A government minister has committed themselves to ‘urgently investigating’ alleged assessment tricks used by PIP and WCA assessors after they were raised by MPs at a meeting of the work and pensions committee last week.  We’re asking if you have had a similar experience?

Chloe Smith, minister for disabled people gave the undertaking to investigate after Dr Ben Spencer gave three examples of “covert assessment” raised by claimants at public meetings he had attended.

The first involved missing water cups, Spencer explained:

“One was there was water available at the assessment centre, the water cooler did not have any cups, but one down the corridor did. It was deliberate that the water cooler was broken or cups were not available to see if a person was able to walk beyond the first water cooler to get some water.”

“Another one was that lifts were broken deliberately, seemingly to assess that people were able to use the stairs.”

The third suspected ruse was a pen drop:

 “One person described the assessor dropping a pen in front of them—I think it was a pen or something like that—to see if the person would pick it up as part of a covert assessment effectively of their mobility.”

Spencer asked the minister “Would you commit to urgently investigating this to confirm whether this is indeed an accurate reflection of practices that are going on at the assessments?”

Smith responded:  “Yes, and if I may add on the example of the lift, I am also keen that all of our facilities are properly accessible. It would be unacceptable to have a deliberately broken lift so, yes, we will look into those.”

Of course, all of these may be perfectly innocent.  It may be that the nearest water cooler ran out of cups first, that the lift really was broken and that the assessor genuinely dropped their pen.

The real proof that these were dirty tricks is if they were used in assessment reports where the claimant was supposedly caught out by them.

But anything connected with the DWP is treated with such suspicion by many claimants that innocent explanations are the least likely to be accepted.

Other issues raised by MPS included what was described as the widespread practice whereby  claimants with a “severe visual impairment have to read letters off a chart at their assessment? Do you think that is acceptable? Do you think it builds trust?”

Another complaint was the lack of specialist knowledge displayed by some assessors.  One complaint received by MPS was that:

“The assessment was completed by a nurse that had never heard of my condition. She said she Googled it 5 minutes before seeing me. You cannot understand a complex condition with a 5 min


Have you experienced something that you thought was a dirty trick or particularly bad practice at an assessment.  Let us know in the comments below.

You can watch the full committee hearing or read the transcript here.


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    A · 18 days ago
    I had a phone assessment. I have mental health issues and spondylitis. All my questions were based on mental health and they said they didn’t need to go over my physical health. I’m concerned that it wasn’t throughly covered. 

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    Mr jones · 1 months ago
    Yes I've been assessed and they have indeed set for second floor with no lifts,  they use cameras set up outside buildings, so your being assessed before you even get in the buildings,  my assessment was by a physiotherapist,  who had very little idea about how complex and challenging severe personality disorder is, indeed it's also a condition that most people have active discrimination about  even mental health professionals can be hostile,  the assessment was a direct trigger for self harm,  self harm is not always directly obvious and has multiple manifestations,  I worked as registered psychiatric nurse for 26yrs and have experienced this crippling condition as nurse ,and a patient,  a physiotherapist is in no way whatsoever qualified to do a assessment,  each assessment should be done by someone who has knowledge and experience about the presenting condition and hopefully the assessment would not be degrading and dehumanising,  I have scar's physically and mentally  a direct result of the assessment,  whoever said getting approved for pip was easy, has never been to a assessment, nor has the fact that people would rather die than face again,  dwp has blood on their hand's, and current government policy will kill hundreds if not thousands off the most vulnerable and yet no one holds them accountable for policy that keeps the rich,  richer and the poor treated with disdain and contempt 
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    Confused · 2 months ago
    I got asked if I was right or left handed ? No idea why . 
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    misty · 2 months ago
    I've just had assessment over phone the questions where very difficult to answer they were coming quite fast and the assessment woman was laughing 
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    Alastair · 3 months ago
    My daughter had a phone assesment yesterday by someone who hadnt a clue, he was reading from a crib sheet, he asked her can you walk 10m, She replied " are you asking me can i walk 10m without pain " he didnt know what to say and changed the subject, the whole interview was like that, be interesting to see the outcome
    They are trying to save money by using untrained personel/doctors
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    Amanda · 4 months ago
    My son who has several physiological reports from education physcologists and cahms had all of this evidence discounted. These reports highlighted severe dyslexia low working memory low processing low auditory memory all in the very low percentiles. Cognitive deficits.The dwp assessor said he had no cognitive, no memory, no mental health issues or diagnosis . Totally discounting what all the professionals evaluated in him. He has a chromosome abnormality which causes dyslexia dyspraxia adhd and autism. Seriously how does this work. How can these atos  capita etc assessors who are nothing more than low level medical workers override the views of serious medical professionals like consultants and physchiatrists etc who have studied in there fields in great depth. Beggars belief that they are still getting away with it.
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    Angela · 9 months ago
    I lost my job 6 weeks ago work there part time as a cleaner for 6 years I’ve suffered bad aches in both of my legs menopause under stress uc sent me a letter to fill in for pip I’m not good at filling forms and understanding them so citizen advice made me a appointment to get help filling in as they needed the letter back on the 14 August I phoned them to see if they would wait just a few days for my forms and they said yes not a problem a few days after I received a letter saying they need it back by the date on my form phoned them again and told me they need now urgently he sound a bit nasty down the phone won’t mind it took them to phone me 3weeks I’ve done my phone assement now I lost got to work i broke down felt sick don’t know who  to turn to I have hospital appointment coming up so left a note in my journal for uc and ask them for an appeal 
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      mike · 3 months ago
      @Angela holy shoot --been in that business 30 years - got sciatica in spine and arthtitis in both hips.. they don't care - if you can get there by bus it's over..
      it's like the russian stazi.
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    Aloua · 9 months ago
    To everyone tricked, or pure lies being told about them, or Atos/Capita HCP's not listening and coming to their own conclusions rather than the facts - FIGHT IT. Don't give up. My adult child is autistic. The assessment was in our home, it was a transfer from DLA which was awarded in childhood, to PIP at 16 years of age. The HCP invented things that simply weren't said or done. We had a Mandatory Reconsideration, which we lost. So we appealed. We won our appeal and my child was awared enhanced rate for both components, with an ongoing award. My child also received just over £13,000 (yes, thirteen THOUSAND pounds) in owed backpayments. Please, NEVER give up. Don't let them beat you down. Only YOU know how your conditions/illnesses affect you. 
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    Aaron · 10 months ago
    I recently was assessed and the HP clearly admitted she had not and was not interested in reading my initial PIP questionnaire. She made “informal judgements” on my ability to communicate. However didn’t ask me any open questions at all, only closed to which I then received a decision letter saying I could clearly communicate my problems. Had she had read the questionnaire the first page states my support worker helped me with my forms as I’m unable to take written questions into perspective due to anxiety and irlen syndrome. This was just shocking 
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    Ian · 10 months ago
    I have just had to have a new assessment for PIP completed as the first one was covertly recorded and it caught out the Atos nurse committing serious fraud in her report on me which cost me over 300 pounds a month to date, I am still fighting this, Atos offered me 50 pounds compensation for the nurses act to which I flat out refused and am now seeking legal advice with a plan to sue Atos for this
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    Kam · 11 months ago
    Just had letter that my mum scored 0 points. She walks 7 hours a day at work??? Shes 66 with a walking stick. Blue badge, disabled bay, grab rails in shower and toilet and can’t collect her own medication or go anywhere in community without me driving her. She can barely walk to the car. 0 points and made her sound like a world class athlete. Im furious. 
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    fitzk · 11 months ago
     I have just had my telephone assessment,  the assessor laughed at not being able to say degenerative disc disease.  Twice.   Also when asked - can I plan and follow a journey.   I said i can’t leave the house without someone so i don’t plan journeys.   The assessor said - this i cognitive not mobility.   Can you plan a journey.   I said yes, but it’s not applicable as I don’t leave the house with someone.   Trying to make it about cognition when it’s about being able to make a journey.   
    How long could I walk for.   Well i can’t without stopping a lot. But that was twisted.   
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    Sal · 1 years ago
    Hello, had a phone assesment followed by mandatory reconsideration(so far) both adamant that constant pain when walking only scores 8 and both insistent I use aids(I cannot as I have problems with grip and pain in both hands plus a frozen shoulder on one side plus an unhealed broken arm(of over 2 years)on the other(from one of my frequent bad falls) so arms are bit limited and painful to use) none of this seems to meet beyond  lowest rate according to them. Wonder how they would cope themselves though. So many lies too, such a horrible thing to endure over and over, I get so depressed I wonder why I am still here. The pain is enough to deal with without DWP bullies on top
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    Cate · 1 years ago
    I had a face to face assessment in 2018 and the assessor asked if I could lift my leg. I said only with my hands as it's semi paralysed (as I sat there in my wheelchair). My report came back to say I could lift my leg, full stop. Bunch of persistent liers.
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    Tracy · 1 years ago
    My mother has neuropathy in her feet damaged by chemo therapy, I tried to explain to capita assessor that a 5 minute walk can turn into 20 minutes to get there , as per stopping and starting a lot. they said she could walk for 20 minutes. Mum complained to dwp only to be fobbed off to write to capita! that got her no where except a hearsay match!
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    Neil cowie · 1 years ago
    I have chronic anxiety and my assessor thought I was able to communicate on the phone how can they tell your condition over the telephone my condition makes me unable to go out of my house without out it causing anxiety as in crowed places I am very anxious and even if I was in a car I would be very anxious and I only got awarded the standard rate of mobility and didn’t even get daily living and I am so fed up as they treat us like criminals when we are unable to work and other people who have nothing wrong with them get it and work as well I am really annoyed and feel I’ve been awarded wrongly
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    Pete · 1 years ago
    I had heart attack last year I am waiting for triple bypass, it as left me with numerous issues short of breath aching limbs I need a stick just to get up my life changed over night also I had other issues mentally . Was advised by my doctor and hospital nurses to apply for pip was assessed over phone. Absolutely twisted everything I said was turned down saying I could continue my everyday life as normal and could see no reason why I could not drive, so I mandortory appealed some one wrote on my behalf pointing out there mistakes, I then received an unscheduled phone call where I had to answer questions all over again then was told my daughter could look after me I was awarded £25 a week I then rang to complain and was told know one should have rung me and there not sure what as happend ask them to check there recording’s and was told they didn’t have any , even though they put down I said I could do most things my self and I could put my self on bus if needed, the best laugh is my heart doctor only on strick conditions one be I didn’t stray from home I had someone to watch me they released me from hospital they said I could take a bath and go to work, thank god these people don’t work in a hospital we would all be dead and they are not even qualified to assess let alone diagnose, if I lied like they have I would have been dragged in front of a judge , basically if you lie you get pip if you genuinely are entitled to it and tell truth you don’t get it, welcome to new corrupt government and country once known as England 
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    L · 1 years ago
    I had a pip assessment over the phone( depression and anxiety) he asked me what I do all , I explained I am sleeping nearly all day. He’s said do you watch telly all day ? I said no , sometimes go on my flight sim, but I don’t enjoy it I just fly around aimlessly . When the report came back he’d put that I play video games all day ! I am 52 years old, worked all my life , struggled with my mental health all my life and all this pip assessment did was made me feel like a total idiot.
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      Lisa · 6 months ago
      @L I wonder if you was awarded anything?  as I have anxiety depression and complex ptsd . I am waiting for a desicion but it is causing my anxiety to peak. I feel sick everyday , constantly thinking about it. Did I say the right things? What will I do if I'm rejected? I'm worried about my MH because I've been in a deep depression for almost 2yrs and not sure I can take anymore negatively. 

      Thank you in advance. 

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    Barry morgan · 1 years ago
    An assessor carried out an assesment for my daughter over the phone he claimed he was a doctor but later after thinking about the call we have serious doubts he asked her very personal questions and did not let her explain any of her answers he wanted a specific answer and would not listen to any further explication 
    When the report came back he awarded 9 point and found her fit to work 
    She has contested the decision and requested a copy of the report which arrived today we are all shocked at the manipulation of her answers and the lies the assessor has printed he also omitted certain things that affect my daughters ability to carry out simple day to day tasks and belittled help she needs from her family implying that her family are interfering 
    This should be stopped the assesors should face criminal charges it is putting people under unfair and cruel stress that is not necessary and is alienating them from their own doctor by saying that they will not accept any further notes from her own doctor 
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    Bobby Binns · 1 years ago
    I suffer from alcholism and a lot of other health problems phisical and mental probable caused by working from a young age delivering craits af milk at 11 and delivering bags of coal at 13 then working in a butchers at 15 all involing heavy lifting, which is the story all my life. I found that the nurse interviewing me and sending Q & A back to me were completely the wrong answers I gave' also the nurse didnt know the first thing about alcholism
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