Benefit and Works Telephone pip Assessments and more

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  • #113562 Reply

    this is from an email i get from Benefit and Works

    i know its long but does make interesting reading , one of the things the talk about is telephone assessments ,

    That’s the positive information as well as the lawbreaking, confidentiality-breaching and bullying.

    We have the good news that PIP claimants with short, fixed-term awards which are due to end will now have them extended, after the DWP backed down on its refusal to do so.

    And more good news, claimants who were wrongly forced onto universal credit have won a Court of Appeal challenge to have their lost income reinstated.

    Plus, hundreds of claimants and professionals have attended Benefits and Work PIP changes webinars and responded very positively.

    We’d love to welcome you to the next one – and we’ve some words of reassurance if you’ve never been to a webinar before.


    We’ve received so much feedback from the over 250 people who have completed our PIP telephone assessments survey that we’ve had to split this article into two parts, with the second part being published next week.

    In this first part we can reveal that the assessment companies have been breaking the law in over one third of assessments, by failing to provide the legal minimum of seven day’s’ notice.

    In some cases claimants have received precisely no notice whatsoever.

    “Call came out of the blue. My husband answered the phone and as soon as PIP review was mentioned and my name he handed the call over to me. Immediate reaction, was this going to be a scam call.”

    Most calls were on time. But some people were kept waiting and, perhaps more alarming, some people reported being called hours before the appointed time when they were unprepared.

    And some people never got a call at all:

    “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. They then blamed it on Vodafone saying they must have blocked them. I confirmed with Vodafone that no blocks are on my line.”

    On the other hand, there were claimants who got not one, but two, calls from the assessor:

    “Assessor very nice on first call, but when called back it was as though she was looking for ways to catch me out. Had an agenda.”

    Although many claimants are told the assessment will last around 40 minutes, almost half of our respondents were on the phone for over an hour.

    “My assessment started at 10.30 am and finished at 12.30am I was exhausted!”

    “3 and a half long draining hours”

    And, in some cases, being able to endure such a lengthy call was used as grounds for taking away a PIP award:

    “My PIP was not renewed. One of the reasons given was that I managed to continue the phone call for so long. This was despite me being exhausted by the call and highly anxious throughout.”

    Confidentiality continues to be an issue in over one in ten calls, with assessors working from homes they share with others:

    “Her husband was in the vicinity and I was on speaker phone.”

    “Could hear noises in background. At one point she had to stop and ask me to hold for about two minutes.”

    “Banging, dog barking , I lost concentration!”

    “There was some disruption because of her child in the background.”

    And having a family member or carer help you give information was strongly resisted by some assessors. This is despite the fact that, as we revealed in the last newsletter, even a government minister says they should be able to provide this support.

    It was this issue particularly that seemed to bring out the bully in some assessors:

    “They didn’t like that call was on speaker phone with my partner present. Told him it was unacceptable to help me. Wouldn’t let me answer with more than a few word’s. Kept cutting me off with things like “that’s not the way pip wants it answered” “I’ve already explained to you” Numerous threats to end the call.”

    “The assessor called me a liar on the phone. He demanded that I must speak for myself and not my representative. He told my representative that she is not allowed to talk on my behalf. He was rude and I was made to feel low.”

    There’s much more information in the full article to help you prepare for your own telephone assessment. Or that of a family member, no matter how much the assessor might disapprove.

    Part two will be published next week, when we’ll look at the assessor’s manner, technical problems with calls and questions about daily living and mobility. We’ll also be hearing from people who have had the result of their telephone assessment.


    Claimants whose fixed short-term PIP awards are due to end will have them extended, a minister has confirmed, after the DWP initially said it would not do so.

    Last month Justin Tomlinson told MPs that some PIP claimants were having their awards extended:

    “ . . . for those that would be due for reassessment in the next three months, we’ve automatically extended their benefit by six months.”

    However, as we warned readers in the last Benefits and Work newsletter, some claimants with short-term awards and especially those awarded by a tribunal, were being told that their awards could not be extended.

    Tomlinson has now told MPs:

    “There was an issue for those on fixed-term, short awards, but we have now addressed that, and those claimants will continue to get an automatic six months’ extension if it is due in the next three months.”

    We are still advising readers who think they should be covered by this extension to check with the DWP that it will actually be applied in their case.


    Child Poverty Action Group has won a court of appeal battle on behalf of legacy benefits claimants, including an ESA claimant, who were wrongly forced onto universal credit and were worse-off as a result.

    The claimants were forced to claim UC following errors by the DWP.

    But even when they won their appeals against the decisions, regulations prevented them from going back onto their former benefits.

    PR, the ESA claimant, was £180 a month worse-off.

    Another claimant, TD the mother of a disabled child, was £140 a month worse-off.

    If the errors had not been made and they had eventually moved onto UC via ‘managed migration’ they would have had transitional protection to protect them from this sudden fall in their income.

    The DWP’s reason for leaving the claimants worse-off was that it would be too administratively complex and expensive to correct these sort of mistakes.

    The Court of Appeal held that this was not a sufficient justification to treat the claimants differently.

    The DWP will now either have to return the claimants, and others like them, to their former benefits or top up their UC to make up the shortfall.


    Have you attended one of the free Benefits and Work webinars on changes to PIP brought about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?

    If not, there’s still time as we are running another two webinars in the coming weeks, one for claimants and carers and one for professionals.

    Over 200 people attended the last webinar for claimants and carers and over 150 advice and support workers attended the last professionals’ webinar.

    We got lots of positive feedback, some of which you can read below.

    And if you have worries about webinars because you’ve never been to one before, we’ve published some joining instructions and FAQs on webinars.

    But rest assured, you can just watch and not participate if you wish, you are anonymous, you will never be seen or heard and you can ask questions by typing in the chat box, or not, as you choose.

    “I attended the Covid-19 webinar last week on behalf of the Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS). I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was concise but still informative, I felt that it was pitched at the right level and both presenters were very clear and easy to understand. I definitely felt a lot more confident about the changes than I did before and in my role as training Officer I’ve been able to pass this on to our advisers.”

    Norah MacPhee, Training Officer, Lewis Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)

    “Thank you for the webinar on Friday, we found it very useful and it was very well presented. Plenty of valuable information that we can use to help us to advise clients during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

    Natalie Keys,Training Officer, Cyngor ar Bopeth Gwynedd Citizens Advice

    “I attended the Webinar on Friday and would like to say that I found it really informative. It answered several questions I had concerning recent changes to the P.I.P benefit system. I enjoyed the polls that took place throughout the course and their relevance. I took notes throughout the session and have shared the information with my team who will also find it very helpful with supporting customers at this difficult time.”

    Michelle Wills, Support Worker, Northants Intermediate Mental Health Floating Support Service

    In this period of constant crisis and change, knowing what’s happening to your benefits is more vital than ever – so do join us.

    Good Luck,

    Steve Donnison


    Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal.

    Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

    If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

    Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 74838

    Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.

    Offer ends midnight Friday


    What PIP telephone assessments are really like

    PIP webinar feedback, will you attend the next one?

    ESA claimants wrongly forced onto UC win Court of Appeal battle

    Minister confirms short-term PIP awards will be extended


    As always, many thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to post in the forum or email us with news of your success. We know it’s many readers favourite, and most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

    PIP Appeal success!

    “Hello all, currently in a state of disbelief. Letter received today, DWP scored my friend 0 points. Tribunal has awarded him 15 points Daily Living and 12 Mobility. I am over the moon. The original decision was just a few days under a year ago and the first tribunal decided they couldn’t do it on the papers alone. The second clearly disagreed because they didn’t telephone for the pre-arranged phone tribunal. This has been an incredibly stressful year, the effects of having his income cut off, of being not believed has had a huge emotional strain on him, not to mention the financial worries. So happy to be able to put that behind him and focus on the only thing that should matter, his health. Justice has finally been done, thank you so much to Benefits And Work, all who contribute to this site and it’s guides. Really don’t know how to thank you.”

    Update and thanks

    “I just wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all who offered their advice and experience while I was going through the PIP review process (since September 2019). I got my decision letter on Friday and my award has been kept the same despite the ‘assessment’ report which, if followed, would have meant I’d have got no PIP at all… A couple of sentences in the decision letter caught my attention:

    “I looked at the health professional consultation report and changed the descriptors previously chosen based on the medical evidence received. I decided to award you PIP for a longer time.” So, once again many thanks!”

    Successful MR

    “Cannot believe it, had a letter from DWP giving me my award of standard Daily Living back. Cannot believe this!!!! Just checked & the back pay’s already gone into the bank. It was 8 weeks today since I went for MR… Thanks so much to all of you for this, I never dreamt that I’d get my award back without a massive fight. At some point I shall lie down & have a jolly good sob. Keep fighting all & never ever give up!”

    Telephone appeal success

    “Appeal / Upheld by appeal court via telephone. Just wanted to relay thanks to the mods who have assisted throughout. Went from 4 pts Daily Living and 4 pts Mobility to Enhanced on both rates. Judge and panel were extremely patient and all the questioning regarded the pip descriptors and why i disagreed with HP report for each descriptor. I had provided all the information and evidence available and was allowed to explain why i disagreed with original decision. The appeal took around 50-60 mins and was extremely thorough and i did not try to embellish anything and just said it as it was. Judge phoned me back after about 15 mins and thanked me for my input and gave me the panels decision. Waited 12 months for this and stressed to the limit but feel justified now. Many thanks again to B/W and all mods.”

    PIP, PIP, hooray!

    “So today I have finally received official notification of my son’s p.i.p award.. Score 20 points daily living = enhanced.. Score 12 points mobility = enhanced.. Awarded until February 2026… Thanks for all the support to b and w in this very stressful process and all the best to all of you awaiting award notifications”


    Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal.

    Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

    If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

    Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 74838

    Sent from my iPhone


Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 36 total)
  • Author
  • #113598 Reply

    My phone assessment was supposed to be about 40 minutes long, but ended up lasting 2 hours.  I was very lucky that I had a nice ex nurse who understood a lot of what I was telling her.  I received my notification letter last week renewing my PIP for 3 years.


    So relieved.

    #113603 Reply

    My phone assessment went better than the face to face back in 2017

    Enhanced mobility and lower care for 4 years

    #113629 Reply

    Thank you for posting @Martino.
    I’m sure this post be referred to time and time again. 👍👍

    🏎 I will be remembered for nothing but had great fun doing it 🏎

    #127168 Reply

    Today I had my telephone PIP assessment. It was delayed by 3 hours from 9 am to 12pm.

    I did get 3 phone calls to apologise and inform me at it would be delayed due to a complex case.

    The call lasted for 2 hours and 5 mins.

    All of the standard form questions were asked and some additional.

    My assessor was being assessed and I was asked questions by him and his supervisor – which I found very stressful.

    I am quite worried that they spoke to me for such a long time.

    Decision will be in 8 weeks.




    #127169 Reply

    over 2 hours is a long time for an assessment.its not even that for a face to face one

    #127173 Reply
    Dave G

    Thanks for sharing Martino. Mine is awarded for 4 years. It mentioned on the award letter they would be in contact the year before (3rd year). No sign. Then lockdown kicked in and came into Aug, still no sign of any phone calls or letters for a review form, this had me worried. Citizen Advice and other members mentioned to chase it up as the end of payments drew near.

    Just receive a letter this month saying it has been extended upto one more year due to covid. Complete opposite to what advice I received and during this time I should expect a review form if condition has worsened. I mean with contacting and isolating for 14 days, this year has been the worst of all, breathing had got terrible to the point where I now rely on a mini ventilator at night.

    Word of advice to anybody not receiving any phone calls or letter. It most likely has been extended until further notice.

    #127174 Reply
    Dave G

    Mandi, is that for a new claim or a review? 2 hours is indeed very long!

    #127175 Reply

    Martino, thank you for posting this. I found it very useful. I sent in my first-time application off on the 25/09/2020 and am still awaiting for a response. Here’s hoping 🤞

    Motability cars:

    2015 RR Evoque AWD 2.0 TD4 SE Tech - written off
    2017 Toyota CH-R 1.2T Dynamic CVT AWD - written off
    2019 BMW X2 2.0L Sport

    #127190 Reply

    From what people have endured at the hands of Capita assessors i would say record all calls if possible. This would give you evidence of unfair practices and unacceptable behaviour on there part that you can later present at appeal if you need to go down that avenue. Failing that have someone able to take notes with you during call as it will be impossible to remember what was said after call with all the stress .

    #127198 Reply
    Lord Muc

    Bobscot, not sure if you allowed to record with out permission, then you have to have approved equipment, for it to be valid and used in any dispute.

    #127201 Reply

    I meant that recording it would enable you to go through what was said when preparing any appeal.  Not to present recording at appeal. Recording a conversation in secret is not a criminal offence and is not prohibited in UK law. As long as the recording is for personal use you don’t need to obtain consent or let the other person know.

    #127207 Reply

    I think the rule on “approved equipment” regarding recording an assessment refers to face to face but when your in your own home that rule goes out the window as far as I would be concerned as it’s my home and my phone.

    #127208 Reply
    Lord Muc

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>True, but it is a bit of a minefield, you are dealing with the DWP, their guidance on this is: quote,</p>
    Covert recording of consultations

    If the [Healthcare Professional] notices that a claimant is covertly recording their consultation, the restrictions relating to the recording of consultations should be explained to the claimant. If the [Healthcare Professional] is content to be recorded, the claimant is content to sign the agreement form and the claimant’s equipment meets the specified requirements, the consultation can continue. If this is not the case the claimant should be asked to stop recording. If the claimant refuses, the consultation should be terminated and the case should be returned to the DWP using the return assessment function with reason failure to participate. The [Case Manager] will consider whether the claimant has good reason for failing to participate in the consultation.

    #127209 Reply
    Lord Muc

    Taken from benefits and work, 30th may:-

    Recording the call
    It is not unlawful to covertly record your assessment if it is for personal use. And you can offer the recording, or a transcript, as evidence at an appeal.

    82% of claimants didn’t record the call. Some because they thought it was unlawful to do so.

    “I was told it was illegal to record the appeal”

    But 18%, almost one in five, did make a recording.

    “Recorded the assessment, but I didn’t tell the assessor.”

    “Mobile on speakerphone, recording using laptop.”

    “My phone records all calls.”

    Some made a recording even though they had been told they were not allowed to.


    #127211 Reply
    Lord Muc

    Just seen this, just started. September.

    Recording for PIP assessments

    #127214 Reply

    when i had my call in june they just spoke to my wife for about 20 mins as i dont talk on the phone due to mental heath issuse.about 3 weeks letter had a letter saying my award was for an ongoing period with a light touch review in 2030.

    #127216 Reply

    Ten years!  That must be a bit a relief.  I start to get wound up 18 months before me reassessment – which is every 3 years!

    #127233 Reply

    The DWP guidance on claimants recording interviews refers to on capita premises not to telephone assessments to customers home.

    #127238 Reply

    i think now if your never going to get better they give it you for 10 years .

    #127239 Reply

    when i had my call in june they just spoke to my wife for about 20 mins as i dont talk on the phone due to mental heath issuse.about 3 weeks letter had a letter saying my award was for an ongoing period with a light touch review in 2030.

    Wow, 10yrs! My Mother had her assessment in Spring 2019 and was awarded indefinitely at the higher rate, knowing she’s not going to get better.

    Motability cars:

    2015 RR Evoque AWD 2.0 TD4 SE Tech - written off
    2017 Toyota CH-R 1.2T Dynamic CVT AWD - written off
    2019 BMW X2 2.0L Sport

    #127241 Reply

    Well I have two degenerative conditions but still get reviewed regularly.  M.S. only gets worse.  Unstable spondylolisthesis only gets worse.

    Do you think I get reviewed because they’re concerned that I might get worse?  Or because they might manage to ‘catch me out’ and reduce my Award?  My last ‘reassessment’ form (what is it – 79 Questions?) arrived while I was in hospital undergoing major surgery, but they refused to give me an extension.  I had to complete it when I got home in 4 days while I was whacked out of my head on painkillers.

    #127246 Reply

    when did you have your last assessment?


    #127278 Reply

    I got 10 years with light touch review in “16”.

    I record every conversation with any dept of the DWP etc as I have short term memory loss and wouldn’t have a clue otherwise, at my interview I had asked them to record it and give me a copy, when I got there they said their equipment wasn’t working so I said I would use my phone and give them a copy via email at the end, they made unhappy noises but I told them about my condition and said I would need a full written copy taken by a third person otherwise, they let me record when I said that.

    I record all my calls automatically anyway.

    #127416 Reply

    Damn assessments, if they have a single decent honest assessor anywhere I’ve NEVER heard of them nor met them. As far as I’m concerned they just employ crooked liars.

    I had a home assessment, I was in bed with only my face showing, to get thru I’d taken 100mg Amitryptyline so I was out of it.

    Apparently I showed no visible signs of distress, answered clearly, gave my entire medical history & drugs.

    Only thing was all that was written down the wife read it out for them & I fell asleep 3 times.

    She asked about getting out of the bath & I misheard & started talking about a scooter but that’s all fine apparently.

    I can also put my own 5cm x 5cm Butrans medicated patches on my own upper back (apparently I missed my calling in the circus).

    There were so many outright lies it was beyond belief. I was awarded standard on both element for 3 years despite worsening symptoms.

    We put an MR & the dwp signed for it then “lost” it so they did the MR without the info & of course I “lost” told them we’d resend the MR & they could do it again properly, they refused said only option was tribunal despite THEIR mistake & they admitted that too.

    12 months later at tribunal I was awarded enhanced rate of both elements after THREE MINUTES.

    The DWP, Atos (IAS) & Capita are all lying, thieving Scum.

    #127420 Reply

    Rich your story is so typical how can your award change so much because you went to a tribunal, sorry I meant to say why did it have to go there to get it somethings are right , how can one person say oh the claimant can get nothing the someone else says you can get the enhanced rate (that’s great) but the time the stress worry and the cost of other people looking again at it . Its swear word , swear word  appalling .

    A friend apply  after getting  there   social worker to complete the form
    after they had the phone appointment they waited 16 weeks ( they didn’t want harasse them by phoning them ) They did eventually call them and they said they sent a letter out one week later ( they never do them that quickly) my friend never go a letter my friend was told they got no points for any question and they need to get a MR.

    its such a stressful thing to do fill out the form put all your problems disability’s issues etc for it to be torn to shreds , and the other thing is the assessor makes out as if they are nice and they’re for you and they are your friend , that’s just to put you off guard .

    i could go on bitching about it , but I best stop I’d like to say it will change but I can’t see it happening.


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