COMMONS

Web forum: PIP and ESA Assessments

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

Get involved

The web forum closed 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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2828 Responses to PIP and ESA Assessments

Gregory says:
November 14, 2017 at 01:57 PM
I Believe the right decision on my PIP Assessment was not reached in it entirety.
There were numerous failings on behalf of both ATOS and DWP mainly at the face to face assessment where some of the information which was crucial was omitted by the Health Care Professional with out going into my Health Issues in detail they did not take into account the serious nature of them and the fact that they are life limiting and severe.I was refused a home visit although i spend a large portion of my life house bound by my illness. my F2F assessment went on for 2 and half hours and was so intense that it brought on 2 bouts of Angina which the Health Care Professional refused to halt the assessment by saying there was not much more to do but that was not true. I ended up in Hospital that day with a serious Heart Event causing lasting damage to my Heart and further Disabling me.
The report down graded my benefits and did not take into account none of the tasks were not observed with the criteria that they were done in a safe and timely manner and that they were repeated.
I went to a Mandatory Reconsideration but the DWP made a instant decision and went with the report from the Health Care Professional, I also got the impression that the person carrying out the Mandatory Reconsideration was not interested in listening to my side of the story and that they were under work load pressure to make a quick decision, i also got the impression that none of my numerous medical documentation obtained from all my Health Care Team were even considered and that they solely made their decision on the Health Care Professional report. I think more time to could be taken by the DWP at mandatory reconsideration using a another Tier of involvement from Doctors who can look more into some of the complex medical conditions presented by those being assessed.
I did not find my assessment Claimant-friendly at all i was not shown any compassion by any of those carrying out my assessment i was made to feel a scrounger i found it very degrading and the fact it made me very ill affecting both my Mental Health and has probably affected my long term Health too.
To improve the whole process i would recommend all those concerned to listen to what is being said about PIP from all the reports that have been handed to The UK Goverment.
I am a Armed Forces Veteran and i was treated badly The Armed Forces Covenant was not applied once to my case so i would like to see our Veterans treated better too.
Elizabeth says:
November 13, 2017 at 12:27 PM
Subject: PIP and ESA Assessment
i have an anxiety problem with going to the PIP and ESA assessment because they have stopped my benefits too many times the questions they asked me i didn't understand and they made me feel judged. i struggle with meeting new people and i get really upset when they asked me to look at them while they talk its horrible how they treat me in the assessment. i feel like im being judged before i even start the assessment.
Tim says:
November 13, 2017 at 11:37 AM
Subject: PIP Assessment
Thanks to my wifes pip assesment on the 22nd March 2017 and seen by an assesor who didnt have a clue about my wifes mental disorder and the fact of her exstream anxiety and giving back to the dwp a pack of lies and faulse information since then my poor wife has had exstream anxiety and depression after loseing her mobilty my wife has been stable for the last eight years and due to this my wife has had another relaps and been sectioned under section 2 of the mental health act (1983)you cant imagine what not only i am going through again but having to see my wife sectioned due to her disgracefull assesment. name and shame assesor canterbury kent atos assesor annie gambula.also would like people to know that all the assesors get a £500 pound bonus for turning people down. what a disgrace and this country and goverment should be ashamed the way it treats its own people with mental disorders and all other illneses and disabilities shame!shame!shame!
Alan McGill says:
November 13, 2017 at 11:25 AM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I suffer from Degenerative Spinal Disc Disease,I suffer chronic pain 24/7 and take 2 different types of morphine one is 30mg 24/7 the other is a top up Oral solution and the maximum Gabapentin 3600mg daily. COPD/Asthma, PTSD from my Army career and Depression. I was advised to apply again for extra assistance for both aspects of PIP as I was initially on the lower rate for both sections until 2018. After the assessment I ended up being worse off and my daily living part stopped completely. The report from DWP is incorrect and the assessor has lied throughout the report and more importantly left out important/vital aspects on my daily living, how can this be? This private company ATOS needs to be brought to account.

I believe the assessment process needs to be changed as it is clear it is not working as well as it needs to and believe it should not be a private company making the assessments it should at least be the NHS as they are the professionals initially diagnosing people with the symptoms/disabilities.
Chris says:
November 13, 2017 at 11:23 AM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I have received my request to attend an assesment. I have to travel 60 miles there and back. I am already finding this process less than satisfactory. Is it the intent of the DWP outsourcing this process, to make it as difficult as possible and thereby put applicants off, to claiming this entitlement.
I am less than confident with the compaany Maximus, when I read that the CEO of this company has a salary of $2.52 million. Profiting at the expense of the ill and disadvantaged seems morally wrong.
Tim Vasey says:
November 12, 2017 at 08:18 PM
Subject: PIP and ESA Assessment
I am Manager of Scarborough Disability Action Group (DAG). The group helps provides help and advice for people in the Scarborough area who are making a claim for ESA and PIP from initial claims to appeals. I would like to make the following comments on behalf of DAG in response to the inquiry on PIP and ESA assessments:

The People who do the Assessments

1. No. Frequent complaints by those assessed are that assessor shows little knowledge of particular health conditions and how they may effect the ability of the individual to address many areas of everyday life. This is especially true of those assessed who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses and those with more complex health issues.

2. No. The general belief among those assessed is that DWP tend to disregard their complaints about their assessment and so draw an inference that there is insufficient compulsion for DWP to carry out adequate checks on the assessors.

3. Yes. A major criticism of the Work Capability Assessment is that it fails to bridge the gap between who are passed fit for work by the assessment and who are seen to be fit for work by many employers. As a result many are being denied ESA but with little hope of gaining realistic employment.

4. Yes. In general there appears to be far more satisfaction with assessments carried out by local authorities for a variety of Community Care Services. These assessments tend to be carried out in the individual’s own home and also tend to encourage the active participation of the individual as a “partner” in their own assessment. In the majority of instances this results in assessments that individuals feel much more accurately reflects their needs.

Appeals

1. Mainly because claimants do not feel that the decisions accurately reflect their needs and abilities, but also because claimants can be confused about the criteria for qualification. This especially true of DLA claimants who have had to apply for PIP.

2. Without professional guidance and representation, many people complain that they find the procedure complicated and confusing. It also demands a level of confidence, articulacy or literacy that may be difficult to attain without support.

3. There seems little difference reported between ESA and PIP assessments in the way each assessment is conducted and the style and manner of the assessor. However, the suggestion has been made that PIP assessments should follow the lead of ESA assessments by ensuring that individuals with diagnosed neurological conditions are assessed by a qualified doctor.

4. The sort of changes that could be made include:

- ensuring that assessors have greater knowledge of a wide variety of health conditions and also how these conditions may impact on the everyday lives of those being assessed

- ensuring that assessors are more frequently and rigorously monitored than it appears is the current case

- ensuring that the assessor gives those supporting the claimant at assessment adequate opportunity to provide information that they feel may be relevant

- giving less weight to the view of the assessor when decisions are made about a claimants’ eligibility for PIP or ESA. Instead giving more weight to information supplied by a claimants’ medical and/or professional support workers

How was it for you?

1. Most claimants appear to understand what an assessment is for though some do not realise they are entitled to be accompanied in the assessment by another person nor that providing the assessor with further written supportive information from their medical and/or professional support workers may be beneficial to the assessment.

2. Encouraging claimants to seek professional guidance prior to their assessment as well as providing a helpline and/or guidelines in a variety of different formats informing people about what to expect at the assessment.

3. People who are less able to communicate easily such as those with sensory or cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and those with anxiety related illnesses.


Sharon says:
November 12, 2017 at 06:20 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I had a pip assessment with my son. I am his acting adult and carer. The asser spoke to me. when I saw the reports, I was speechless. He lied through out. Only thing he got right was my sons name. I would not give him pip reading his reports. How dare him lie now my son has lost his pip and I cannot be his carer. My son has been on dissability for 10 years , he has ADHD , Tourette's and the last few years mental health problems and won't go out on his own. This is why I am now his carer I do everything for him. We are now in a right state waiting for appeal. No money and my son is so stressed as cannot cope in his own. He is on esa where he does not need to get certificate. Just wish someone could help
Us, if my son does not take medication which I give him he has voices in his head and suisidle thoughts. I really think they should tape interview . This asseser has turned our life upside down. I worry for my sons safety.
Sharon says:
November 12, 2017 at 06:19 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I had a pip assessment with my son. I am his acting adult and carer. The asser spoke to me.when Isaw the reports, I was speechless. He lied through out. Only thing he got right was my sons name. I would not give him pip reading his reports. How dare him lie now my son has lost his pip and I cannot be his carer. My son has been on dissability for 10 years , he has ADHD , Tourette's and the last few years mental health problems and won't go out on his own. This is why I am now his carer I do everything for him. We are now in a right state waiting for appeal. No money and my son is so stressed as cannot cope in his own. He is on esa where he does not need to get certificate. Just wish someone could help
Us, if my son does not take medication which I give him he has voices in his head and suisidle thoughts. I really think they should tape interview . This asseser has turned our life upside down. I worry for my sons safety.
Neil says:
November 12, 2017 at 05:10 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I have just had another PIP assessment as I informed the DWP that my condition is getting worse.
I recieve enhanced rate for daily living and standard rate for mobility.
My award was reduced as the DWP thought the standard rate for mobility was to high.
I asked for a reconsideration on my mobility and the DWP thought the now reduced amount was still to high so they reduced it further.
I have now got to ask my care coordinator to help me with my appeal as £88 per month is alot to be taken off my award for PIP....
Shame on You DWP
Neil says:
November 12, 2017 at 05:09 PM
Subject: PIP Assessment
I have just had another PIP assessment as I informed the DWP that my condition is getting worse.
I recieve enhanced rate for daily living and standard rate for mobility.
My award was reduced as the DWP thought the standard rate for mobility was to high.
I asked for a reconsideration on my mobility and the DWP thought the now reduced amount was still to high so they reduced it further.
I have now got to ask my care coordinator to help me with my appeal as £88 per month is alot to be taken off my award for PIP....
Shame on You DWP