Web forum: PIP and ESA Assessments

As part of our inquiry on PIP and ESA Assessments, the Work and Pensions Committee would like to hear about your experience of claiming PIP or ESA.

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The web forum closes on Friday 10 November 2017.

If you have had an assessment, or are waiting for an assessment, for PIP or ESA, we'd like to hear from you.

You might want to tell us about:

  • Did you feel that the right decision on your entitlement to ESA/PIP was reached as a result of your initial assessment? 
  • If not—what do you feel were the reasons for this?
  • If you have experience of Mandatory Reconsideration, did you find this stage effective and useful? How might it be improved?
  • Overall, how "claimant-friendly" did you find the assessment process?
  • What steps would you recommend taking to improve it?

We have received an overwhelming response on this forum and we are really grateful to all of you who have posted. We moderate this forum so posts that breach discussion rules do not appear: please bear with us while we approve and post the comments you've sent us. Please be assured we are reading them all, and what you have told us will contribute to our inquiry.

Please read the forum terms and conditions and discussion rules before posting your comment.

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PIP and ESA Assessments


Before posting your comment please read the terms and conditions relating to the use of this web forum. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Please contact [email protected] if you experience difficulties using this forum. Please note that your comment will not be treated as formal written evidence to the Committee and will not be protected by Parliamentary Privilege.

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. Your email address, will not be made public, but will be saved alongside your comments and name, on our database for the purpose of contacting you in relation to your comment or the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry on PIP and ESA Assessments. It will be retained until the Committee has published its Report and will then be securely destroyed. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection and use of your information please contact the Work and Pensions Committee at [email protected] or 020 7219 8976.

1138 Responses to PIP and ESA Assessments

Jon says:
October 24, 2017 at 09:42 AM
Subject: ESA Assessment
Found the assessment totally dehumanising and insulting, and to then find I had been awarded 0 points across the board with the advice of if I get a wheelchair I can work. I have worked all my life mainly teaching disadvantaged/disabled members of society only to find that when I myself need help I am made out to be a liar and left with serious financial difficulties with my children being forced to miss meals and tye threat of eviction over our heads. The report was full of lies and omittances and my doctor/physiology and councillors are disgusted by the treatment I've had from dap. I am still awaiting an appeal date 6 months after the process started and am still short of money
Wendy Livingstone says:
October 23, 2017 at 05:16 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
Absolute disaster of system. I’ve just put a complaint into atos regarding the nurse who done my assessment, she used a different name from which she is registered which is not allowed as I have taken this up with the nursing and midwifery council, then she completely lied on my form saying I only eat when my husband tells me and that I supposedly said I take to many tablets I’m worried of overdosing. I’m so angry at the whole thing never been so shocked to sit and read a copy of my report
sandra brown says:
October 23, 2017 at 05:07 PM
Subject: PIP and ESA Assessment
When an assessor comes out make sure they are qualified and the questions they ask off their computer stops giving us the score 0 because they cant find the answer.
Trevor Jones says:
October 23, 2017 at 04:41 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I had an assessment done and Im an amputee and my wife does everything for me. Yet in the report the lady said I can do it all undress dress etc even make my own food.. Why play with our lives , I cant do a lot and get humiliated by ATOS. ESA have taken £110 a month from me , as my wife is my carer and THEY KNEW ABOUT it yet said NO they didn't !!! SO Im down and yet you still want to take more ..WHY. Till someone in power god forbid becomes disabled FOR LIFE it wil always be take from the disabled and give to the rich..
Janice Liddle says:
October 23, 2017 at 03:38 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
It is an absolute disgrace, that its not enough to suffer with a degenerative disease, I may also loose my what was DLA which is what I live on!!, I cannot go out to work because of the good and bad days situation, so what am I supposed to do??
Lesley D says:
October 23, 2017 at 02:58 PM
Subject: PIP and ESA Assessment
I have Multiple Sclerosis and previously had IB and indefinite DLA. I am privately educated, a graduate and spent in excess of 10yrs in the IT industry, before being diagnosed.

I was lucky enough to have to fill out both my ESA & PIP forms concurrently, which easily took up to 50hrs each to complete. Without my husband's help (of him essentially interviewing me and transcribing my answers to a Word document), I would never have had the strength & stamina to complete them. I had to take the maximum dose of neuropathic painkillers and was taking my evening dose in the middle of the afternoon. I was getting migraine after migraine. I, and I mean my body, was stressed out by what I physically and mentally had to endure and it felt similar to having a pseudo relapse with regards to the exhaustion and levels of pain.

I only had an assessment for PIP, which I felt was rushed. The Healthcare Professional admitted that they did not have the time to fully read my notes, which I know is considered grounds for appeal. It appeared to my husband and I that they skimmed most of them and only read the supporting letters that I had submitted from five members of my team, including Consultants and my GP. From the report that we requested, the HCP only took into consideration what I had told them and very little from the typed notes in my application. The HCP also admitted that they knew very little about MS. In addition, I explained that MS is a variable condition and I was told that I would be assessed as I appeared that day (rather than what the law states in regards to PIP). I did, however, find the HCP friendly and it was a relief to be interviewed by a pleasant human being.

The PIP process ran much smoother than the ESA process and I found out the results far quicker. I did lose money with PIP but I just didn't have it in me to go for MR or appeal. With regards to timescales, it took approximately six months from filling out the forms to receiving the outcomes of both awards. Regarding call centres, even if we called at a quieter time of day, it could easily be 45mins in a queue only for a call handler to answer to eg not understand your question/ pretend to flag it to a manager/ escalate it to a DWP employee/ go round in circles with you regarding an answer. We felt at the mercy of whomever took the call and regularly had to call for updates/ answers.

In conclusion, this time with regards to the whole process, the adjective stressful doesn't even cover it, sadly.
Nicola H says:
October 23, 2017 at 02:54 PM
Subject: PIP and ESA Assessment
This is a test comment, as I've tried 3 times to add my experience and my can't find my comment. If this does get through, my experience of the system is that it is criminal. To put this fraud right, go back to funding GPs to assess (they're the only ones that know what they're talking about, anyway). Record all assessments. Have the assessor sign off on the paperwork to show they've at least looked at it.
Allan says:
October 23, 2017 at 02:10 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
My experience of PIP was that I requested a home visit as I suffer from Emphysema as well as severe mental health issues and am a virtual recluse because of it. It was all arranged and the day before I had received both a letter to be at home and a text to say they would be coming, then late afternoon, they rang to say they could not come as they had no people available to interview me, and did not have one for the "foreseeable" future? I then received a call from my Mental Health Therapist saying was he able to speak to them as they had phoned him, I gave permission, then was told by PIP I would have to attend at Stoke (25 miles away) if I wanted my PIP claim to be done. When I next saw my Mental Health therapist he said they had asked him If I was "Safe" for them to make a home visit, which he replied of course, but as he said it was obvious they were checking if my mental health was a danger to them!

Then the appointment came through a few weeks later to attend Stoke PIP assessment, my Wife took me by car to the interview, there was no wheelchairs available and a very long corridor to walk down which caused me huge pain and discomfort with my breathing issues (recently it was discovered that I have terminal lung cancer and have 6 months to live)(which we were unaware of at the interview) the assessment went ahead and I was asked "which one of your conditions do you think is worse?" I had to make a choice for the assessor to base their findings on? I have suffered mental health issues for 33 years at time of interview and Emphysema for 6 years at time of interview, so to try to decide which to "choose" was a shock, but I said I can live with mental health problems, but I cannot live without breathing, so the PIP was based on that.

When I received the determination, both my Wife and I thought they had sent it to the wrong person as it did not really reflect the real situation, and they said as I got there I was okay? I was too tired an unwell to challenge the decision but all the health professionals I see and other professional people could not believe I was refused PIP.

The fact one is seen for 45/50 minutes as a snapshot of a long-term health condition with little or no regard to the people who deal with it on a long-term basis is taken into account, feels like there is no real concern for the claimants condition, more like a process to dismiss any claims, the feeling of having to "Prove" one is seriously ill was constant, as if one was on trial.

Add to that I have been seen by several ATOS health professionals over the years all who have accepted my health condition was serious and stated I should not have to be seen again.

Only in the last few weeks, even though a DS1500 certificate was issued by my cancer specialist to DWP, I was yet again called to Stoke for an assessment, I had to wait in a wheelchair for more than an hour longer than my appointment to see the assessor, who only had part of my medical history, when told about the DS1500 she made a phone call and returned embarrasses and apologetic, saying I should not have been called in.

The whole system is flawed, it causes immense distress mentally, physically and emotionally and has no "CARE" within it.

Thank You for hearing my experience, which is not unique, I have many friends and people tell me that this is "NORMAL"
Geoffrey Hutt says:
October 23, 2017 at 02:01 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I am 69 and suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. I was receiving Disability Living Allowance, at a sufficient level to obtain a motability car. I was told I had to apply for a PIP, did so, and was indeed awarded a PIP at a sufficient level to retain my car. However, this was a close-run thing, as I found out from my MS Nurse, who was consulted about my application. The problem lay in my admission that I could walk 20 metres. There is nowhere on the application form, however, to indicate that it would take my about 5 minutes to so; I walk very slowly and effortfuly with a frame. Fortunately my MS Nurse made this point forcefully when consulted by phone about my application. So the right result was achieved - just about. Obviously filling in the lengthy application form and waiting for the result was stressful. However, the most unsatisfactory aspect of the award was that it was for less than three years, so that I will have to go through the whole process again in the not too distant future. This despite the fact that my disease is progressive (primary PROGRESSIVE multiple sclerosis), so that there is no way my condition will have improved, and will almost certainly have worsened. This not only puts me through the unnecessary stress of a pointless re-assessment, but is also a complete waste of public money. So my recommendations for improving the process would be:
(a) The ability to walk 20 metres is set far too low to provide an accurate picture of whether one has severe mobility problems. The cut-off point should be returned to 50 metres, as it was in the DLA. The form should also ask how long it would take you to walk this distance.
(b) Applicants with a clearly progressive disease should not be subjected to a second assessment when there is clearly no chance of an improvement in their condition. (It may, after all, be that I would be subjected to yet further reassessments every few years).
Andrew says:
October 23, 2017 at 01:55 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
The assessment is not designed for people with mental illness, I found the assessment added to my stress and mental issues. The appeal process and its delays caused further stress causing me to lose over 4.5 stone in weight. The assessment which was held in a court created further health issues.