British Lung Foundation
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PiP / DLA Assessments

PiP / DLA Assessments

Having talked to a few THIS talk of DWP Medical Assesments Interviews are a FARSE at best.

Thats if you even get to see a assessor's given cancelation on day THEN made to travel on follow up appointment to new centre.

Why all because assessor's off sick

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I have just sent my claim form for pip back,really dreading the assessment from the things I've heard 😞 xxx


I would not worry really but just don't give assessors a inch as the take mile.

But to be fair not all are bad i had very nice lady.

Just submit all medical evidence and take it on day of interview ALSO if do have to attend go with someone who acts as your carer and ware slipers as the check feet for stones in socks or tights


Stones in socks?? Please explain?? What?

Hi are you saying you gave just sent a new claim or it's a old one and they haveing trouble with it to pass it or didn't understand as got chest infection and mind is gone blank head and body not working kindly can you explain about DWP please thank you it's foxy79

Interesting reading, JAS. :(


Very interesting read and the picture is so true JAS !

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Hi cheers thats why had to share really.

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So true a picture - wonder if DWP know what we all think of them really?

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Have to be thick skinned to work for them.

Guess can understand but when really sick is out of order the dirty tricks.

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This makes me so angry, my sister who had been on attendance allowance middle rate for care and full rate for mobility for 13 yrs, had to move over to PIP and the person who done her assessment lied on several points so she lost her care component and only got lower rate mobility.

She has very severe COPD and heart failure and is very much house bound, she didn't have any fight in her to fight them and was to upset to tell any one till it was to late to appeal, so she now has depression to add to her list because these people have made her life so much worse, sorry for the rant but I did say they make me ANGRY xx


Good Afternoon astrel, my name is Patricia7. You said in your post that it had been too late to appeal re your sisters' award of P.I.P and the different components i.e care. I am only thinking, have you tried to get legal advice re the appeal deadline.. You should be able to speak to C.A.B. or a local university that offers legal advice re the students studying law, or legal aid. I know you did say it is too late but have you tried to make a case of your sister and the distress caused by this benefit and whole process itself. I have just been assessed myself, by Atos I dont know where you stand legally astrel but I would want your sister to be awarded the correct amount. Please could you let me know how long the deadline for appeal is please astrel. I dont want to give you false hope, I just wanted to help re your sisters' distress.Patricia7.

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Hi Patricia,

There is only four weeks four appeal, you have to let them know in writing or a phone call but always best in a written note.

As my sister did not tell anyone till well after that time that her pip had been reduced I did not think she could do anything about it. She is waiting to see the respitary team at the moment as we think she needs oxygen so that will change her circumstances and we will put a new claim in.

Thank you for your answer, take care, Gill x

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astrel, patricia7 here again. thank you for your reply. I personally still believe that there were mitigating circumstances as to why your sister was unable to appeal with your help because of all the stress involved and worry. I do understand that I have been in the same situation myself. Do get help, do ask whoever, as I have said. I dont want to go on , I have been through the assessment process nearly 2 weeks ago, it is very stressful. Do bear in mind what I said, it might help to speak to someone. I am glad for you both that you may be able to ask for the claim to reassessed, thank goodness. Best Wishes. Patricia7

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She should never have let it drop because that is what they want people to do.

She should reapply, get docter's letters, lung function reports and letter from whoever helps her to do things at home. Then go to Cab or some other organisation to fill her form in.

This government make me sick to my stomach. xx


Me to Casper, they really are the pits.

We will get all the help she needs when she teapots for it , but this time it is to late unfortunately I think she was just to upset last time and gave up.

Thanks for your advice x

Hi Jeff, I see from the links you left that there is very little change in DWP Medical Assessment interveiws, what a farse to reach a decision on a person with more than one illness in a mere 13 minutes or there abouts. Plus clerical errors. Had to smile at the reason for delays and cancellations, even assessors and doctors get sick. This is all wasting money from the DWP budget with little evidence of saving on their budget by refusing benefit. I was very pleased to note that my circumstances were far worse for benefit purpose than the person used as a case study. Although his illness was possibly more serious, obviously I am more disabled and was a little disturbed by how many no's I would have to put in. But Hey I am still independent and notice very little attention was given to mental stress.

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Typical! The assessor probably on full sick pay, and bonuses if don't put you on benefits!!! It's a government p* take of the true disabled in this Country!! System needs a shake up, genuinely sick people being told no you ain't got enough points for any help! Basically "Computer says No".

Funny, if it wasn't real lives it's messing with!!

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Courageous whistleblower, Scottish nurse and ex-Atos employee, Joyce Drummond, who recently made a heartfelt apology to Atos assessment victims, has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament Select Committee on Welfare Reform.

Joyce forwarded some of her notes to me, containing this information about Atos assessments. I have edited where needed, organised the notes and added some information to the text. I’ve included the contents from Joyce’s notes in full. Both Joyce and I share this information in the hope that people going through Atos assessments will find it helpful.

Joyce told me:

“I knew nothing about Atos when I joined, and left as soon as I realised that there was no way to fight from the inside. I stated at my interview for the job that I believed in social inclusion and social justice.

I went for 4 weeks training in England. The training did not prepare me for what I was expected to do in real life.

The forms that are completed prior to assessment, I have recently found out, are opened by Royal Mail Staff. They are then sent for “scrutiny” where nurses decide whether or not a face to face assessment is required. I was not involved in this and do not know what criteria are used.

It is made clear throughout training and working that we are not nurses- we are disability analysts. Also, we do not carry out “medical assessments” – we carry out “functional assessments”. We did not even need a diagnosis to carry out assessments. I had reservations around consent, as we were expected to assess patients – sorry, we didn’t have patients, we had ‘claimants’ – who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

We were also consistently told that we did not make benefit decisions. The final decision was made by a DWP decision maker with no medical qualification. If our assessment was overturned at appeal we never knew about it. There was no accountability for assessments overruled.”

Please note that assessment starts on the day of your appointment with the Health Care Professional (HCP) reading the form you completed when you applied for benefit. Remember that every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work”. That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government. This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that you are entitled to.

Things that are noted at this stage are:

Did you complete the form yourself

Is the handwriting legible

Are the contents coherent

These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, your cognitive state and concentration.

Further observations made:

Do the things you have written add up

Does your medication support your diagnosis

What tests you have had to confirm diagnosis. For example a diagnosis of sciatica is not accepted unless diagnosed by MRI scan

Do you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or consultants. If you do, it shows that you are able to organise getting this information

Joyce observes:

“This is also a hidden cost to the NHS. I believe that if ATOS request information there is a charge levied by GP’s. However claimants are expected to source medical evidence themselves. It uses valuable NHS time for medical staff to write supporting statements.

There were no hidden cameras, at least in Glasgow, to watch people arriving for assessment or sitting in waiting room. This may not be true in other areas.”

When the HCP has read your form they input some data into the computer system. The assessment properly begins when they call your name in the waiting room.

At this point the HCP assesses:

Did you hear your name being called

Did you rise from your chair unaided, did the chair have support arms or not

Were you accompanied – assessing your ability to go out alone

Were you reading a paper while waiting – assessing your concentration

Did you walk to the assessment room unaided, did you use any aids correctly. Did you navigate any obstacles safely – assessing sight

The HCP will shake your hand on introduction – assessing your handshake, noting if are you trembling, sweating – signs of anxiety. The HCP carefully scrutinises everything you do and say. The HCP will often ask on way to waiting room:

How long you’ve been waiting – assessing ability to sit, physically, and appraising your mental state

How did you get here today – assessing ability to drive or use public transport

Formal assessment begins by listing medical conditions/complaints. For each complaint you will be asked:

How long have you had it, have you seen a specialist

Have you had any tests, what treatments have you had

What’s your current treatment. Have you had any other specialist input e.g. physiotherapy, CPN

The HCP will use lack of specialist input/ hospital admissions to justify assessing your condition as less severe. Medications will be listed and it will be noted if they prescribed or bought. Dates will be checked on boxes to assess compliance with dosage and treatment regime. Any allergies or side-effects should be noted.

A brief note is made of how you feel each condition affects your life

A brief social history will be taken – who you live with, if have you stairs in your house or steps outside your house

Employment history taken – asking when you last worked, what you work entailed, reason for leaving employment

Your typical day – this is the part of the assessment where how you function on a day to day basis is used to justify the HCP decisions. Anything you say here is what is most likely to be used to justify you failing your assessment and being passed as “fit for work”. Along side this, the HCP records their observations.

Starting with your sleep pattern, questions are asked around your ability to function. This will include:

Lower limb problems – ability to mobilise to shops, around the house, drive, use public transport, dress, shower

Upper limb – ability to wash, dress, cook, shop, complete ESA form

Vision – did you manage to navigate safely to assessment room

Hearing – did you hear your name being called in waiting room

Speech – could the HCP understand you at assessment

Continence – do you describe incontinence NOT CONTROLLED by pads, medication. Do you mention its effects on your life when describing your typical day

Consciousness – Do you suffer seizures – with loss of continence, possible injury, witnessed, or uncontrolled diabetes

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