Skip to main content

Web forum archive

PIP and ESA assessments web forum

Work and Pensions Committee

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.

Return to the PIP and ESA assessments inquiry

2826 Contributions (since 28 September 2017)
Closed for contributions

This web forum is displayed for archive purposes and is no longer accepting public contributions. For queries relating to the content of this web forum, please contact the Work and Pensions Committee.

Total results 2826 (page 11 of 283)


10 November 2017 at 12:55

I was invited to apply for PIP in 2016 after being on DLA (lowest rate care, high rate mobility) for approx 19 years. My DLA award was later made an indefinite award, at which point I started using Motability cars, which I did for 11 years. I was assessed by ATOS in August 2016, and was awarded low rate of PIP for both Activities of Daily Living and Moving Around. My Motability car went back on 1st November 2016. At the time of my DLA to PIP claim I was age 67. I do not feel the right decision was made on my entitlement to PIP. As soon as I had the assessment I requested the Assessor's report. This was so full of errors and omissions that I immediately made a complaint to ATOS. Since then I have been to Tribunal, accompanied by an Advocate from a non profit organisation, where I was awarded enhanced awards for both Activities of Daily Living and Moving Around, for an Ongoing length of time. My Assessor was an Occupational Therapist, and I do not think she had sufficient knowledge about my various conditions. The primary medical condition I suffer from is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). I also have other conditions. I copy beneath one of the complaints I made to ATOS and response. Me: I attended the assessment in a wheelchair, I did not stand or walk during the assessment. Under 12. Moving around. the assessor has ticked the box d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres.I do not understand how after the assessor did not see me stand or walk, and I attended in a wheelchair, the assessor can then state that I can walk between 20 and 50 metres. Also I did tell the assessor that I could just about walk the 5 metres to the end of my front garden and back (so 10 metres in all) and then had to rest in chair in porch. ATOS: 20 - 50 metre descriptor chosen - HP acknowledges that although the claimant attended in a wheelchair this is not prescribed to her by a Health Professional as stated in observations. Claimant reported ability in the PA4 to be able to stand and walk despite attending assessment in a wheelchair. Claimant advised she was able to walk from her home to the end of her garden path which has been acknowledged by HP in consideration with all other factors, including HP clinical knowledge regarding claimant's condition, accounting for fluctuation and claimant's use of energy conservation, the movements undertaken by claimant during musculoskeletal testing (undertaken seated in wheelchair), input from other Health professionals, claimants daily routine and tasks conducted and what is medically reasonable for claimants condition. HP is confident in her choice of descriptor. My thoughts on this: I note that the HP did *not* mention the fact that I told her my GP has referred me for NHS assessment for wheelchair back in June. I particularly remember the HP talking about wheelchair , as I said I didn't mind paying for one to which she responded something along the lines of "if you can get one on NHS you should do - you're entitled. I find it strange that a wheelchair *only* counts if it is prescribed by a Medical Professional. I wrote an eight page letter requesting Mandatory Reconsideration, also including a letter from my next door neighbour confirming that I was virtually unable to walk any distance at all. This had no effect – I remained on low rate for both sets of PIP descriptors. Even at this point in the process my GP and my Counsellor had not been consulted. I suggest that this should be done at this point, which might have meant I avoided having to go to Tribunal. The assessment process was intimidating and upsetting, though the Assessor appeared pleasant enough most of the time. At one point while talking about not being able to cope with seeing my grandchildren very often (as they are noisy and very active) I started crying. When I apologised the Assessor merely said “You're not the first claimant to cry in front of me and I doubt you'll be the last.” It was only when I started thinking about it later that I thought it felt quite demeaning to be called a Claimant. It's objectifying the person and making them less of a person in my view. Ideally GP and any other Medical Professionals named on the PIP claim form should be contacted before the assessment. Assessor should know at least a reasonable amount about the conditions being assessed – although my Assessor seemed to say she knew about ME/CFS it is very obvious from her report that she knows little about it, or how it impacts on the lives of the more severely affected. For context, I am at the severe end of moderately affected.


10 November 2017 at 12:53

I have just had my second assessment for a PIP, which I have been receiving for 2 years now. This is the re-assessment. I suffer from Sytemic Lupus Erythematosus, have had to retire on sick health as a nurse (2years ago) due to the symptoms I get, which are mainly chronic fatigue. This year I have had more breathlessness. The aspect that troubles me with the PIP assessment is that it is based solely on physical or mental health, and does not take into consideration 'flares'. I can not tell from day to day how much energy I will have, nor if I will be able to go out and about or not. However, I can wash myself, dress myself, bend over to touch my toes and make a cup of tea. Doing these things can, however, completely wear me out. There needs to be a system whereby certain illnesses are given points, and within that the severity of those symptoms assessed. The toll of a 'hidden' disability whereby one looks well is monumental. I am not the person I used to be, I am truly disabled by the condition, and yet I have the stress of eating to find out if I will be given any money to boost my meagre NHS pension. I'm 50, have 3 children and am not able to even clean the house..the PIP enables me to have a cleaner. I am on tenter hooks waiting to see if I am eligible again.


10 November 2017 at 12:49

cont/ told me to claim JSA and when I looked it would be a month before I could. So this lady told me I could claim again and still continue with the MR. So today I have received a copy of the form I returned in March and will take it all with me next week to cab to get help for ESA MR and PIP tribunal. I received a copy of the ESA assessors report and found out her name and occupation. The report is FULL of lies. She has said I put both my arms in the air around my back etc., I did none of this as I had explained about the problems with my shoulders. She said I moved my neck around side to side onto my chest etc., all lies. I was so upset. Blatant lies on things I had taken time to explain about all the so called moving was greatly exaggerated. I said I had made the most of the nice weather and sat in the garden as often as I could when it was nice as it helped my mood she made it sound really bad "spends her time soaking up the sun" and also I said when she asked me to rotate my ankle that I often did this when I had me feet up on my footstool as it helped when I had numbness, she made this sound bad too "sat with her feet up most of the day" I was disgusted and will need to spend a lot of time trying to go through all 28 pages and rectify all the lies. How are they still allowed to do this. I had an assessor do this about 5 years ago it's still happening. I am so depressed with it all trying to work out how to get by. I am "lucky" my son lives with me and we are living on his money for the time being. He has ESA support group and DLA low mobility and care. He is 23 and I had to take him for his DLA to PIP assessment wednesday. I am dreading it coming back as so many people are being tossed aside for this now. He is 23 and can't live his life without help, he started university last year and once the term finished for him in May he has spent almost 5 months in bed the stress of it all. He comes in each time and goes straight to bed to sleep for several hours. I have to deal with all his paperwork, phone calls, meds, money yet this goes against me. What are we supposed to do there is no help! Life for me is complete crap. I was 57 on monday should have been thinking just 3 more years of being on this very unjust merry go round but no now the government have stuck another 6 years on. My friend who died last week was 65 worked hard all her life, got her nowhere. Disabled and mentally ill people are being discriminated against more and more. If anyone thinks this is an easy life you are so wrong. No one in their right mind would go through all this on a regular basis, if they could work. It's a pittance to live on, my council wants all the council tax paid so I'm having to find £1k a year out of the same money and now a portion of the rent, they have no nil income form as some others do. What are we supposed to do. Why can't your doctor do the report why waste money on these incompetent companies who allow this level of lies to carry on. The whole thing stinks!

Sarah Cummings

10 November 2017 at 12:45

The Nottingham assessment centre is on Maid Marion Way, in a building with a flight of stairs at the front, no parking and no bus stop nearby. I used to get DLA as I need a carer for 16 hours a week and now dont qualify for any help. The assessor ignored my evidence & said I can cook without help, because I could use microwave meals.


10 November 2017 at 12:40

Carol - additional feedback after distress at inaccurate ESA medical report. Advice Centre Workers advised me not to make complaints against DWP or they would treat me badly After receiving the medical report from my recent assessment I was very distressed at the inaccuracies. I went to 2 different advice centres (not DWP - outside agencies there to help) about making a complaint. I was strongly advised by both advisers not to. Please see comments below: Adviser 1. “I know so many people are upset we are getting these complaints all the time (she then laughed) and said yes there is a joke in the advice giving sector that the minute anyone gets their hand through the assessment building door the DWP miraculously heals them of all their health conditions” She strongly advised me not to make any complaints. (I wish I'd found this joke funny....) Adviser 2. “I really wouldn’t make a complaint you know they’re like a black hole (referring to DWP) and if you push them they’ll really pick on you next time you’re due for an assessment – leave them well alone “ Informal feedback from job centre worker. When ordered to go to a WRAG interview (against the advice of my doctors) the very nice job centre worker said they were not going to push me into doing anything – they could see I wasn’t well enough and that they would give me time to appeal the decision (how incredibly humane...) they also said they heard back from a lot of people they saw who were upset at inaccurate medical reports and obviously weren’t well enough to work. Do we have to be like top lawyers to fight our way through this system? We are ill people please Work and Pensions Committee don't kick this issue into the long grass - people lives are being ruined by this inhumane system.


10 November 2017 at 12:38

My face to face assessment for 're application was absolutely awful.when I received the report the majority of the statement was untrue and what I had said had been omitted. My condition is vds, fainting, this happened at interview and nothing was mentioned in the report.i am now on my 6th week waiting for a reply on a mandatory reconsideration..


10 November 2017 at 12:37

I have been trying to apply for pip since last year and have everytime been refused, i have a range of health conditions which effect my daily living yet they were all ignored which i thought was very unfair and should have been taken into consideration, they include uncontrolled epilepsy, b12 disease, scoliosis, memory issues, i also had a mini stroke last year and i have previously had encephilitus and been temp paralysed in a wheelchair yet given 0 points, this should be changed, your rules and regulations also need changing along with most of the cheating lying bogus staff assessors, there is a clamp down seriously needed as by law you and the dwp are actually committing fraud and trying to get away with it, all because of you my health and that of many others has gone downhill with the way we are all treated and ignored, most if not all of us are living under the poverty line because of your cuts and behaviour, i was forcefully yanked off esa and put on jsa when that shouldnt have happened as im not fit for work but i have had no choice, i have also had to put up with living on only £29 per week because you have decided to take high deductions and refused to change the amounts and also tell me fully why, ive demanded an investigation yet you refuse to do one, this should not be allowed to happen you are seriously taken the piss out of the piss and should be charged with breaking the law on all the offences you know you have committed unless you seriously change your ways and actually help and learn how to understand both the unemployed and the disabled properly of this country and address the problems we live with by sorting them out instead of brushing us under the carpet like youve been doing


10 November 2017 at 12:34

I had both letters drop magically on my doormat the same day in March! I had been awarded PIP until February 2018. So that was for a REVIEW. The appointment was in a place completely unacceptable. I called and told them I couldn't go to this place- almost 30 miles away - I was quizzed had I been there before etc., I said yes but had been taken many years prior and hadn't a clue how to get there myself. I then asked why I couldn't have a home visit as I had had before. Was told they no longer did them! He then gave me another appointment for a centre 10 miles away! Why not do this first? He then allowed me a taxi as I said I would have to go on my own and that area is all one way and by this time I was in panic mode. On the day the taxi dropped me outside and I went in and waited. The person taking the assessment was young and friendly introduced herself told me she was an ex nurse! At her age to be ex was a surprise, but this must pay better. I wasd stressed out, very anxious but then I talk a lot and I did explain this but it wasn't put on the report. The report when I got a copy was about 80% ok, there were varius things missed off like my talking and other things continually repeated, about being "well kempt" this is a phrase that seems to mean you are ok and have no problems! I was on enhanced care. A few weeks later had a letter from the council telling me I had to contribute over £16 a week to the rent. I called asking why to be told you have lost PIP. I called DWP was told yes, well where was my letter. Lady started MR from that day. I had a letter from my doctor as only diagnosis I have is anxiety and depression (now waiting on rheumatology appointment) I was completely floored. I lost over £80 a week, then £15 off my ESA and have to pay extra towards rent. I sent a letter for the MR which crossed and came back denied. I spoke to a caseworker who gave me a 2nd MR sent doctors letter as well as a more detailed letter of my problems again denied. I now have forms for tribunal and have managed to get a CAB appointment for next week to help with it. Nothing has got any better, my joint problems are much worse, mental health is worse! Onto ESA had the assessment for that about 10 days after the PIP this was in Colchester. A friend took me and looked after my dog for me whilst I was in there. I had asked for a more comfortable chair to be provided when I called to change the appointment sent to me, mainly as the time was no good and I had to get help to get me there, they don't allow a taxi. They said to call the centre day before to get chair situation sorted, there was no number, when I got there I asked and was told they have no other chairs. This being after the PIP interview the chairs were so bad and I had to wait over an hour for a taxi and was so stiff and sore the day after I wasn't able to do anything for almost 3 days. The receptionist and the assessor, who had the door open and was listening to everything I said, both had comfortable chairs to sit in! The assessor came and got me asked said no as I my eyes are sensitive and I prefer it dimmer. I sat down and as we talked it was very hot and I asked if I could have the fan on which was nearby. The assessment was pretty much the same as the PIP. The so called "examination" is a joke. She said if I didn't want to get on the bed/table I could do it sitting on the chair. I explained in great detail about my neck, that I have nerve damage and have to be careful moving it - not too extreme - in any direction. I asked what the point of this moving bits of your body slightly was and was told it showed how you moved your joints. Well a couple of seconds doing something really is not a pointer as to how you can manage things in life is it. The fact I could put my thumb and forefinger together is not going to help me lift heavy saucepans etc., when my wrists are very difficult! Well she asked I answered. She never told me her name or her background. After a lot of waiting the letter finally came in October to tell me I had lost ESA. So now no income at all! When this happened before I appealed was kept on ESA until that was looked at and then onto tribunal. Now you have to apply for JSA unless you have new conditions which I do so after misinformation from a DWP call centre person I have had no money for over a month. After calling 3rd December in a state as I was overwhelmed (had the day before been told of a very old friend (33 years known her and my mother died in July and I didn't find out until August and it has been really awful) asking for more time to do my MR was told I would get a call back within 3 hours, didn't happen. So in panic mode all over the weekend. I went out monday it was my birthday and a friend had given me some money and I decided to go out for a coffee. Sitting in costa had a call. Went and sat in my car and was given information and more help thankfully, that I could indeed reclaim ESA as I had new conditions, other one had tol


10 November 2017 at 12:17

I Have two forms of arthritis, depression and Ménière’s disease which also impacts my hearing. I was penalised for pretty much everything. The assessment was full of inconsistencies and read like a character assassination. I was awarded PIP at an appeal but I don’t think I’m on the right level but I can’t face fighting it anymore. The MR needs reviewing as the second decision was based on the inconsistencies in the report. It doesn’t feel like there is an avenue for addressing this and correcting the report. It isn’t claimaint friendly at all and in don’t think I have ever felt so dehumanised. It is a cruel process where you are treated with suspicion and the onus is on you to prove you are worthy of the benefit. The forms also do not help support a claimaint - the wording on some questions are ambiguous and it feels like there is a ‘right’ way to complete these. The system is heavily weighed towards obvious disabilities and heavily weighted against hidden disabilities. I think not only should a claimaint be assigned a case manager but a counsellor/advisor who can help them access services if their benefits are removed. It is an incredibly vulnerable part of society that are applying for these benefits (and I can assure you, it isn’t a decision I took lightly to apply for) and the removal of these benefits can have devastating results. I am not looking forward to my renewal


10 November 2017 at 12:08

I am a registered severely sight impaired (Blind). My PIP application has been refused after the assessment and I am currently waiting for my appeal hearing. My assessor was a Registered Mental Nurse (RMN)...[yes, RMN to assess a visually impaired person...may be both are interlinked!]...she had no understanding of visual impairment and its effect on human functionality. Because I don't use white cane to move around [instead my wife helps me outdoors],Assessor ignored the certification of Visual Impairment from an Ophthalmologist altogehter and the fact that many visually impaired people dont use the white cane for multifple reasons - Asseslied and twisted my answers to her questions to suit her decision to not award me PIP in her report and DWP decision maker just rubber stamped assessor's report. For me Mandatory reconsideration [MR] was not useful as RNIB requested the MR on my behalf but DWP decision maker ignored all points highlighted by RNIB to give me enough points to get any level of PIP. For me, Assessment was not at all Claimant friendly as the assessor [who didn't have the required skills] was rushing the assessment...told me that she had only one hour to complete the assessment...she didn't read my form beforehand as there was a computer glitch and had to ask me all the questions again and type the answers while I was giving. Resultantly she was talking over me...I felt she was fishing for specific answers. At the end of assessment, when I asked her to introduce herself as she didn't introduce at the start...she refused by saying ''I am not here to tell me about myself...I am one of analyst here.'' Later on my wife looked her up on the NMC register online and we found out that she was a RMN. In my opinion following steps should be taken to improve the whole PIP process for visually impaired people: 1) DWP / Assessment providers should engage organizations like RNIB, who enlighten and train the assessors about the functional challenges visaully impaired people encounter. similarly about other disabilities, relevant specialist organzations should be involved at the assessment stage to train the assessors 2) Assessor's should not be under pressure to carry out assessments quickly and must not be incentivised to do it will hamper the quality of assessment. 3) Most importantly, applicants should know the methodology Assesors are using to award points in assessment. The present details available are vague and somewhat misleading. Even with that assessor's are not cosistent in their decsioins. For example, for going out activity, guidline states that it is mainly relevant to sensory issues...and I [severely sight impaired / blind] have been given 0 point. 4) Applicants should be given the opportunity to discuss the assessment report with the Assessor before Assessor sends the report to DWP. This will help the process as Applicants will feel engaged [and understand the decision or clarify any discrepency] and Assessor can explain their decision or adjust the decision if wrong conclusion was made. This doesn't have to be on the assessment date, assessor's can write to the applicant and give applicant a week or so to comment before decision is sent to DWP. The reason I am suggesting above is that I feel Applicants are left at the mercy of Assessors...they are not engaged in the decision process. Once decision is made it is too late! MR's cannot be useful as DWP officers do not possess the required skills...hence they have brought in ATOS and CAPITA. In my opinion MRs are redundant [I accept some applicants may have got the right decision at this stage but logically this stage should not be required]. 5) Following from the last point, this will also help to clear the appeal backlogs Tribunal has. Courts are having to do the work which Assessment proivders have been paid to do - it is evident in the published appeal success rate figures. Lastly, DWP cannot wash their hands from the fact that PIP rolling out has been a disaster for the most vulnerable people of our society...DWP should ensure that assessment providers take steps to rectify the fundamental flaws in the PIP assessment process. DWP needs to work hard to improve their tarnished image of an agency, who is at war with its very people they are supposed to be protecting!

Total results 2826 (page 11 of 283)