DLA to PIP success
“Thank you so much to this site after a long 8 mths I have today been awarded enhanced for both for 10 yrs so happy it’s all over thank you.”


Dear Reader,

In this newsletter there’s an awful lot about PIP telephone assessments.

We hear from members about their experience of having a PIP telephone assessment whilst in lockdown at home.

We reveal that we’ve updated our PIP claims guide with an additional 6 pages on telephone assessments, taking you through everything you need to know to prepare for one.

We learn that claimants taking part in video or telephone hearings must treat their home as if it were a court room.

Back to PIP telephone assessments, we have started a survey to gather as much information as we can from people who have had one.

Plus, a member has discovered that the work and pensions committee is going to be investigating PIP and ESA assessments.

Finally, we are running our first free webinar about PIP changes on 1 May, and yes, there will be a section on telephone assessments.

PIP telephone assessments are not new. They have been around as long as PIP has been in existence.

But they have never been the default option before.

And they probably weren’t carried out by health professionals working from home.

So we’ve gone through our forums and emails to bring you our members’ experiences.

We’ve discovered some positive things.

Most people found the health professionals to be friendly and encouraging.

And with interviews lasting in the region of an hour or more, they were reasonably detailed.

But not everybody got the 7 days’ notice in writing that they are entitled to.

And at least one member was wrongly told that they couldn’t help their partner give evidence, even though he gets too breathless to speak.

Another member never received a phone call, but the assessor claimed to have called twice. After offering to make another appointment, Capita instead handed the file back to the DWP without any assessment having taken place.

It’s now up to our member to try to get through to the DWP and sort the mess out.

Another assessor said they had not read our member’s form and other evidence because they were not on the system. Capita later denied this was the case.

Perhaps most disturbing of all though was this account of an extraordinary breach of confidentiality:

“At the start of the call, the assessor said I would be on speaker phone so she could type at the same time. I wasn’t bothered about that, until she spoke to her husband about him putting the kettle on? Now I’m wondering, if their partner was listening to me, on the speaker phone?”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to believe that they weren’t.

We’ve updated the PIP claims guide in the members’ area with an additional 6 pages on PIP telephone assessments.

We hope it covers everything you need to know. But please drop us an email if there’s anything else you would like to see included.

We’ve covered:

  • Legal notice of a telephone assessment
  • When is a telephone call from a health professional not an assessment?
  • Having someone with you at a telephone assessment
  • Recording a telephone assessment
  • How to prepare for your assessment
  • What to do if the call doesn’t come through
  • What you will be asked at your telephone assessment
  • Evidence that can’t be collected at a telephone assessment
  • How long until you get a decision

If you have trouble getting onto the site, please try again later, it may run very slowly if a lot of people are downloading copies at the same time.

People taking part in benefits appeals are being warned that they must behave in their own home as if they were in a court room, as 85% of all court hearings move to video and audio.

Guidance issued the by Tribunals Service on joining a video or telephone hearing warns appellants that during a hearing you must:

  • only drink water
  • not eat
  • not smoke
  • make sure the view behind you is blank or neutral
  • ask permission if you need to move away from your screen or phone during the hearing
  • ask permission if you need to have someone with you who is not a legal representative.

Perhaps most importantly of all, appellants are also warned that – unlike covertly recording your PIP telephone assessment - “It’s a criminal offence to record or publish any court hearing without authorisation.”

So please don’t do it, because they really do take it seriously.

The information we’ve gained form forum posts and emails has been valuable.

But we want to find out a lot more about how PIP telephone assessments are being conducted.

So, if you have a PIP telephone assessment, please take part in our brief survey. It’s all multiple choice answers, and on average people are taking just under two minutes to complete it.

And it’s already producing some interesting early results.

For example, it seems to be confirming what some of our members had already said: that much more detailed evidence is gathered for the daily living component than is collected for the mobility component.

And, again in common with what members have posted on the forum, it is clear that some people are not getting any notice of an assessment, whilst others are getting notice over the phone rather than the 7 days’ notice in writing that the law requires.

But it’s early days yet, so please do take part in the survey if you have an assessment.

We were hoping to have a news item that didn’t touch on PIP telephone assessments, but this probably isn’t it.

One of our members wrote to the chair of the Work and Pensions Committee with concerns about PIP assessments and the work capability assessment.

He has now heard back from Stephen Timms, who told him that the committee had undertaken a very informative evidence session on PIP and ESA assessments in March.

Timms went on to say that he envisaged that, before the summer break, the committee will launch an enquiry on disability benefits assessments.

We’ll let you know if the enquiry does take place and we hope many Benefits and Work members will be willing to share their experiences with MPs.

We’re running our first, free webinar on changes to PIP because of coronavirus on Friday, 1 May.

The webinar will cover changes relating to PIP assessments, reviews, deadlines and appeals and anything else that comes up. There will be time for questions.

The invite button will be published on the main public PIP page early next week. We’ll publish a brief news article and tweet about it when we’re ready to invite people to join.

Places will be limited. But we’ll also make a recording of the webinar available to anyone who has asked to join but not been able to do so.

Until then,

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: 37589

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

PIP telephone assessments: members’ experiences

Have you had a PIP telephone assessment?

Commons committee to investigate PIP and ESA assessments

Remarkably similar figures for IAS and Capita unacceptable PIP reports

Treat your home as a court room, tribunal appellants warned

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.

Successful PIP claim
“I started my pip claim back in January, 1st ever claim, provided lots of paperwork and had a home assessment. Today I have woken up to £ 603.77 with ref pip and my ni number. Thank you for the amazing help on these forums, I really was expecting to have to fight… stay safe everyone.”

Huge clap for all the Mods
“Gordon and all the mods, past and present. I would just like to say thank you for clarity, and accurate logical advice, you give everyone. . I have been here for years zooming in and out, a lot flies by me. .But cant help feeling how wonderful it is we have such great people like you and the team batting for us.

PIP success – a great big thank you for helping me
“Thank you to all the team at B&W and all of the members who have made an impact on my result by sharing information on this site. I have been a member for quite some time now and I wouldn’t be where I am now without the guidance. I have had 3 long battles with the DWP it’s been tough but I have managed to come out on top each time and I believe that’s because I’m a member of Benefits & Work. The latest ‘Mad’venture started in August when my 5 year review for PIP dropped through the door. Filled in the form & a home assessment came though 6.1.20. After all our experience we were prepared ..We phoned the DWP a few days later and asked for a copy of [the assessor’s] report. Wow! What a shock she advised the Decision Maker in her opinion I was entitled to 2 points. Tribunal 5 years ago gave me 27 points and yet I told her and sent in evidence of my deteriorating health. Rather than wait for the DWP to make their own decision we wrote a 13 page letter of complaint to the Independent Assessment Service on 20th Jan and sent a copy to the DWP… Well great news! DWP have given me enhanced daily living and enhanced mobility until 2030 before even having to do a Mandatory Reconsideration...I think our complaint letter probably covered this. It has not been easy and I couldn’t have done it without you and also my partner’s help. Fortunately although I am ill I’m a very determined person and will fight for what’s right but it’s very difficult to do...so stressful especially if you are working, I’m sure many poorly people will give up the struggle because it’s just too draining & that is what I believe the DWP are hoping for. Don’t give up, use all the fantastic support and information on here, stick to the timescale or ask for an extension but if you missed something out on your form or at your assessment write to the DWP and tell them in great detail. When you phone them advise them immediately that you are recording the call, if you are asking for something like an extension or change of appointment keep a record of the date but also put it in writing and send by recorded delivery. Just don’t leave a stone unturned. I will carry on subscribing and thank you for being here & thank you for enhancing my life. Good luck everyone”

PIP success
“After a long process of my wife transferring from lifetime DLA to PIP which commenced last September . . . My wife could barely find the courage to open the envelope however we were so delighted to see she had been awarded the standard rate care (9pts) and 12 points for enhanced mobility...Also it seems she will not be reviewed again until December 2029... Without subscribing to this site for the last few years there is no way I could have completed all the sections of the PIP forms for her without the help and excellent advice I obtained from your guides... It is a very long road but if you follow the advice from this wonderful site and the forum staff you will have a much better chance of a successful outcome.. Thanks so much Gordon and your colleagues and at least we will have some respite from the DWP for a while at least!!!”

“thank you for your invaluable advice”
Like many others just like to thank you for your invaluable advice and guidance via the site.
I just received my PIP award, having been reassessed from DLA. It took 7 months! But I was awarded maximum benefit for both mobility and home care. Without the information I gleaned from your downloadable pdf files I would not have had this success. Thanks again.

“Thank you very much”
Thank you very much for your really detailed, helpful guide to completing the PIP form. I have now successfully transferred from DLA and received a higher award i.e. enhanced care and mobility. This was without a face-to-face assessment and therefore based on what I put on my form using your guidelines.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
What can I say? I have used your advice now for 3 years and I am in receipt of PIP for many reasons. What would I have done without you? I will continue to support you every year even if I don’t need to use the guides or informative emails. You provide such an enormous service and are a great comfort to many who would not know where to start. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“To all the team at Benefits and Work”
I just wanted to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation for the work put in by your team to help claimants such as myself through the PIP process. After an 8 month slog, with the DWP defiantly awarding me 0 points in respect of every single category of PIP, at both the first decision and then the mandatory reconsideration stages (not to mention justifying it all in the response to my appeal), I finally was awarded 8 points for daily living by the Tribunal. With the prior 8 months of daily living payments at the standard rate backdated, I’ve now been paid around £2000, which means so much to me – especially at a time of unemployment and reemployment presently so difficult due to coronavirus and the freezes on hiring.Your explanatory guides are absolutely invaluable - especially in encouraging claimants to focus on the impact of their conditions on their daily activities. Drawing attention to words such as “reliably”, “repeatedly”, “to an acceptable standard”, and so on, is spot on! Also, knowing how to scrutinise the integrity of an ill-informed Health Practitioner’s report, question the validity of their “expert” ability to carry out a mental state examination, and align that report to the DWP’s own decision-maker advice documents, makes it so much easier to challenge the blatant discrimination. It’s sad to see the DWP’s failures to recognise mental impairments continue, with a focus on words like “cognition” and “functional” clouding the judgment of those at the DWP should know better about conditions like anxiety disorders and depression.Thank you again for your work and I wish you all the best for the future. I have no doubt that so many more will benefit from just and informed decisions at the First Tier Tribunal as a direct result of your efforts."

“I’m very grateful”
“With your help I was one of the last people to be granted my appeal at Tribunal. I’m very grateful for your help.”

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: 37589

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

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666


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