Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Coronavirus phone assessments - opinions and results so far

Hi

i haven’t seen a dedicated on people’s experiences on the new phone assessments for esa/pip/uc which seems to me is going to be the new norm for a good while yet.

what I’m getting from social media is that it’s mad an already bad process even worse. I think the majority of people who have had dwp assessments have had at least one ridiculous lie/statements on their decision paperwork previously but that may of stepped up with these phone assessments - it sounds like an easier way of the dwp to fail more of us

i haven’t had one yet - in theory I have my next esa reassessment in November (although the common sense reaction should of been to extend all the disabled/medical condition awards by a year) - considering the massive increase of uc applicants and the lack of jobs in general - it was next to impossible to get even unpaid work experience before Coronavirus if you were disabled - there’s next to no point trying with a few million new million fully abled uc claimants to compete with. My instincts are personally telling me to sit tight for the next 2-3 years and if mental health allows to learn a new skill - I doubt the dwp would be on the same page though.

I digress- though who have had a phone assessments what are your experiences and award results? Has anyone had an successful award renewal?

i read that the assessors won’t let you add a second phone line for a family/friend support. Can you use the speaker phone function? (I use that all the time as I don’t like the feel of the phone near my ear - gives me ear/head pain)

can you refuse a phone assessment in general and request a face-to-face? - I think I speak for many with autism when I say using the phone and?or speaking to a stranger is very exhausting and distressing

Lastly I know that phone recording is prohibited but from recent experiences of bring recording equipment to face to face assessments is even though the lies on the results paperwork remain (and get more ridiculous every time) the dwp seem to find I much harder to dock the same points they would of before. Recording a phone assessment in secret seems to be a common sense move esp when tribunal seems much more likely under phone assessments compared to face to face.

over the years disabled claimants have shared the tips and tricks of getting through a face to face assessment stacked against the claimant. We need to do the same now


thoughts and experiences below

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    My thoughts are "it's that social media thing again" yes, you only ever read the bed stories. Naturally, if someone's had the decision they're happy with then they have no questions to ask, so we don't hear their stories. I've read stories where people have been awarded through a phone assessment and been refused too.

    There's no face to face assessments at the moment and i have no idea how long they will continue to be suspended. If you refuse the phone assessment then your benefits are likely to be refused. Yes, you can put the phone on "speaker" during the assessment.

    I totally understand what you mean about the Autism and phones though. My daughter has ASD and she's never spoken to anyone but myself and her sister on the phone. If she had to do a phone assessment then it simply wouldn't happen. She does claim PIP (student) thankfully, i'm her appointee so if a phone assessment did happen then i would speak on her behalf.

    Just my thoughts, others may add theirs too.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,934

    Scope community team

    Interesting discussion @apple85. From the stories I've read here I would have said that assessments, tribunals and decisions are mostly working in the claimant's favour at the moment. We usually hear a lot negative stories but anecdotally success rates seem a little higher.

    Understandably there's a lot of worry about telephone assessments but they've also appeared to have helped cut down some of the assumptions being made by someone based upon how they're dressed and apparent demeanour. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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  • niknak7278niknak7278 Member Posts: 25 Connected
    Hello

    My husband had a successful telephone assessment for his ESA award.

    When the DWP phoned to inform him of the appointment she gave him a list of instructions.

    Said the assessment could last upto an hour, and to:

    1. Sit in a comfy seat in a quiet room.

    2. No distractions -pets or kids.

    3. No comfort breaks.

    4.  Take all meds prior.

    5.  You can have someone present during the call.

    Cue husbands anxiety levels and BP shoot through the roof for the next 7 days.

    At the beginning of the call I put the assessor on loudspeaker, she was lovely by the way, I explained that he was wearing a pad incase he needed the toilet, given no breaks were permitted.

    She whizzed through his claim and after 20 mins she said as it was ESA and not PIP she had enough info to compile a report.

    She did warn that if DWP didn’t agree with her recommendations he’d have to wait for face-to-face to start up again.

    Award letter arrived 5 weeks later.
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,764 Disability Gamechanger
    Everything I have read over recent weeks would suggest that phone assessments are generally working in favour of the claimant TBH @apple85 i would take most of what you read on social media with a pinch of salt. People rarely take to their keyboards to report successful outcomes.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • niknak7278niknak7278 Member Posts: 25 Connected
    HI,

    My thoughts are "it's that social media thing again" yes, you only ever read the bed stories. Naturally, if someone's had the decision they're happy with then they have no questions to ask, so we don't hear their stories. I've read stories where people have been awarded through a phone assessment and been refused too.

    There's no face to face assessments at the moment and i have no idea how long they will continue to be suspended. If you refuse the phone assessment then your benefits are likely to be refused. Yes, you can put the phone on "speaker" during the assessment.

    I totally understand what you mean about the Autism and phones though. My daughter has ASD and she's never spoken to anyone but myself and her sister on the phone. If she had to do a phone assessment then it simply wouldn't happen. She does claim PIP (student) thankfully, i'm her appointee so if a phone assessment did happen then i would speak on her behalf.

    Just my thoughts, others may add theirs too.
    My daughter is the same, has ASD and won’t talk on the phone.  I’ve been meaning to deal with the appointee situation but keep putting it off.  I really need to I know.
  • mk2000mk2000 Member Posts: 57 Connected
    I had the worse one Friday lies and he was so rude of my mental health judged me as a mum I was crying he has lied on my report I asked for it back im so shocked they can do this
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