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Benefits and Work have had over 100 responses so far to our survey of PIP claimants who have had telephone assessments, with some shocking privacy and access issues emerging. It is still not too late to contribute to the survey if you have had a telephone assessment.

We’ll be publishing a detailed look at the results in the next newsletter, but here’s a few early ones

Notice
It is a legal requirement that you receive written notice of a telephone assessment. Yet this did not happen in around a third of cases, with 18% of respondents saying they only got a phone call and 14% saying they didn’t get any warning at all.

Notice should also be at least a week in advance. But only 60% of respondents said they received the legal one week’s notice, with 22% getting less and 14% getting none at all, while 5% couldn’t remember.

Length
Most assessors are punctual in making their calls, with only 13% of you saying your call did not take place on time.

Expect your assessment to be a long one. Almost 50% said their call lasted over an hour, with a further 40% saying it lasted between 30 minutes and an hour. One person commented that theirs took an extraordinary three hours.

Technical issues and recording
17% of respondents had technical problems in the course of the call. Low volume and patchy signal were the main issues, along with the odd battery dying.

Almost 20% of you have chosen to record your assessment. As expected, people who told the assessor they were recording their assessment were told to stop and people who asked permission were refused.

Assessors and privacy
The assessors were, in general, reasonably pleasant in their approach. 53% described their assessor as encouraging, whilst 43% said they were neutral. Just 4% found them to be unfriendly.

Worryingly, however, 13% of you said the assessor seemed to have problems with having a quiet, confidential place to work from. That figure should be 0%. One person told us, shockingly:

“I could hear other people laughing and making comments in the background. Then someone saying sshhh”

Access
And there were some people for whom a telephone interview was very clearly a breach of the Equality Act, but it went ahead anyway:

One claimant had to get her daughter to help her and explained:

“I am severely deaf. I found it really difficult I was anxious had a severe headache half way through call . . . Telephone assessments are not suitable for deaf claimant they need to be face to face to be able to lip read the person to be successful to get the help a deaf person needs to fulfil their life as being deaf is a everyday problem for us”

We’ll have a more detailed breakdown of the result in a fortnight. Meanwhile, if you’ve had a PIP telephone assessment please do complete the survey. It’s all multiple choice with the option to add comments and, on average, people are taking less than 5 minutes to complete it.

Members can also download our newly updated guide to PIP claims, which covers telephone assessments and how to prepare for them in detail.

 

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