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Last updated:
15/08/2019

PIP assessment tips

Most people claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will be asked to attend a PIP assessment with a healthcare professional. Prepare adequately with our free PIP assessment tips guide.

PIP assessment tips before your assessment

Before attending your PIP assessment, there are several things you should consider to help you prepare. We explain the following PIP tips:

  • Requesting adjustments to the PIP assessment
  • Changing the PIP assessment venue
  • Planning your journey to the PIP assessment
  • Requesting a home assessment for PIP
  • What to take to your PIP assessment?
  • Taking someone to your PIP assessment
  • Preparing for your PIP assessment
  • How to claim travel expenses for your PIP assessment

Requesting adjustments to the PIP assessment to suit your needs

When you receive your PIP assessment appointment letter, you can check with your assessment provider that your assessment centre has everything you require to make you feel more comfortable. For example, you can request:

  • The healthcare professional to be a specialist in mental health.
  • Ask for any adjustments that would make the assessment less stressful:
    • for example, you can request an open room if you struggle in confined spaces.
  • Ask for an interpreter or signer if you need one.
  • Ask for the assessor to be the same gender as you.
  • Ask if you can make an audio recording of the assessment.
  • To ask for an adjustment, phone your assessment provider in advance using the number on your appointment letter.

Changing the venue

If the location of your assessment is more than 90 minutes away by public transport and you have difficulty travelling long distances, you might be offered an alternative site.

Your assessment centre might ask you for a letter from your doctor or other evidence that you need an alternative location for your assessment.

Planning your journey

Before your PIP assessment, you should plan your journey to your assessment centre. This will ensure you are familiar with the journey, so you arrive in plenty of time and reduce the possibility of being stressed before your assessment.

Requesting a home PIP assessment

PIP assessments usually take place at a centre; however, if you can’t attend an assessment centre because you are housebound as a result of a mental health condition, you can request a home PIP assessment.

You will need to contact the assessment provider and request a home assessment. You may be asked to provide medical evidence as to why you can’t attend the assessment centre.

If they refuse, you can complain to the assessment centre, DWP, or ask your M.P. to intervene on your behalf. In some cases, you might be able to argue that they are discriminating against you.

What should you take to your PIP medical assessment?

You’ll need to take the following form of identification with you to the assessment:

  • One photographic ID:
    • Passport
    • National ID card
    • Driving license
  • One non-photographic ID:
    • Birth certificate, UK and Foreign
    • Marriage certificate, UK and Foreign
    • UK utility bill
    • UK citizenship certificate

In addition to identification, you should also take the following to your PIP assessment:

  • Any medication you’re taking
  • Any new evidence about how your condition affects your daily life, which you have not already sent to the DWP:
    • reports from healthcare professionals
    • mental health treatment plans
  • A copy of your PIP claim form with you. That way you can refer to it in the assessment and make sure you tell the assessor everything you want them to know about your condition
  • Notes on what you want to explain during your assessment.

Take someone with you to your PIP assessment

If you can, you should take someone else – if they are over 16 - with you to your PIP assessment.

They can help you feel more comfortable, add information to what you say or take notes.

Prepare for your PIP assessment

To prepare adequately for your PIP assessment, we advise that you do the following before the assessment:

  • Read your PIP form thoroughly
    • Make any notes of changes to your condition
    • Remind yourself of your answers
    • Make notes of anything you feel you want to say, which you haven’t put on your form
  • Read the PIP descriptors for each question
  • Understand what the PIP assessment is
  • Make a list of points you would like to make during your assessment – and take this with you.

How to claim travel expenses for your PIP medical assessment

You can request back the money you spend travelling to and from your PIP assessment. If you take someone with you to the assessment, they can also claim travel expenses if they travel with you.

If you plan to travel by taxi, you must get the assessment centre to agree to this before your assessment. If you plan to travel by car, you can claim back the cost of parking and a price per mile (e.g. 25p per mile) to help towards fuel.

Either before or after your assessment, you should ask the receptionist at the assessment centre for a travel expenses claim form and pre-paid self-addressed envelope. When returning the form, you must include all tickets and receipts.

PIP assessment tips during your assessment

There are several things to remember during your PIP assessment. We explain the following:

  • What does the assessor observe during the PIP assessment?
  • What you should say during the PIP assessment
  • Recording your PIP assessment

What will the assessor be observing at your PIP medical assessment

Firstly, you shouldn’t expect the PIP assessor to be favourable towards you. They are there to ask you questions and are not there to ensure you get PIP.

The assessor will investigate the information you gave on your PIP form but also make judgements based on what you say and do during your PIP assessment.

For example, they might ask you how you travelled to the assessment centre. If you say you came alone on the train, they’ll make a note that you can travel alone on public transport.

The assessor will also make a note of your mental state during the assessment - for example, they'll record whether you look depressed or happy, tense or relaxed and how you cope with social interaction.

What you should say at your PIP assessment

You will be required to talk about how your condition affects you despite detailing it in your PIP form. You should explain the following:

  • What you have difficulty with, or can’t do at all - for example, leaving the house, socialising, cooking.
  • How your condition affects you from day-to-day – make sure you read the pip descriptors so you can understand what each question means and if it applies you.
  • What a bad day is like for you - for example, ‘on a bad day, I’m so depressed I can’t concentrate on anything, and getting out of bed is a huge struggle.

These general PIP assessment tips will also help you:

  • Don’t let the assessor rush you.
  • Try not to just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the questions. Always explain how doing something would make you feel afterwards and the impact it can have on you if you had to do it repeatedly in a short period.

Recording your PIP assessment

We recommend that you record the audio for your face-to-face PIP assessment.

If you plan to do so, you should call the assessment centre in advance explaining that you wish to record the assessment – they will explain what guidelines you will need to follow.

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