Knowing your rights before your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment can make it less stressful.
Preparing for your assessment
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will send you a letter with the date of your PIP assessment. Your letter must give you 7 days notice and tell you where and when your assessment will take place. You should not have to travel more than 90 minutes. The letter will have the telephone number of the assessment centre should you need to call. If the DWP does not meet any of these conditions, you can ask for a new assessment date or location.
If your condition makes travelling difficult on the day, do not force yourself to go. But you must notify the centre.
It’s unlikely you will get a home visit, unless:
your mobility issues mean it is very difficult to leave the house
the assessment centre is more than 90 minutes from where you live
you have a recurring and unpredictable medical condition
If any of these apply, contact your assessment centre immediately. They will ask for evidence to support your claim. While travel is not part of the assessment, your assessor will note that you’ve attended. They’ll ask how you got there and whether you experienced any difficulties. Even if you did not have difficulties, tell them about the times you have. The DWP cannot refuse PIP if you cannot reasonably get to your assessment but it may delay your first payment.
PIP assessment tips
If you can’t make your appointment or you are going to be late you must call the assessment centre.
Your PIP cannot be refused if you have a good reason for not attending an assessment.
A birthday or holiday is not a good reason for missing an assessment or asking for a different date.
Your assessor will consider a fluctuating medical condition as a good reason for postponing an assessment.
If you postpone your assessment multiple times your assessor will discuss this with you.
As the DWP has not identified your condition, you should contact the assessment centre about reasonable adjustments as soon as you get your assessment date. These can include:
an interpreter or signer
adapting large open or small crowded spaces
asking for a male or female assessor
facilities for an assistance dog
requesting a specific time of day for your appointment
Your PIP application cannot be refused because you need reasonable adjustments to the assessment centre. Make sure you give plenty of notice of what you need otherwise you’ll waste your own time and money travelling to an appointment that will have to be rearranged.
Who to take to your PIP assessment
You can take anyone you want, even if it’s just for support. You can also have someone with you if the assessor has to visit your home. You can ask:
your partner, a friend or family member
a carer or health professional
an advocate, trade union representative or social worker
Assessments can be stressful. Taking someone with you can help. They can remind you about how you cope on bad days, things you can and cannot do for yourself. They can also make notes. You should tell the assessment centre if you plan to take someone with you.
If you want to make an audio recording, you must:
give the assessor 3 days notice
sign a consent form when you arrive at the assessment centre
bring your own device and give a copy of your recording on a CD or cassette to your assessor straight after the meeting
Warning Phone recordings
You cannot record the meeting with your phone. If your assessor sees you doing this, they can stop the assessment.
Refunding travel costs
The DWP will pay you and your companion’s travel expenses from your home, including:
the cost of public transport to and from your assessment
fuel costs of 25p per mile and car parking
The DWP will not pay for a taxi unless agreed in advance.
Remember to ask for an expenses claim form when you arrive at the centre.
Attending the assessment is part of the PIP application process. If you don’t go or have a good reason for not going you won’t receive any money until you’ve been assessed as eligible.