 Listener
    All you can do is tell the truth and if lies are told by them then you can deal with them afterwards - if you tell the truth they can’t catch you out. They’ll try and they’ll lie in your report (sad but true because for everyone refused PIP the assessor gets £300!!) My deformed foot isn’t deformed, I don’t have depression, my spine is straight, etc etc etc. But - you can deal with that at Mandatory Reconsideration/Tribunal if necessary. Don’t smile or look the assessor in the eye. It means you “aren’t depressed, anxious or in pain”. Don’t be friendly or nice  (but obviously don’t be rude). Ditto above. All the above was written in my report along with a dozen or so other lies. The DWP, to their credit, has rejected the assessment I had at an assessment centre 20 miles away due to ‘inconsistencies’ and I now have another one in a couple of weeks at home. I made a complaint to Atos about the disgusting assessor and I’m waiting for their response. This is important:-  if you can do something but you can't do it more than 50% of the time or can't do it reliably, repeatedly, safely or in a reasonable time then you can’t do it. This is in the PIP Regulations.  So make sure you make this quite clear to the assessor when giving your answers and make them aware that you know about these regulations.  Finally, don’t be afraid to complain if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly or disrespectfully. They have 20 working days to respond. I dictated mine by phone - read back to me - but you can also write. Let DWP know you are complaining to Atos/Capita and they will make a note on your records. You can ask for a copy of the report too - call DWP and they’ll send it. Hope this helps and good luck.
  • sam12
    sam12 Posts: 1,338 Connected
    There lairs to and hsrsh I was cryin nasty wat they said to me
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    brighid said:
    Will also remember to ask what they’ve written :-)
    Don't be too disappointed though when you are told that you can't or that they promise to do so at the end and still don't.

    I've come to the conclusion that the assessor would not want to enter into a discussion or argument with the claimant if they disclosed what they had written.
    It might get heated or physical so excuses will be used to protect the assessor from getting involved.
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    AnnieJB said:
    Don’t smile or look the assessor in the eye. It means you “aren’t depressed, anxious or in pain”-  Don’t be friendly or nice  (but obviously don’t be rude). Ditto above. if you can do something but you can't do it more than 50% of the time or can't do it reliably, repeatedly, safely or in a reasonable time then you can’t do it. This is in the PIP Regulations.  So make sure you make this quite clear to the assessor when giving your answers and make them aware that you know about these regulations. 
    I'm sorry but going into an assessment with that attitude is only going to go one way. You will have created an atmosphere of distrust on your part and dislike on the part of the assessor.

    That will really help with the proceedings.
  • AnnieJB
    AnnieJB Member Posts: 3 Listener
    edited August 2018
    I’m sorry but I’ve had an assessment thrown out by DWP who saw through the lies written. Perhaps you could read my reply again and you will understand my reasoning. Being nice, polite and friendly goes against you. An atmosphere of distrust and dislike is irrelevant. They aren’t interested in how nice or polite you are, they are only interested in ensuring that any serious health conditions are denied, downplayed or ignored. I had the comments in “ “ on my post actually written on my report.
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    AnnieJB said:
    Being nice, polite and friendly goes against you...they aren’t interested in how nice or polite you are, 

    they are only interested in ensuring that any serious health conditions are denied, downplayed or ignored.
    Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

    If the assessor is of the opinion that despite what you say or protest about the effects/impact of your conditions then they are quite entitled to voice their opinion through the report. In their opinion your medical evidence may not support the descriptors that you have chosen. Surely you do not expect them to 'rubber stamp' what issues you have and the impact on you by accepting that you are entirely truthful?

    However what they have to do is to justify their opinion and reasoning if they do not agree with what you are claiming to be the case.

  • AnnieJB
    AnnieJB Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Okay, this discussion is closed. How dare you. The assessor lied. 

Brightness

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?


Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.