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Previously Unseen PIP And ESA Documents About Telephone Assessments

October 7, 2020

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.


Benefits and Work has begun working through hundreds of pages of guidance and training relating to PIP and WCA telephone assessments that have been published on the What Do they Know website.

The guidance includes previously unseen information that could make the difference between winning and losing an appeal about failing to be present for a telephone assessment.

Benefits and Work has heard from numerous people with experiences like this:

“Capita did not call. My appointment was at 11.45, I waited and no call was received. I phoned them at 1215hrs and was told that I had failed to attend for my assessment and that they had called 3 times! I was sat with my phone waiting for the call.”

However, information in the Capita PIP guidance would make it much easier to prove whether the assessors claims were true.

The guidance states that Capita PIP assessors are required to phone a claimant three times within a prescribed period to carry out a telephone assessment. On the third call they must leave a message on the claimant’s voicemail asking them to rebook.

But we know that some claimants are simply handed back to the DWP rather than given a chance to rebook.

However, If they do not get a response Capita assessors are told they must immediately take a screenshot of their call history and send it to their line manager.

If you have your PIP stopped for not answering the phone when you know that you were never called, you can require Capita to provide you with a copy of the screenshot of the call history.

Different arrangements are in place for IAS. There’s more details in the guide

One of the issues that assessors face as a result of the move to telephone assessments is that they can no longer carry out physical examinations or use visual observations of such issues as lack of eye-contact or trembling to gather evidence about a claimant’s mental health.

For this reason IAS have also published guidance which instructs assessors to ask detailed questions about ‘Fertile areas’, such as childcare and hobbies, in which PIP assessors should look for evidence.

For each fertile area IAS have produced a graphic listing different activities and the PIP related issues that it might provide evidence on.

So, for example, assessors are told childcare is a fertile area and that ‘playtime’ is a potential activity that will allow the assessor to collect information about:

  • motivation,
  • safety,
  • cognition,
  • communication,
  • sensory [issues]

All of which may be true. But if the assessor simply makes the assumption that because you are able to play with your children then you don’t have any issues in these areas then it will not be an accurate assessment.

So, it’s vital that if you are asked about any of these activities you explain in detail any difficulties you have, even if you are not asked to do so.

We’ve provided more information on this in the PIP guide.

We’ll be working our way through the documents over the coming weeks and adding anything else of importance that we find to the guides.

If any readers download the documents and finds anything helpful, we’d be happy to hear from you.

The documents are available to download from the What do They Know website.

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