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How to Prepare for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment

AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
edited May 2017 in PIP, DLA and AA
New video from Scope:



Preparing to attend an assessment can be a difficult time. Lorraine and @nerdwillis talk about their experiences and offer tips to other people who are going through the process.

Let us know what you think, and what your own tips would be for people going through the process.

Replies

  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited August 2017
    Scope This video is only an idealistic view of the assessment process. How it's supposed to work. Therefore only helpful to a point in how to prepare your documentation with a few tips but not enough about how to get there and how to walk into the assessment. I.e. with help. These two claimants must have been lucky in having genuine, honest assessors who wrote the true facts as they were told to them. How many assessor's do that? How about a video about how to avoid being caught out from leaving home to getting back home. Some examples as follows:
    Study the PIP points that apply to you and prepare what you need to say.
    This should match what's on your claim form.
    Evidence should be sent to DWP before your assessment and you need to ring to make sure the assessor has access to it. Therefore if you take copies they're only for your ref. some assessor's refuse to accept it or take it and ignore it like mine did.
    Don't drive yourself to the assessment.
    Be aware you are being watched from the minute you arrive.
    Don't carry anything yourself.
    Walk as you would on your worst days.
    Don't get dressed up.
    Ask for assessor's name and qualifications. 
    Ask to sit so that you can see the screen.
    Correct any false statements written by the assessor.
    Look out for questions out of context (designed to get info. out of you).
    Check results of MSE are recorded correctly. (Not easy but trying and mentioning it should make assessor do them correctly.)
    Do not pick anything up off the floor or open a drink.

    I'm sure other's will have some more ideas to add to this list.......
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
    Thanks @wildlife, some great suggestions.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    If you use a walking aid on wheels (walker, shopping trolley) don't say so on your PIP claim form and don't take one to the assessment.  Claimants have said that they have been refused mobility PIP because they use a walker or a shopping trolley (presumably assessors/DWP think these turn disabled people into marathon runners!).

    Be prepared for informal assessment questions, e.g. about hobbies (doing jigsaws, knitting, craftwork could indicate a high level of manual dexterity!)

    I was asked for how long (not how far) I can walk before I need to stop and rest.  The answer is designed to get you to indicate an ability to walk far based on how long you can walk for.  However, it could take someone 3 or 4 minutes to cover 20 metres.  So this is a meaningless question, like asking how long is a piece of string.  Nevertheless, the assessor will put it in their report and the DWP will seize on it - they will take it that length of time equals length of distance. Be careful.

    Remember, that assessors (and, I understand, tribunal panels) go very much by what they see on the day, even if the claimant has a known fluctuating condition).

    Don't wear any jewellery except for a watch and a wedding ring.  Ear-rings could indicate manual dexterity, likewise necklaces and bracelets with a clasp.  Also good jewellery might cause the assessor to think you don't need benefit if you can afford jewellery, even though the jewellery might have been gifts or purchased before you became disabled.  They'll put in their report that you were wearing good jewellery and DWP will take this to mean that you spend your benefit on luxuries.

    If you are female, best to wear minimal make-up, if any - no lipstick or nail polish.  Assessors think that well-groomed claimants can't be disabled.  

    Don't have your hair cut or coloured very soon before the assessment.

    Wear loose-fitting clothes that would be easy to put on/pull off.  Try to avoid anything with buttons, clasps, zips - again, these indicate manual dexterity, even if it would take you a long time to deal with them.

    My assessor put in her report that I looked 'hydrated', evidently an indication that I couldn't be too disabled.  Maybe better, if you can, not to drink anything for a few hours beforehand so that your mouth is a bit dry.  And don't apply moisturiser, so that your skin looks dry, too.

    I was asked if ever I don't even bother to try to cook a simple meal from scratch. i said, no, I always persevere with peeling and chopping veg until forced to give up.

    I was asked how far from my street door was my car parked.  I said a few yards, which is true.  If your car is parked some distance away from your street door, be careful how you reply if asked this question.

    I was asked who I phone on my mobile (I replied: friends, family, taxi companies).  Don't say you phone the gym!  I don't use a gym anyway but there's no reason why disabled people shouldn't - but best not to say so if you do or assessors/DWP will decide you're a prize-winning athlete!

    Even if you don't put anything down on the floor, the assessor might say you did anyway.  Mine did.


  • jeana1jeana1 Member Posts: 38 Connected
    Thanks for this info! Iv got my assessment in 2weeks time...at home...Cheers 
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited August 2017
    @jeana1 OK there are some differences. Watch how you walk from one room to another or try to avoid this unless you're showing the assessor something maybe in the bathroom. Some assessors watch this and say you don't need mobility points because you had no trouble doing this. Try and have 2 other people with you if possible or 1 at least and get them to answer the door. This is also useful for witnesses and to watch what is written about you. If you've got a memory problem let them prompt you all the way through if you can. Mind you my Hubby did this and my assessor still said I didn't need prompting. Ask whoever is with you to pick anything up. Assessor's sometimes drop things on purpose to see if you pick it up and how. Get someone to take notes particularly for the physical exam. of what you are asked to do as other things are added on that you haven't done or results are recorded wrongly. They are given in degrees of movement but if you only bend to touch the top of your thighs or raise your arm to waist height they can make a note of this. I didn't have a home assessment so others may be able to help more. Good Luck..  
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    I made the mistake of mentioning I visit my parents. (it's the only way I get a meal that isn't a ready meal - I go there for other things, honest!) This apparently meant I had no problems visiting unfamiliar places. I was not asked where my parents lived. Oh, and I used to lived there. I wasn't even asked how I'd get there. Or are those of us with mobility difficulties not allowed to go out, ever? I mentioned I use a mobility cane, which should get me 10 points. But I scored 0.

    I wasn't asked about cooking a meal. I was asked what I lived on. Somehow, putting a pizza in an oven means I can cook a meal for one. We'll just ignore last night's disaster where I almost ate raw meat. (I can't tell the difference between white and pale pink or brown and dark pink) That is becoming more and more common for me. But no, my lack of vision does not prevent me from cooking a meal, apparently. There are supposedly aids for this. But what aids?

    The questions were asked in such a way that as someone with issues understanding complex language (I take things literally and you have to spell things out to me) I could understand them. This meant they scored me 0 on understanding language. This is despite me saying I mishear words and sounds a lot.

    if you use Facebook, then apparently, you have no difficulties in mixing with people. I have hearing problems which makes mixing with people difficult. Facebook is completely different to mixing with people in real life.

    I was asked about medication. Most of which was ignored. She wrote that I use a dosette box and an alarm to remind me to take it. But still scored me 0 for that.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @jeana1

    Good luck with the assessment.
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering

    Matilda said:

    @Nystagmite

    Did you appeal?



    I did a mandatory reconsideration. I went from 4 points on care to 11 and 0 on mobility to 12.

    I now find myself in the rubbish situation of my care needs getting worse. But given how inconsistent they are, can't decide whether to say something.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    It can be a risk to report a change of circumstances.  When is your next review due?
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    @Nystagmite, I would think the risk is less if DWP made the decision that increased your points and not a Tribunal. They would be changing their own decision. As long as you have strong evidence for what you've already got and more strong evidence your needs are greater you should be OK. But that's only my opinion. It's up to you what you do. I've got more appointments and tests coming up and am waiting for an OT to do a home assessment for showering which may change my DL needs that I already have but that aren't being accepted by DWP. So if I have strong evidence I will tell DWP. You could always ask for a call back from a Decision Maker and discuss it with them and make a Decision as to what to do. They've already told me they'll look at my DL again if the OT report says I need help to shower. Hope that helps...
  • basiclee08basiclee08 Member Posts: 71 Courageous
    Just got my Renewal form come through for PiP Going to get advice and Help Filling in. Have noticed short period of time given to get it back to them?. I did one of those online pre assessment tests and says should be on both Enhanced but for past few years been on standard. as last assessment was my first and any dealings since my accident I Accepted Decision as I trusted government body to be honest and thought that was all was allowed  Yes Naive Very. This Time I Am more Aware and Won't settle for less than Enhanced this time and Definitely will go all way to court if I have too. I Have to say this Forum and Community Has taught me Good  
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited May 2017
    @basiclee08 Good Luck with your renewal. I admire your attitude. I've been determined like you from the start and  have not had to go to court. Apologies to anyone who thinks I'm saying that for personal gratification. I'm not. I just want to help other people and save them the stress of waiting for months for Appeal if they can avoid it. Play the system cause that's what you have to do. Yes, I've complained but done properly at the right time it helps a lot to get what you're entitled to. I've only done that to ATOS not the DWP. I've used DWP ways of contact at each stage to get the evidence across and to argue my case by speaking to them when needed. I've worked with them politely but firmly not fought against them. They have a job to do and at the moment I believe they know the assessor's are corrupt but they have to accept their word on all matters medical because DWP have no "health professionals." So there's no point in arguing with them about your disability. You need to target ATOS/CAPITA if things go wrong and tell DWP you've done it. That will help to keep your claim being reviewed right up to Appeal if you have to apply. Say you go to Appeal and win. What happens when your review comes as your's has now. . Do DWP think it's another chance to offer you what you had before from them or reduce your PIP  to nothing, If they agreed with your decision last time they're far more likely to increase it or at worst keep it the same when it's reviewed. Hope that gives you food for thought.. 
  • basiclee08basiclee08 Member Posts: 71 Courageous
    You are Right @wildlife Capita and Atos Employ assessors and pay for reports and Results on lowering  people Claiming. System is Corrupt at its core and is outside the Hands of the DWP. 
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering

    Matilda said:

    It can be a risk to report a change of circumstances.  When is your next review due?


    2026.

    I gave them all the evidence I have. (Autism report and a lot of stuff from Audiology) They ignored everything and just went on the report made by the nurse which was the complete opposite to what Audiology will tell you.

    I also sent into a letter from mum and a friend of mine. Most odd how both said similar things; but have never discussed my disabilities. The complete opposite was written on my report, which was used, instead of stuff that someone who raised me and goes to all my medical appointments and someone who has known me for the last 4 years.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Maybe ask advice in the Ask a benefits advisor category.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    In addition at PIP assessments:

    If assessor asks you about hobbies/interests, don't mention any participation in sports or gym attendance.  Assessor will put it in report and DWP will decide you are not disabled.  I'd be wary even mentioning swimming pool attendance for hydrotherapy purposes.  

    Some claimants have said that they have been refused points for cooking because they can use a microwave!   It's no more difficult to put food in a conventional oven than in a microwave.  But, anyway, don't say you use a microwave.

    The DWP are looking for more and more excuses to refuse points.  They think that 'too many' claimants are qualifying for PIP!





  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    It's why I didn't mention I run - they would have assumed that I could plan and follow a journey. Except, I only run aided.

    I made the mistake of mentioning I have the TV on as background noise. (I have tinnitus and the sound helps) What did she write? Watches TV all day, therefore, has no concentration difficulties. Utter rubbish.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2017
    Assessors/DWP, in general, seem to be more unreasonable with those with mental disabilities than people with only physical - and more unreasonable with those with physical conditions that in theory might improve (if unlikely) than people with recognised long-term degenerative diseases that they've had for a long time.  Though some totally bizarre reports have been made by 'health care professionals' with about as much medical expertise as the average unskilled labourer (but this is insulting to unskilled labourers).
  • basiclee08basiclee08 Member Posts: 71 Courageous
    I am going to get help filling out Assendon form for renewal a couple new things apparently Ii should be on Enhanced rates and second just started working again so am expecting interesting times not only reapplying but asking for enhanced and working
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering

    Matilda said:

    Assessors/DWP, in general, seem to be more unreasonable with those with mental disabilities than people with only physical - and more unreasonable with those with physical conditions that in theory might improve (if unlikely) than people with recognised long-term degenerative diseases that they've had for a long time.  Though some totally bizarre reports have been made by 'health care professionals' with about as much medical expertise as the average unskilled labourer (but this is insulting to unskilled labourers).


    This is nothing new. I wrote something (a relatively common side effect of a condition I have) on my DLA form, GP was contacted and said I was undergoing physio for this issue. DWP "medical services" (who have never met me) decided this couldn't be the case at all. Do they think I attend physio for fun or something?

    The person making the final decision isn't medically trained, which I find most bizarre. With my PIP consideration, I sent in a lot of evidence stating I have xyz causing abc issues. But no, because the assessor says I had no difficulties, I can't possibly have those difficulties. Everyone else who knows me, says the opposite.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    The DWP don't want to admit that either their poorly-trained clerks, or their poorly qualified health care "professionals" (excuse me while I burst out laughing) could possibly have made mistakes, despite evidence to the contrary.

    On another subject, assessors might ask claimants if they do their own housework.  If they say they do, this will be taken as evidence that they are "active" and therefore not disabled.
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