PIP face-to-face assessment

This isn't a question its just to let anyone who might be interested know that I've just had a face-to-face assessment for PIP. It was carried out by Capita in my home. It lasted just under 2 hours and the lines of questioning were rather tricksy at times as one would expect. I have type 1 CMT with severe scoliosis (which they treated as a separate condition).

17 Replies

  • Hello shohn_desoto

    May I ask if you are in a wheelchair? Also in what way we're the questions tricky? Two hours is an awfully long time to put somebody who is unwell through all this!

  • Yep, it was an extremely longtime, especially since I'd hardly slept the previous night, and yet their allocated time of 45 mins seemed inadequate. So, on the whole it may've worked in my favor. No, I am not yet in a wheelchair. I am fending that one off. Well, on of the primary ways they were tricky was when it came to the mobilizing questions. Instead of asking if it could walk 20 metres, consistently and reliably (this is how it is described in the DWP descriptors) the assessor asked how many minutes I could I walk for before I had to pause or rest. Then they asked if I could walk the length of a double-decker bus. I argued that I cannot walk at all with out pain and fatigue, thus I can't walk 20 metres either reliably or consistently.

    They also asked a lot of unanswerable questions about 'good' and 'bad' days, which were about frequency, and were either or. So makes the assumption or traps you in to saying that you have 'good days' (I personally haven't had anything that could objectively be considered good day in fifteen years (it is of course skewed against the claimant). I insisted that I only have 'bad days' and 'very bad days'. Another such frequency question was "how many hours a week, on average, do you spend drawing with you daughter". At this point, well in to the second hour, my partner and I burst out laughing with incredulity.

    They also treated my scoliosis as a separate condition - which I found a little odd and cumbersome when asked to describe first how CMT affects me, and then affects of scoliosis. It meant repetition from the onset of the assessment. In general there was an awful lot of repetition - both in their questions (asked at different junctures in different ways) - and then, of course in my answers (repeated at different junctures in different ways) which accounts in part for the duration of the assessment.

    The pseudo-examination itself was silly.

    On the face of it the assessor was pleasant enough (in stark contrast to the Atos assessor I encountered the other year, whose malevolence was barely disguised). Of course, this impression is meaningless and isn't an indicator of anything. As Capita in many instances are merely Atos with a smiley face. Its hard to know how it went. I haven't got a clue...

    best wishes, S.

  • Hello to shohn_desoto......

    Question ? Did you ask your Capita interviewer, what medical qualification's that they possessed, before your interview commenced: Such as ? Doctor, Nurse, Physiotherapist, Social Services Assessor etc ?

    A 2 hour interview period is simply not acceptable, and you must bring this fact to, the attention of the DWP.Gov office that is responsible for your 'local' benefits :

    Best of health......

    John Coyle......

  • No she didn't tell me her qualifications...and I didn't ask. This may seem perverse, but this 'not asking' was calculated for better or worse. I start from that position that they're all inherently under qualified (as I'm yet to meet any type of medical professional who knows anything much about CMT) yet I didn't want begin the assessment from a point of resistance and conflict (my partner also has a disability and I accompanied her to her WCA assessment (for ESA) with Atos a couple of years back, where I wasn't so passive. Ultimately didn't help to know that the assessor was an ex-RN nurse. They all believe they are full trained Health Care Professionals...and the DWP believe that about them). One thing was for sure, she wasn't a Consultant Neurologist. And, by the way she didn't tell me her name either...

    Regarding the duration...I also have candida, dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder - so no matter how unacceptable it was she wouldn't have covered sufficient ground in the allotted time, and I wouldn't been sold short...

    best regards, S

  • Hello S,

    Thank you for your comprehensive answer.

    I have to say that I am disgusted with this Governments attitude towards people with disabilities especially those with disabilities that can never get better and only get worse. It sounds rather like an innocent person being interviewed in a Police Station being investigated for a major crime. I am sure that is how many claimants see it.

    I am doing research as I have been asked to sit in on an assessment to assist the patient. I deduce from what you say that rather than trying to discover how a disability affects the person they are more interested in minimising the effect of disability and consider the patient as exaggerating their situation when the truth of the matter is that most disabled people will tend to minimise the effect! At least that is my experience from working with disabled people for many years. There are of course few exceptions in that some people do in fact exaggerate but that attitude is often easily discernible during simple conversation by an experienced assessor, certainly two hours should not be necessary to determine whether or not the person is genuine.

    Clearly you should never have been subjected to such an exhaustive assessment with your diagnosis I really hope that you are successful in your claim.

    The person I am trying to help is wheelchair bound with CMT among other problems so I could not understand why they wish to assess them face to face despite having previously been excused the WCA face to face also the amount of factual evidence etc that was submitted with their paper work however having read your report I have a better understanding as to their thinking and having read the extensive DWP guidance for assessors it would seem they do not adhere to these recommendations or indeed follow any set rule. I was particularly interested in some of the comparisons on which they base their observations!

    Thank you again for your report and as I said I really hope that you are successful in your application.

    Kind regards


  • Thank you. I was also excused the WCA...one issue was that in the interim, my GP, who I rarely saw, left the practice. I made an appointment with the senior doctor of the practice when I received the PIP forms, but was fobbed off on the day with a trainee consultant spending time at the practice (bearing in mind that I only had three weeks in affect to make and keep doctors appointments and get information together). The supporting letter they provided was grossly inadequate (they've not yet responded to my complaint). They charged me £25 for for lines stating my diagnosis of CMT, with no elaboration. I'm in the process of finding a doctor who'll support me in the event that I have to take my PIP claim to tribunal. Hopefully it shan't come to that. Yes, it was rather like being interviewed by the police...I felt that I was let off with a caution, to fool me in to a false sense of security.

    Please continue to share your observations. I am still reading as much as I can about this...as much as I can with out driving myself crazy that it.

    kind regards, S.

  • I was diagnosed ( blood and also electrical impulse readings ) and have CMT type 1(a), Just want to ask if you have asked your GP to refer you to a Neurologist who could surely give you a comprehensive report which might help you in your application. Best of luck and don't give up !

  • Yes, I asked...and am still asking (I'm just about to have it out with my GP again (the conscious is that he is "nice but useless") I am also thinking about transferring to an 'out-of-area' surgery. Really, there should be countless reports from neurologists in my medical records...

    Thank you for the luck. I shall never give up...


  • My brother visited his gp after getting a form as he was concerned he had no evidence to include. The gp looked it up and said he could only see PMA in his notes. He asked to see a neurologist only to be told a neurologist would only refer to a physiotherapist so he will do that instead. It seems to me you only get on better if you have reams of medical evidence and regular prescriptions. Just because we dont see a doctor does not mean we dont struggle to do things.

  • Exactly, there is a bias there...and I use herbalists and homeopaths not pharmaceuticals. I'd go as far as to say I feel I will be discriminated against in this process for those choices...

    best, S.

  • Please do let us know your result. I had to cancel as the person had made themselves more ILL worrying over the damned thing...heard nothing of a new appointment being booked, the person won't let me ring to find out if a letter has gone astray as they are so afraid. This is just not fair but what choice do we have...none!

    Happy Christmas.


  • Sorry had to change that darn corrective text 😩😀

  • I'm very sorry to hear that...fear is a very reasonable response to this situation. I haven't heard anything yet and it is always in my mind, I'm waking-up stressed and depressed with the injustice and indignity of the situation and the anticipation of another year-long fight. I hope your friend can pluck-up the courage to contact them, as, obviously, it isn't going to go away...I am reminded of this:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    best wishes, S.

  • I've now received my PIP result; I'm been awarded the equivalent rates that I had been on for DLA - standard care, enhanced rate mobility...so, no loss of money - in fact I'll get slightly more...

    So, there is some justice in the system after all...

    best wishes, S.

  • Hooray !

  • Wow you cracked it that's so good to hear but no less than you deserve also great encouragement for all cmt'ers out there about to enter into the lions den! I will let you know how things progress for my friend if they ever make it through this ordeal.

    All the Best


  • Thank you...I think the main advice I'd offer to anyone in this process, if it gets to face-to-face assessment, is to read the descriptors, keep them in mind, and, when necessary, to answer the DWPs questions rather than those of the assessor (which will be phrased entirely differently).

    However, it helped that my particular assessor had brought her humanity and sense of humor along with her, and I had a sense that she was an honorable person despite the context.

    best wishes, S.

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