Help, I have an appointment for PIP assessment coming up!


I have my assessment appointment for PIP in just over a weeks time. I have been reading all the info on the site. Its been really helpful. Call me a synic but I have very little faith in gaining any award, dispite the considerable impact this condition is having on my life.

I would be grateful for any advice you can give me.

11 Replies

  • Hi Mel,

    I got lucky, had a lovely lady ( who used to work with MS patients, so had good neurological knowledge ) and scraped in on high rate daily living with 12 points. I have marked balance issues, memory and concentration, moderate muscle probs ( stiffness, pain, weakness ), tinnitus etc. to give an example. Have a go at the questions, if you haven't already done so. Being nervous on the day is natural and not necessarily a bad thing ,as it can amplify your issues ( especially cognitive - I forgot to take identification lol, but was let off after answering security questions ! )

    Best of luck, let us know how it goes,

    Angela x

  • Thank you so much. Xx

  • From personal experience:

    They judge you from the second you arrive - place magazines up high to observe how you travel over to them & test how mobile you are, whether you are able to sit and read/occupy yourself, and converse with people.

    They will check how you manage to get into the interview room, whether you can maintain eye contact, whether you get distressed or anxious being in a social setting.

    If you cannot traverse stairs and the lifts aren't working (another tactic) then they need to organise another room, do not struggle for the benefit of the assessment as it will be held against you, tell them to reschedule or find you a room.

    If you have issues being around people, then request to wait elsewhere than the main reception - They do organise this.

    Some questions are asked because your answers will imply things to them - ie, "Do you have any pets?" If the answer is yes, then you are seen as physically capable and mentally sound enough to care, clean and feed yourself if you are able to care, clean and feed a pet, particularly one that requires walking.

    They repeat questions at random times to try and catch you out on your answers already given, to see if you say anything different (it's ridiculous I know!)

    If you have a fluctuating condition, then you need to prove to/assure them it occurs over 50% of the time and when you are affected, that it fulfills really strict criteria.

    The points system for this is available online, but it is really harsh.

    Adaptions are seen as you being capable, not in need to the point that you require assistance (a change from the DLA criteria I feel) and car parks are usually situated at a distance from the assessment centre which proves you can travel independently over 20metres, and negates any struggles you might have.

    If mobility is an issue, then have a taxi drop you off at the door, or a friend do the same - I would take somebody in with you if there is somebody involved with your care and have them answer too.

    Ask that they have a professional understanding of your condition before you even commence and start by discussing your condition before you discuss how it affects you.

    Repeat yourself as much as possible to ensure they understand, do not assume saying something once answers their questions.

    Be prepared to repeat yourself a lot. Questions will be poised in different ways to see if you give the same answer.

    Don't rush. Think before you speak.

    Some assessors are there to help, many are there to get a bonus when they award zero points. Be prepared to feel thoroughly interrogated and demeaned by the latter.

    You can record your assessment by taking in two recording devices and providing a hard copy to the assessor at the end of the interview. These need to be on tape or cd, not on a phone.

    There is no such thing as small talk, and being cynical is probably the best way to look at it.

    Read your PIP application repeatedly before the interview as they refer to it a lot, and ensure you don't deviate from what is written. They will know.

    Unless you have more information to give, which they need to read and photocopy there and then.

    The questions are very specific and tell them everything they need to know.

    EG: Having been hospitalised for a month for being ill, is seen as major for you, but is irrelevant in many ways, it's all about the day to day. Particularly the day of your assessment.

    Do you cook. If so how?

    How do you dress?

    How do you eat?

    How do you wash?

    How do you use the bathroom?

    How do you get about?

    How do you pay your bills?

    Do you have any help?

    Do you drive?

    Do you manage your own medication?

    Do you use public transport?

    Do you watch tv?

    Do you use a mobile phone?

    If you say "No" to anything, then why? You need really detailed answers with examples. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    And know that there is further meaning behind every question and answer...

    Have all your meds written down, tell them if you have side effects.

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    I'm sorry hon, but they are there to save money for the government and not help those in need. Admittedly, people that have lied on DLA are no doubt caught out by these assessments, but they have made it Hellish for the rest of us that have genuine conditions.

    Be as detailed as possible.

    Repeat yourself where necessary.

    DO NOT get angry with them - they will wind you up on purpose to rile you, as it's then an excuse to end the interview, and prove that you are 'well enough' to argue/advocate yourself and proves that you are independently minded and strong.

    I was so worried about mine, I got really ill the weeks leading up to it, and was in the throes of hemiplegia.

    My Carer had to do the entire interview whilst they left me slumped in a wheelchair in the corner for 3 hours, and he said that he has never felt so interrogated in his life.

    But he also watched and listened to everyone walking in and out...the receptionist wasn't just a clerical receptionist, she was as much a part of the assessment as the guy who conducted the interview.

    They are employed to justify why you don't need financial support.

    Go with that in your mind, and be clear, but firm. Details, details, details.

    Explain yourself as if explaining to somebody that knows nothing and cares little. You really need to give every nitty gritty detail about about how/the times that you suffer and struggle.

    Hopefully you will get one of the genuine assessors, but it's better to be prepared.

    Good luck with it and God Bless xx

  • Thank you so much for your detailed message. Its so helpful. Xx

  • Just a quickie, my Carer just reminded me of another detail: the expense forms to claim back the cost of travel (a cab fare in our case) were placed really high up, much like the racks of magazines. Ask for the receptionist's help if you cannot reach.

    It's a legitimate way for them to observe you being physically capable, but also methodically planning & executing a task. If you suffer from brain fogs and such like which effect planning and self motivation, that one exercise will be used to negate anything you might then say in the interview, because it was a witnessed event.

    Good Luck with your interview - I hope it goes well for you x

  • Thank you so much for all the info. I think this whole thing is a disgusting treatment of vulnerable people who need fairness and respect.

    The DWP should be very ashamed.

    Best wishes

    Mel x

  • It really is.

    Well... Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

    Don't feel self conscious, tell them straight (in detail) exactly how life is for you at your worst.

    PIP is necessary for the extra costs we incur, and yet we get interrogated like criminals for asking for support.

    I really hope that you have a positive experience, I truly do (some assessors are trying to help people) but I think it's better to be prepared for the worst case scenario, as opposed to unpleasantly surprised x

  • Getting help is a good idea from local disability charity they have inside knowledge like you would not believe. Plus so good to have friendly knowledgeable support there.

    Also I recorded on my phone/tablet using smart voice recorder. Turnoff skip silence setting. Test it first. Very good although differs slightly from advice here from another contributor. I would strongly advise you to record it because if you have to take it further you would need that evidence. Proved very valuable to me.

    Finally preparation and evidence is everything here eg medical letters and testimonials from those who know your are great.

    Pray it goes well x :)

  • Thank you for the great advice.

  • Just wanted to say good luck x

  • Thank you

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