Homelessness charity Groundswell have contacted us to warn that the DWP appear to be introducing a four hour slot system for telephone assessments, instead of giving a fixed-time appointment for a call.
Staff from the charity came across the practice in connection with a work capability assessment (WCA) for a universal credit applicant.
The 4 hour window raises huge problems for organisations who wish to provide a support worker to assist with giving evidence at the assessment, because few charities can afford to have a staff member sitting at a claimant’s home for up to four hours waiting for a call
In addition, the protracted wait is likely to cause enormous distress to some claimants, especially those who experience anxiety.
The DWP’s explanation for the four hour window is that sometimes assessments overrun, so it is difficult to give a precise time when an assessor will be available.
The only concession that appears to be being made is that claimants can ask for a 9am or 1pm appointment in order to be first on the list for the morning or the afternoon. But clearly these slots will be in short supply.
We don’t yet know if this practice is now widespread and whether it also applies to WCAs for ESA and for PIP assessments.
If you have had a similar experience we’d be grateful to hear from you either with a comment below the line or by using our feedback form.