Personal Independence Assessments by Lorraine Moss.

Havering Welfare Adviser Lorraine Moss today writes in the Havering Daily.

Once you have completed your application form and it has been assessed, the next stage is usually an assessment.  There are a few exceptions for example, people who are terminally ill do not have to have an assessment. 

At the moment, all face-to-face assessments have been cancelled and the assessments are currently being completed over the phone.  Please see Personal Independence Payment (PIP): How to claim – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As I stated in last weeks article, it is much better to have a copy of your application form with you when you are assessed and you will be asked many questions about your illness/conditions and how it affects your daily living and mobility.  

Your PIP assessment helpsheet This sheet contains useful tips that you can use on the day of your assessment. It’s a good idea to print it out and have a copy with you for your assessment. What to take to your assessment You’ll need to bring some form of identification with you to the assessment. The assessment appointment letter tells you what you can use as ID. You should also take:

• any medication you’re taking

• a list of the aids or appliances you use – for example, glasses, hearing aids, walking stick

• any evidence about how your condition affects you that you didn’t include in your PIP claim form – for example, from a health professional 

• a copy of your PIP claim form – you can refer to it in the assessment and it’s a good way to make sure you tell the assessor everything you want them to know about how your condition affects you © Citizens Advice 2015 v1 11/2015

Advice for the actual assessment

Do: tell the assessor everything you can that’s relevant to your condition, even if it’s already on your PIP claim form take your time – don’t let them rush you go through your PIP claim form to remind yourself of your answers – it may also remind you to mention anything you didn’t include on the form ask for any help you need as this can make the assessment less stressful – for example, an assessor who is the same gender as you, an interpreter or signer (try to do this at least 2 working days in advance) 

Don’t: exaggerate or lie about your condition feel you have to do anything you normally wouldn’t be able to do don’t agree to do any movements that are too painful just answer yes or no to the assessment questions but tell them how doing something makes you feel – for example, ‘Yes, I can lift my arm above my head, but it’s painful and I have to rest afterwards. If I had to do it more than once in a short period of time, it would make me feel tired but also dizzy.’ expect the assessor to ‘be on your side’ – they’re there to ask questions, not to make sure you get PIP.

Source Preparing for your PIP assessment – Citizens Advice

Face To Face Assessments

If your assessment is after the Covid 19 crisis and you have to have a face to face assessment, you will be asked to attend an assessment centre, if the location is to far or too difficult for you, you can request that the location be changed.  You can even ask for a home assessment, but you may need proof from your GP to support you.   You are able to bring someone with you for support  who can take part in the discussions and take notes for you.

The assessor will ask you questions about how you travelled to the assessment centre and they will make notes in their report. You may also be asked to carry out physical tasks during a face to face assessment.  If this is a task that you cannot normally do, you must explain this to the assessor and also if you do carry out a task and it causes you pain, make sure you mention this to the assessor.

The assessor may also ask you personal questions, for example if you are a woman and you have your nails done, they may ask who does them for you.  Please be careful how you answer because they will refer to this in their report.  For example, if you said that you done your nails yourself, they may then argue that this contradicts the information that you already give in your application form.  

Telephone Assessment

As with the face to face assessments, you are allowed to have someone there to support you and take part in the discussion and take notes.  The downside of these assessments, is without actually seeing you, sometimes the assessor does not really get to establish exactly how your condition impacts on you.  For example, your voice may sound very clam on the  phone but if they could actually see you, it may be evident from your body language and actions that you are suffering from anxiety of have difficulty communicating with people. 

What to Do If Your Application Is Refused

It is not unusual for applications to be refused but then go on to be successful if you appeal.  If your application is refused, the first step is that you must ask for a Mandatory consideration.  This must be requested within a month of the date on your decision letter.  Also ask for a detailed report of your assessment.  This is vital because you are then able to dispute exactly what the assessor has said and explain the reason/s why. 

Sadly, the success rate of Mandatory Reconsiderations is currently only 15 percent so please be prepared for this.  However, you have to go through this process before you are able to lodge and appeal.  Over 70 percent of people who lodge an appeal are successful.  Although it is very daunting, it is always worth doing.  

Next week I will write about Mandatory Reconsiderations and how to complete an appeal

The Havering Daily