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Thread: So I'm being sent for another PIP medical assessment

  1. #1
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    So I'm being sent for another PIP medical assessment

    Hi,

    So I'm being sent for another medical assessment after filling in a AR1.

    Problem is, is the appointment is about 50 miles / over an hour's travel away, and isn't suitable for me to travel there with my conditions. Not only that, but after requesting an afternoon appointment on the AR1 form, if I was to be sent for a medical, which is very usually the time when I'm at my best, they have again issued me with a morning appointment (I almost suspect they do it deliberately. Do people who request a morning appointment always get issued with afternoon one, perchance?).

    Anyway, both issues are just a repeat of what happened 2 years ago, but can't fully remember how things panned out, as I can't find the letter I sent at the time, but I did get them to change it to a home visit with the help of a doctor's letter. Sadly I've only got a few days to change it (they seem to be sending the letters out with shorter notice these days, I think), and I can't get an updated doctor's letter in time - the old one is over 2 years old, which judging by what it says in the AR1, makes it inadmissible as evidence.

    I seem to recall getting some advice 2 years ago, that I should be entitled to move it to a home visit because there is some rule that says it's unreasonable to ask a claimant to travel for more than 90 minutes? That there's something in the assessment company's contract that specifies this? I think the assessment was with ATOS that time, but I appear to be with "assessment services" this time (Maximus?), so I'm hoping the contract criteria hasn't changed.

    I think I am also allowed one cancellation of an appointment, anyway? But of course complicates things and what's tricky, is what I don't want is just to cancel and move the time of the appointment, but also change it to a home visit.

    What I don't want, and I think I'll risk, is them cancelling, but also sending out a new appointment as soon as they can, and before I can get another letter off my doctor supporting a home visit (because of the strains on the NHS, my doctor's hard to see without a long wait), which I suspect they might well try to do. That would mean me having to cancel two appointments before I can present them with the new doctor's letter, which I think would put me at risk of losing my PIP and having to appeal?

    Any advice as to what I should put in the letter would be gratefully appreciated. I was wondering with time being short, whether I should also call them? If so, any advice as to what I should say in the phone call would also be appreciated.

    Edit: Actually I think I'll need to call them, as they could end up only getting the letter on the day, and quite possibly after the assessment time. How short notice can I leave it before calling them to cancel, based on the reasons above I've specified? (I think I'll maybe send a letter as well, but I think I now need to call, as well)

    Sorry if this post's a bit muddled. I'm not having the best mental clarity, today.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The 90 minutes travel time (one way) is still in force.

    See this FoI reply from March this year:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque..._passthrough=1

    They don't have to provide a home visit just for this reason though, they can arrange alternatives.
    eg. They could agree to pay for a taxi, or provide a taxi, or change the appointment to somewhere nearer your home.

    If you got a doctors letter for a home visit last time then try to find it, or ask your doctor for another.
    (If it was done on the surgery computer they may just be able to change the date and re-use the last one).


    PS.
    "Independent Assessment Services" are Atos. They have just changed the name to try and hide that it's still them.

    Maximus sometimes us a similar name, but Maximus only do ESA assessments and not PIP.
    Last edited by nukecad; 12-12-2017 at 03:41 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I know "Assessment services" is what capita call themselves and they do PIP assessments.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    AH, The name game.

    Capita just call themselves "Capita" for PIP assessments.
    http://www.capita-pip.co.uk/en/assessment-process.html
    (There is a Capita sub-division called 'Capita Supplier Assessment Services', but it's for business assessment not PIP assessment http://www.capita.com/news/news/2017...ess-insurance/).

    Atos call themselves "Independent Assessment Services" for PIP assessments.
    See the logo top left of this webpage:
    https://www.mypipassessment.co.uk/what-we-do/
    Talk about reading the small print.

    Maximus call themselves "CHDA" and the "Health Assessment Advisory Service" for ESA assessments.
    See the logos top left and bottom left of this webpage:
    https://www.chdauk.co.uk/about-us

    Maybe it's telling that Capita don't try to hide behind a trading name, do more home visits than the others, and that most of the good reports we see about PIP home assessments are Capita assessments.
    Last edited by nukecad; 12-12-2017 at 08:12 PM.
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    Interesting. They've got the contract here and are not calling themselves capita - all their paperwork is headed "assessment services" it changed when they took over from maximus. I know one of the consultants contacted about me contacted them for proof that they were allowed medical information about my situation as "assessment services" meant nothing at all and all they were asked was if I could use a taxi for assessment.

    I had an assessment by capita and it was rediculous. They said I could work as losing consiousness several times a week was not a barrier to work as I simply needed a mobile to phone and let people know where I was unconsciousness because otherwise there was a risk I represented a tripping hazard to other employees - from their report.

    That said of course it varies by whoever is doing the assessment like with all things! It's interesting what you say about their name though, I wonder why they've done that here, maybe it's because of lack of welfare rights and majority of people get turned down and fail at tribunal as a result.
    Last edited by Bekki2017; 12-12-2017 at 08:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    The 90 minutes travel time (one way) is still in force.

    See this FoI reply from March this year:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque..._passthrough=1

    They don't have to provide a home visit just for this reason though, they can arrange alternatives.
    eg. They could agree to pay for a taxi, or provide a taxi, or change the appointment to somewhere nearer your home.

    If you got a doctors letter for a home visit last time then try to find it, or ask your doctor for another.
    (If it was done on the surgery computer they may just be able to change the date and re-use the last one).


    PS.
    "Independent Assessment Services" are Atos. They have just changed the name to try and hide that it's still them.

    Maximus sometimes us a similar name, but Maximus only do ESA assessments and not PIP.
    Thanks for the replies, people.

    Well, I supplied a copy of the letter with my AR1, they conveniently ignored it (as well my request for an afternoon app).

    They do state "we don't want anything over 2 years old" on the AR1 near the back somewhere. Whether that allows them to ignore it because it's a few months over 2 years old, or they just conveniently didn't see it, I'm not sure.

    Yes, I've had it confirmed it is actually ATOS. I've also just spotted in fairly tiny text in the letter a "Delivered by Atos" line. "Here's a BS motto we're trying our best to hide to say it's really us"

    The 90 minutes thing could be useful.

    Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by ethite; 12-12-2017 at 10:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekki2017 View Post
    I had an assessment by capita and it was rediculous. They said I could work as losing consiousness several times a week was not a barrier to work as I simply needed a mobile to phone and let people know where I was unconsciousness because otherwise there was a risk I represented a tripping hazard to other employees - from their report.
    Astounding...although I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    Is actually Atos in my case. Well, it says "Delivered by Atos" in tiny text. I guess that could possibly suggest Atos might have subcontracted it to someone else.

    Interesting that they all seem to be choosing confusing similar names. No accident, I'd say.

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    New appointment, how much flexibility/control do I have?

    Ok, I think this is an important detail, so many thanks for any reply. I think what I need to do while getting the new letter is set a new appointment date.

    BUT, I'm still slightly confused on the issue of changing my assessment appointment date, and how much control I have of the new date.

    If I phone the assessment company to cancel my current appointment, I believe I can make the new appointment up to 3 weeks in advance of the one I'm cancelling. But...If they say, "sorry, we have nothing in 3 weeks time, we only have an appointment in a week's time" Do I have to accept that appointment, or risk my PIP being stopped?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    They situation with cancelling appointments is fairly simple - but the people on the phones nearly always don't know it themselves. They only know what they have been told in their training, which is not quite right.

    First what the law says:
    • The law says that if you cancel any assessment appointment (PIP or ESA) then you have to show 'good reason' for doing so, or risk your claim being rejected.
    • The law also says that the assessment company has to give you at least 7 days notice of an appointment for an assessment - unless you agree to take shorter notice.

    What happens in practice:
    • The DWP have told the assessors to allow everyone to cancel once without having to give a reason, any further cancellation has to be reported to the DWP.
      This is more lenient that the law says it has to be. (The DWP have been sensible for once, this saves a lot of paperwork and stress).
    • After that once the law applies. - You can still cancel as many times as you need to; but each time you do they have to report it to the DWP and you then have to show the DWP 'good reason' for cancelling or not attending.
      Your benefit payments will usually be suspended while the DWP send you a form to decide if your reason was good enough or not.
      If your reason is good enough then the DWP restart payments and tell the assessment company to make another assessment appointment.
      If you reason is not good enough then the DWP will close your claim. (You can ask for MR and appeal if this happens).
      Of course if you do cancel mulitple times then the 'good reason' the DWP will accept gets stricter each time.
    • You have no say in the date or time set for your assessment.
      They must still give you 7 days notice - unless you agree to take shorter notice.
    Last edited by nukecad; 12-13-2017 at 10:21 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    They situation with cancelling appointments is fairly simple - but the people on the phones nearly always don't know it themselves. They only know what they have been told in their training, which is not quite right.

    First what the law says:
    • The law says that if you cancel any assessment appointment (PIP or ESA) then you have to show 'good reason' for doing so, or risk your claim being rejected.
    • The law also says that the assessment company has to give you at least 7 days notice of an appointment for an assessment - unless you agree to take shorter notice.

    What happens in practice:
    • The DWP have told the assessors to allow everyone to cancel once without having to give a reason, any further cancellation has to be reported to the DWP.
      This is more lenient that the law says it has to be. (The DWP have been sensible for once, this saves a lot of paperwork and stress).
    • After that once the law applies. - You can still cancel as many times as you need to; but each time you do they have to report it to the DWP and you then have to show the DWP 'good reason' for cancelling or not attending.
      Your benefit payments will usually be suspended while the DWP send you a form to decide if your reason was good enough or not.
      If your reason is good enough then the DWP restart payments and tell the assessment company to make another assessment appointment.
      If you reason is not good enough then the DWP will close your claim. (You can ask for MR and appeal if this happens).
      Of course if you do cancel mulitple times then the 'good reason' the DWP will accept gets stricter each time.
    • You have no say in the date or time set for your assessment.
      They must still give you 7 days notice - unless you agree to take shorter notice.

    I guess I can phone up and state the obvious, that I'm waiting to get an up to date doctor's letter. I can't see why they couldn't offer me an appointment in 3 weeks time. But if they're awkward and demand I see them in week's time, and if I haven't got the doctor's letter by then, I can cancel again.

    I think I have pretty solid evidence the journey time is over 90 minutes, so I think I might save that argument to until I might need the second cancellation.

    If I second cancelled and they stopped my PIP and I had to go through the MR -> appeal process, can I put in a new PIP application immediately, or would I have wait for that to be resolved, wait 6 months or whatever?

    Thanks.

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