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Have you found benefit assessment centres inaccessible?

Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
edited April 2018 in News and opportunities
A journalist has been in touch looking to write an article about inaccessible benefits assessment centres or other health centres not being accessible.

They have  spoken to a woman struggling with accessing her centre in a wheelchair who was then found fit for work ‘in absence’ after she couldn’t physically get in the building for the assessment.

Have you ever found you have attended an appointment and found it not fit for purpose?  

Would you like to share your experience of this? Let us know in the comments and get in touch with Dr Frances Ryan at [email protected] 
Senior online community officer


  • Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 128 Pioneering
    The first assessment centre I was offered was not accessible this was the journey to the second one which was accessible:- 

    It took 2 hours to get there using the following route:- Bus from Manor Park to Statford, Jubilee Line to London Bridge,  Northern Line to Elephant and Castle Bus to the assessment centre in Balham this took 2.5 hours to complete.

    To get home we had to get a bus from the centre to Elephant and Castle, then a bus from Elephant
    and Castle to Oxford Circus and then a from Oxford
    Circus to Manor Park this journey took 3 hours.

    I also needed to take 2 shots of morphine (on top of my normal fentynal transdermal patch) to cope with the length of time I had to sit upright for to travel as my sitting tolerance is only around 4 hours.

    I made a complaint about this through my MP (Stephen Timms) and the response was well she could have asked for a taxi or home visit - my issue with this is if I had they would have refused me as I managed the journey to test the route so obviously can do it and even if you ask for a taxi or home visit they can refuse and as we have seen in the media recently you can be sanctioned if the assessor is late or does not arrive at your home so going to the assessment centre is the safest way to ensure you do not get sanctioned for none attendance

  • CarolecatwomanCarolecatwoman Member Posts: 8 Connected
    My first assessment was over an hours drive away from home. The appointment was 08.00 hrs. Due to my physical issues it takes me at least 1.5 hrs to get washed and dressed with assistance. I also have mental health problems which are made worse by stress and anxiety.
    I would have needed to be woken up at 05.00hrs to stand any chance of getting to the appointment.
  • exdvrexdvr Member Posts: 314 Pioneering

    Hi @SamScope,

    I have only had the one assessment when moving from DLA to PIP and was concerned about the distance from the car park to the [locked] door of the assessment centre.  Once inside it was quite a distance along a corridor to the actual interview room.  I was "fortunate" in the fact that I was using my mobility scooter because if I was able to walk that distance I'm sure that I would have been failed.  Although I was successful I was left wondering if it had been set up that way as a trap to catch people out.   What say others?

    Best wishes.


  • CarolecatwomanCarolecatwoman Member Posts: 8 Connected
    I think it's definitely trying to catch people out. Plus the buildings are so inconspicuous even the local taxi drivers can't find them!

  • WandlewatcherWandlewatcher Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi - just to say that I often see people wandering around - some clearly disabled others looking dazed and frightened trying to find the PIP centre. It’s mad the office is embedded in a high rise development of concierge serviced flats - how humiliating for people. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,970

    Scope community team

    Hello @Wandlewatcher and welcome to the community. 
    Thank you for sharing this with us. It does seem many assessment centres are impracticable and inaccessible. 
    Senior Community Partner
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community @Wandlewatcher. :)

  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Hello @Wandlewatcher

    I’ve never been to a benefits assessment centre. And I’m glad about that! I imagine it is like a job centre- useless and not fit for purpose. 
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