Benefits and Work have reported that a number of their members in recent weeks have been been made to go through a second Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessment before a decision is made on their award, because there was a problem with the first assessment report.
One member faced a two hour assessment on Christmas Eve. In January they were contacted by Capita and told that the assessment was “incomplete” and that someone was to be “sent round to finish it.”
Capita have refused to say what information was missing and would not provide a copy of the report until it was complete.
One member told Benefits and Work:
“This has left me feeling very anxious. All they would say is that they needed further information as the last assessment was incomplete. I’m confused. I feel that they want to trip me up even though I was completely truthful about my conditions in the last assessment.”
I co-run an online group to support people going through PIP and Employment and Support Allowance claims, assessments, mandatory review and appeals. Our members are also reporting that this is happening to them, too.
One person told me: “After suffering two heart attacks and a quadruple bypass plus a brain tumour and a previous devastating head injury , which will never be “cured” he was told to apply for PIP.
“Three months later and the lady sent from a brain injury charity, to help him , phoned up the Department for Work and Pensions regarding his assessment and they denied having any knowledge of said assessment and said it will have to be done again.
“The stress is unbearable for my partner.
Another person said: “I had my assessment in November. I rang to see why I wasn’t told a decision just before Christmas and was told I would need another assessment as the one I’d had didn’t give enough evidence to make the decision.
“I collapsed at the assessment in the examination because I was told to stand up from my wheel chair and I can’t. What more evidence do they need? I have rheumatoid arthritis and a severe spine injury, they have medical evidence from my doctor? I can’t face it all again. The stress is making me very poorly.”
Another member had almost completed their assessment when it was suddenly stopped and they were told they would have to return for a new, full assessment. The only reason they were given was that the assessment should have been done by a physiotherapist instead of a nurse.
One Benefits and Work member took her son for a PIP assessment which lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. However, this person was then told that the assessor had not filed the report so they would have to return for a new assessment.
The new assessor took 1 hour and 30 minutes. The assessor claimed that she had the original report on screen and would take information from that, but she did not actually do so. As a result our member did not give some of the information that had been covered in the first report.
The member said:
“I was too worried at the time to complain but I did contact my MP.”
Another member was contacted after their assessment in December and told that she would have to attend a second assessment in February before a decision on her claim could be made. When they asked why:
“I was told it was to do a more robust assessment and that if I didn’t attend they would refuse my claim.”
The person concerned is understandably very anxious about the repeat assessment:
“I am in total meltdown mode and if the first one is anything to go by I’m dreading the next one. I was so stressed and anxious I could barely control myself but did manage to answer all the questions they asked.”
One member’s 16 year old child is about to be moved from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP. They had an assessment in December but have now been asked to attend a second one before a decision is made.
The member commented:
“So I guess we just go to the 2nd assessment and do it all again then? Just what a overly anxious child wants eh!!”
Another member had their PIP assessment in December as part of the process of moving from an indefinite DLA award. However, in January they were contacted by Capita who said that the DWP had requested further information and they would have to have a further assessment. Capita have not said what further information is needed or why it can’t be collected by phone.
The member said:
“I am sick with worry I was already suffering with even more anxiety than usual due to going through this process.”
The PIP assessment process is enormously stressful for many people. To have to go through it twice with no adequate explanation as to why seems unfair and unreasonable. At the very least, people should receive a letter of apology and an explanation of why a telephone conversation would not be sufficient to put matters right.
Please consider complaining to your MP if this happens to you.
Benefits and Work are interested in hearing from anyone else who has been forced to attend two assessments. Please click on the link and leave your comment here.
You can also leave a comment on this article, as I will be sending this information to government and shadow ministers.
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