PIP assessor not medically trained

Recently been turned down for PIP after being eligible for DLA high rate mobility and middle rate care, I found out my assessor is a mental health nurse (qualified 3 years ago), but finished to be a pip assessor I would like to ask how a mental health nurse can make medical judgements, I work within mental health and they are not trained as medical they are only trained in mental health so how did my assessor who is a mental health nurse and I have checked she has never trained as a general nurse so how does she know if my limbs, joints etc are normal or not, if u don't need to be MEDICALLY trained then why not ask any member of public to do assessments maybe the local Gardner could do it. — feeling annoyed.

41 Replies

  • I totally agree with you.

    This dept needs to get its act together and get sorted ASAP.

    There is absolutely no consistency in how/ what they base their decisions on and a lot of people are being left in some pretty serious situations with having to cope with day to day living without any form of financial support.

    It's just not right.They can't play with people's lives like this.

    Hope you get the result you deserve from your assessment.



  • Sorry I disagree as the clue is in the title Your Assessor is a nurse who would have been trained to assess people holistically. To say that they were not medically trained is wrong. They are trained to do basic joint and movement assessments too. Please would everyone stop giving PIP assessors a hard time

  • Sorry Scottiedottie but a mental health nurse does not do the training of a medically trained nurse its so very different. crusee is right to be mad I would be mad to I used to be an OT and I don't think even my training is good enough to be an assessor and I used to deal with joints etc. To many untrained people are making lives a misery with literally with no training I rest my case

  • Thank you wickedone, I have worked in mental health for 17 yrs and I constantly have to explain to them how my condition affects me. This is what annoys me how is this woman allowed to do a medical exam and sign it when she has no medical qualification. I agree some of the older staff I work with are RGN's as years ago u had to have full nurse training but now u don't need to do the extra training for general nursing. My assessor only qualified 3 years ago so wouldn't imagine she's had much experience. X

  • I agree with Crusee. Have you appealed?. Has, how your health is affected changed since your first award?

    Just reading posts on here the inconsistency in assessments is blaringly obvious some people seem to be treated with respect and understanding and others with total disrespect and lack of understanding.

    That decision is going to make a big difference to your independence. I really do think you should appeal

    I also wonder if there is anything NRSA as so organisation can do to highlight the seemingly inconsistencies in the assessments for PIP.?

  • Thank u Smithfield, I've put for MR, GP has had to put me on sick for a month and consultant gave me a steroid injection as my conditions are bad, also been referred for counselling so I am now at my lowest health wise all because of this stress.

  • I know you must feel like crawling into a corner and covering your head with a duvet, but hopefully the steroid injection will give you a boost and you can start the process of appealing do you have anyone who can support you?

  • You are spot on about crawling into a corner. I've spoken to welfare rights and they can't help with MR but can defo help with tribunal which I think will be happening. My family and good friend are all rallying round, I think they are worried about my mental state. MP said he'll help. I think the being called a liar is the part I'm struggling with, I hate these conditions and for them to say I'm fit n healthy is hurtful. X

  • That is positive news, And also positive you have your MP involved and welfare rights. Very best wishes with your appeal and power to you for doing it when feeling so low.

    I totally agree being called a liar would make me very angry.

    Did you say in your post they commented you had make up on ( it may of been someone else). I guess the implication in those comments were you were able to do it. I wonder if they comment on men being clean shaven.

    Best wishes


  • I'm a mental health nurse. I would say that we do train in a broad basic aspect of medical conditions. You could say the same what you state about all nurses. A nurse who's worked in outpatients for years wouldn't know about specific conditions for which they are assessing for. But they do have some knowledge. A nurse tends to specialise during their career, but still have an overall knowledge.

  • Thanks calamityjane1971 to back up my point. I was a PIP Assessor for 2 years so v think I know what I'm talking about. The problem is that very often the auditors change the reports

  • So what's the point in having an assessor if the auditor will change it anyway When they haven't even seen the claimant?

    I am not disputing the competence of the assessor its the system I am questioning its just not consistent.

    However some stories on this forum would suggest there is a lot of room for improvement with the individuals concerned.



  • So nobody gets me wrong....

    I was assessed (and given 0 points in all categories) for whichever one replaced Incapacity Benefit. By a doctor apparently.

    I didn't appeal because I get the same amount anyway from my employer so I didn't need the stress of it all.

    The system is broken. I didn't personally like the assessor and the report generated was a work of fiction.

    However, a qualified mental nurse is still a nurse and trained medically enough to go through a series of questions and write down the answers, for sure.

    Don't blame the assessors, blame the system that created the process (read government). In my case ATOS were the company contracted to do the dirty work, read up on them.


  • Before this turns into a full debate and hope this doesn't come across wrong...as far as I'm aware PIP Assessors are all medically trained they are also given training when they become Assessors. Maybe Sharlynn is saying that we should be assessed by someone that comes from a Rheumatology background as obviously they know what to look for and how it affects us? You do hear of so many inconstiencies with PIP awards though....but that's why it's so important to fill in the application form correctly and getting your medical evidence together and ALWAYS apply for a reconsideration if you're unhappy with a turndown or the decision!! I have heard though that not all of them watch you coming in or leaving as they just don't have the time but if you are truly disabled you don't have to worry about that... Overacting can go against us as well...they are not stupid but having said of course Boone should ever underplay their condition...don't be a trouper. Good luck Shalynn with your appeal if you're going for it 😊

  • I would e mail your local mp and bring up this situation it surely can't be right , and you also need to get in an appeal with both your Dr and your rhumatologist writing letters for you, hope all goes well for you

  • Dear Sharlynn,

    Sorry to hear you area having a difficult time with your PIP Assessment. If you disagree with the decision I would recommend getting some advice from your local Citizens Advice as they have a lot of experience in dealing with appeals and the success rate of people that appeal with their support is substantially higher.

    Hope this helps!

    Best wishes,

    Nikki- NRAS

  • I'm sorry I can't speak about anyone else's assessor I can only go off mine, she deserves to be given a hard time she gave me one, she treated me so badly. I kept telling her I was in pain and uncomfortable to the point I was crying, I suffer with RA & Cervical Dystonia. She lied on her report said she observed me putting/picking my bag from floor I did not it was across me the whole time. Said my left wrist has normal range, I can't use it awaiting surgery and many other discrepancies. As a mental health nurse I know they are trained in observational skills, body language etc. She didn't notice I was in pain, agitated uncomfortable but she noticed I had make-up on which is strange as I don't wear make up. This report went to my decision maker and has partly damaged my claim which has hurt me immensely, I am now off sick for a month, I am now in financial hardship and been referred for counselling, can't afford petrol to get to work which is now my only income (yes I work part time with many adaptations) and cannot afford the long list of medication I need. yes I do blame the assessor, also Atos and the DWP in fact the whole process. 20 years with health professionals to help me have some sort of life it's taken 4 months for DWP to destroy.

  • Hi sharlynn

    Sorry I started typing a follow up earlier but life got in the way.

    What I was going to say was I re-read my post and didn't mean to sound like I was in any way disagreeing with you.

    I know exactly what you mean about the 'discrepancies' in the final report. Mine also contained some whoppers. It's almost as if they're incentivised to score as few points as possible....

    As far as I remember the process is something like; assessor goes through a predetermined set of criteria and scores against each one. This is entered into a computer (which says no 😄) and the software then generates a report that is then further assessed by a separate person. It is this person that makes the decision.

    The original assessor obviously enters extra text into the computer as some of the comments on mine were to do with the fact they had been watching (and timing) me in the waiting room and as I had been sitting there waiting for an hour this was then used against me in the final report. At the time I was about 1 year away from a Total Knee Replacemt so I'm not sure what they thought I'd be doing, the waltz maybe? I scored 0 on the mobility category 'no mobility issues'. Obviously the new knee wasn't needed. 🙄

    If the person that assessed you was rude then by all means slate them, all I was trying to say was it isn't because she's a mental nurse, it's because that's what they do.

    It stinks, it's wrong and it makes me so angry that they've targeted the most needy in society in the name of 'austerity'. And largely got away with it (this was happening before the last election yet we still voted the &&@&£#€s back in).

    But to place the blame you have to look where the orders come from IMO. Shoot the organ grinder not the monkeys. 🙈🙉🙊🐒

    Good luck with your appeal - I'd wage good money you'll get it accepted.

    Kindest regards


  • Thank u Ade, I'm just so angry at the moment, I find it all so unfair I struggle everyday but try to keep positive and being part of society, I feel like they are calling me a liar, the other day I couldn't get upstairs to bed and no-one here to help but these people don't see this. They don't seem to grasp that RA has good/bad days and I'm tired of trying to get this across to people I know but when professionals don't get it it infuriates me. I'll keep fighting best I can I have no choice. X

  • I recognise all that you say, as I'm sure does everyone else on here.

    And of course it all adds to the stress, which adds to the pain, which adds to the stress and on ad nauseum.

    The 'unfairness' of it all is something we all have to grapple with to varying degrees i suspect. The not knowing what to do at assessments, act like it's a bad day, act like it's a good day don't 'act' at all! Risk not getting benefits / treatments / whatever because we're having a good day, risk being thought of as a liar because we're saying how bad it can be when it doesn't look it aaaarrrrggghhhh. And breathe.

    All we can do is what feels right at the time and if folk choose to misinterpret our situations then stuff them. 😳

    Problem is when it affects us financially, we can't just ignore it, and it all adds to the stress. And means we 'have' to work harder to make up the shortfall. Which adds to the stress.

    It's a wonder any of us can get out of bed in the morning at all.

    All of which being very good reasons why people suggest meditation / mindfulness approaches. Learning to give your mind a total break from the ongoing onslaught of sh1t the world flings at it.

    I have to admit to not being a great user of either of these techniques, but I also have to admit to not having a particularly stressful life, aside from the inevitable interpersonal stress caused by marriage and children. 😬

    Music tends to be my escape these days - that, reading and going to the football. ⚽️ When I'm able. Although that can be pretty stressful as well at times.

    As easy as is to say, why worry about what 'they' think? They know nothing. One thing I have learned having RA and children is never to judge without knowing the full circumstances. And to ignore those that do, it is their problem if they choose to be judgemental. I'm not applying that to PIP assessors by the way.

    But as much as they are (or should be) professionals they are not employed to be doctors / nurses / carers or anything else we would want them to be. They are employed with the specific purpose of reducing the numbers of successful applicants for various benefits.

    Try not to take it personally, instead channel your anger / energy into appealing as soon as possible. As mentioned elsewhere get in touch with your local CAB. My mother and father-in-law are both CAB advisers (or were until recent cutbacks and internal politics - yep, austerity), and I know first hand how much of their work is assisting with appeals. They know what they are doing, they know how to fill the forms in to get a result, and what eveidence will help etc.

    Good luck.


  • Thank u for your reply, I try to stay very positive and enjoy life, I still manage to work even though I struggle but I enjoy my job, my work colleagues are my social time as I don't go out now as I get embarrassed with my cervical Dystonia but this process has broken me, if I could financially manage I would definitely not do this but I have no choice. X

  • Hi Sharlynn

    My PIP assessment was also a bit of a joke. I am not sure what is happening with the system. I know people a great deal worse off than me who have been refused. Some of the things that went into my report are completely untrue! The reporter also contradicted himself many times. The report looked like it was written by someone with no education at all.

  • My assessor was a psychiatric nurse she she specialised in multiple illness and had been doing pip assessment for 2years ,but what can you do you can only go with who is giving you the assessment ,I agree with you totally

  • Certainly wasn't a positive experience for you was it Sharlynn, I'm so sorry. I don't think we expect to be fully understood, they're not living in our bodies are they, but what I can't grasp is why the experience of those previously in receipt of DLA like yourself differs so much from being assessed for PIP? I understand how the two benefits are different, but with both the assessors were/are trained by the agencies working on behalf of the DWP (I take it that agencies did DLA?) so how can you go from high rate mobility & middle rate care to nothing? How did DLA assessors understanding of your disabilities differ from the ones who assessed for DLA? I can only think it's in the training, as I said maybe DLA assessments weren't conducted by agencies, not sure as PIP is my first benefit. Anyway, that's by the by. My experience of PIP was quite different on the whole & my assessor was also previously a mental health nurse.

    I think the difficulty as far as PIP is concerned is that though the assessors are medically qualified/ex health professional their previous working experience doesn't necessarily cover the extent of all disabilities or conditions of PIP applicants. It does seem hit & miss whether the assessor we're allocated understands our afflictions, particular limitations & what could help or what's necessary for us to be as independent as possible. That said, according to the job description, the assessors are trained to understand a wide range of impairments & conditions, also to recognise the impact of complex conditions. Where possible they match claimants with assessors who have the most appropriate expertise, though quite how close I'm unsure, from what I've read both here & on other forums it would seem not very in some instances.

    I hope you've applied for mandatory reconsideration. I made an appointment with CAB & they were very helpful with their advice.

  • Thanks Nomoreheels, I have put In for MR but not holding my breath, I'm so angry at the world at moment I hate this condition and my cervical dystonia they have taken so much away and now are going to leave me in financial hardship also. I struggle with pain etc everyday, I'm sure anyone with RA understands how we have to keep explaining to people but to be made to feel like ajar is the worst. X

  • I'm sorry but do not agree, It is clearly a judgement call based on the standard set out in the regulations of PIP and that she or he is trained to work within. Much like any job really. I'd say go to appeal and ask why he/she made that decision and put your case for a review forward. Hopefully the decision can be revisited and fingers crossed it will be.

  • I'm sure the regulations also instruct them to be truthful but she hasnt, there are so many untruths it disgusting. I will be fighting it and have also raised with MP. If it was a fair, honest and consistent process I would not be so angry. X

  • I feel so sad you've had a rotten experience and hope it gets sorted out very soon. Its a sad situation with a lot of benefits claims thee days, but it is a right not a charity so go for the review and channel your anger into getting something positive done which does not just help you but any others in a similar situation.

  • You obviously didn't read sharlynn's post very well.

    I had the same experience, the report contained lies. No two ways about it, they lied. There's no 'judgement call' involved in lying.

    Your advice about appealing is good, but if you can't understand why someone would be frustrated and upset by having things made up about them then maybe you should get a job at ATOS?

    These are real people, that can't physically do a full week's work without breaking at some point.

    Read up on the thousands of reports online from folk who have been through a bad experience. Check the petition sites for the number of petitions set up by friends and family of people with severe physical and mental issues that have scored 0 points. Look into the suicide rate among people refused various benefits because they. Just. Couldn't.

    Read up on ATOS while you're at it, there's plenty to read.

    And then comment on how valid the judgement calls made by the assessors are.

  • I really don't understand why your so nasty it was not upsetting and as you actually don't know me its a bit rich to express your views and actually I also have RA and worked in benefits for many years. I was making the point that you don't have to cut your leg off to know it hurts !!!I if we all had to have experience of a condition to understand it we be very short of doctors, no system is perfect because humans make mistakes. Thats why there is an appeal system.

  • I wasn't being nasty, I was responding to:

    "I'm sorry but do not agree, It is clearly a judgement call based on the standard set out in the regulations of PIP and that she or he is trained to work within. "

    Which you wrote after sharlynn had already pointed out there were basic facts that were wrong in the report. That's not a 'judgement call'.

    I apologise if it came across a bit OTT, I still get wound up by the memories of my own stitch up, I mean experience. I'm just so glad I could walk away and think I'll never see any of you again.

    And every time I hear or read about another person that gets the same treatment but can't just walk away, I feel for them.

    That is all.

  • I agree with you too. It would be fine if they just used trained assessors, even if they weren't nurses, but I think they seem to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that their assessors are medical people, when as you say, most have little if any experience in the area of disability or chronic medical conditions.

  • Hi I share your anger ,the fact that the assessor told lies says it all , how much are these company's being paid to carry out these contracts, millions so you've got a right to be angry , I've worked all my life but since 2014 I've needed help with everything in life through no falt of own and have just been pensioned off medically from work . I hope your going to appeal and speak to cab they will help you with it xxx

  • Hi, I sympathise, but would point out that the Assessor will have significant information from your consultants, specialists etc, as they will have been approached for up to date information. It is not as simple as the Assessor making the decision off their own back.

  • I checked with my 2 consultants and GP they never requested any info. This is why I'm so angry they have lied all the way through. The decision maker put because I passed my driving test I'm deemed fit n healthy my test was 25 yrs ago before illnesses. How do you beat this. X

  • Have you put any information on an ESA claim that may not have correlated with the information on the PIP claim? I know they get copies of that too!

  • Hi I can't claim ESA as I work part time, they've requested no information from anywhere they have gone off the 15 mins assessment. X

  • I'm not sure, I read it that it's an either/or option (approaching Consultants, Specialists etc for up to date info). Either they do ask for up to date info OR they invite you to a face-to-face. As I understand it it's when they receive the completed form & additional evidence enclosed within if they think it doesn't provide enough evidence to form a "fully justified report" (award PIP on evidence received without need for a face-to-face), though in the main they seem to choose the face-to-face. That is how I read it anyhow, though do let me know if I've got the wrong end off the stick blog.atoshealthcare.com/201...

    It's Atos' site I've linked to only because that's who I had my face to face with. You're right that the assessor doesn't make the decision though.

  • I fully accept that evidence is needed from consultants and other professionals to validate claims, however what I cannot accept is that more than one person has said that their report has contained inconsistencies and lies.

    Perhaps I am being naive.

  • I think the folk that defend the process either haven't been through it or by some massive feat of idk, luck, got accepted for whichever benefit they were being assessed.

    There's a mass of information out there regarding it:






    I could go on for hours, but you get the point.

    It's not just ATOS's fault, but they seem to be involved in a lot of the complaints.

  • I am in the USA. I think that if a certain Presidential Candidates wins that we will be headed straight to "a single payer system", code word here in the States for Government Run Healthcare. Can anyone give me a comment or an opinion on how Government Healthcare is working for you there? Thank You so much in advance. Alice

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