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Thread: Just a waiting game - PIP!

  1. #1
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    Just a waiting game - PIP!

    I made a claim for PIP at the beginning of november, was asked if I had mental health problems, said yes, but still only got less than a month to fill out the PIP form. (the "how your disability affects you" form)

    Sent that off 2 weeks early(21st November, it was due on the 5th December) but still haven't heard anything.

    I guess i'll be waiting a while?

  2. #2
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    If my experience is anything to go by, you could easily have four months to wait, but so much is changing with PIP at present as they try to get the system working efficiently that my experience may not predict the waits you face.

    The contractual standard in the ATOS contract (I expect the Capita one is identical) is 97% of reports getting back to the DWP within 6 weeks. They're a long way from that. It was over 10 weeks before I was even offered an appointment, and only then because I was able to use the knowledge that my MP's office were ready to get involved to work with ATOS's complaints department ("you can deal with me this afternoon, or we can do this the harder way and you can deal with my MP's office next week").

    I posted the PIP2 How your disability affects you form in mid-August. Then, as I've posted in other threads:


    • medical on 4 November
    • report received by DWP from ATOS on 6 December
    • decision dated 13 December
    • decision received in the post on 19 December


    Once DWP get the report back, PIP seems to be decided fairly quickly. The bottleneck is in getting the report.

    The experience will differ from area to area. There are two providers (ATOS and Capita) and the resource limitations will be different in each area.


    I have had fairly cordial dealings with DWP about some of the teething issues with PIP. I detest it as a system and believe there was no need to replace DLA, but, as I said when working with DWP, this is what we have, so we have to make it work. The last time I spoke to DWP, they were pretty much asking me to make a formal complaint about the delays in the assessment process. I said that I would, but not until I had my decision so that I could look back on the process as a whole.

    I will be posting a Data Protection Act 1998 Subject Access Request to get my PIP file in the next few days, and will complain once I have that information.


    As you are probably aware, you will get any back money you are owed once the decision is made, but that cannot cancel out the mental and emotional suffering from waiting, the delays in gaining access to other help because you have no DLA or PIP, and any financial hardship you suffered from not having the money.

    It's a horrible and often very damaging wait, but I hope you can try to put it out of mind for a while and make the best of the festive period. I wish you well.

  3. #3
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    Your reply was very helpful to me.

    As far as I'm aware, Capita are carrying out the PIP assessments where I live.

    I just want the medical to be over and done with more than anything. That's the worst part for me.

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    Nottingham is, indeed, in the Capita area according to the PIP postcode map.

    Capita were intending to try to match claimants to suitable assessors and be reasonably liberal about offering home visits, but I have no idea whether these ideals have fallen by the wayside in the current situation. I believe ATOS continue to stick by their policy of randomly assigning assessors and try their best to avoid offering home visits.


    At least Capita were intending to try matching claimants and assessor. The physiotherapist I was randomly assigned to by ATOS was eminently suitable for my neuromuscular condition, but would have been a poor choice for you with your issues including mental health problems.

    I hope that you are seen by someone who is as compassionate as my assessor was whilst having the specialist knowledge necessary to assess you fairly and with proper insight and understanding. I cannot make any sort of educated guess about dates, but it is important to realise that it can take some time for the assessor to finish the report which then has to crawl its way through the assessment provider's quality assurance processes. Once the report reaches DWP, it seems to be dealt with fairly quickly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flymo View Post
    Nottingham is, indeed, in the Capita area according to the PIP postcode map.

    Capita were intending to try to match claimants to suitable assessors and be reasonably liberal about offering home visits, but I have no idea whether these ideals have fallen by the wayside in the current situation. I believe ATOS continue to stick by their policy of randomly assigning assessors and try their best to avoid offering home visits.


    At least Capita were intending to try matching claimants and assessor. The physiotherapist I was randomly assigned to by ATOS was eminently suitable for my neuromuscular condition, but would have been a poor choice for you with your issues including mental health problems.

    I hope that you are seen by someone who is as compassionate as my assessor was whilst having the specialist knowledge necessary to assess you fairly and with proper insight and understanding. I cannot make any sort of educated guess about dates, but it is important to realise that it can take some time for the assessor to finish the report which then has to crawl its way through the assessment provider's quality assurance processes. Once the report reaches DWP, it seems to be dealt with fairly quickly.
    I also have mobility problems, so a physiotherapist is kind of ok..the last physiotherapist I saw at ATOS was actually quite understanding (I was awarded ESA)

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    It must be hard to be an assessor with primarily physical health training, such as a physiotherapist, who finds themselves faced with complex evidence on a mental health condition.

    I guess this is a reminder of the need to try our best to explain how our problems affect us, but I know that is often very difficult, especially when it can be so painful to confront our difficulties. Most of the time, we are trying to look past our difficulties so that we can get on with living.


    I normally find it fairly easy to be open about my continence problems when such openness is needed. The PIP assessor I had was trying her best to maintain my dignity and not be excessively intrusive, but I did find the questioning about those issues difficult during the face to face assessment. It's the kind of area where you cope, however imperfect that coping might be, and the coping might involve a delicate balance between physical and emotional considerations.

    In the end, I told the assessor that it was a case of doing the best I can with my continence and toileting problems, trying to maintain my independence and autonomy whilst recognising that sometimes it all goes wrong. I really need help in these areas which I find difficult to accept from the people I live with (does anyone really want to take someone to the toilet with them each time?), so I explained that I struggle on mostly by myself. The assessor seemed very aware to the emotion I was showing in trying to explain such sensitive issues, but I believe that only reinforced the reality of my struggles. After all, if you can talk about what are very personal issues, such as continence or mental health problems, and not appear affected at all by what you are saying, that might indicate something is wrong with what you are saying. However, it is equally possible that you are someone that is at a very low point emotionally anyway, or that you have somehow managed to steel yourself.

    I've always found it helpful to have some phrases and sentences jotted down on my key points when I'm speaking publicly. The same could apply equally to a benefits assessment. If there are important points you might find difficult to explain, why not write down some phrases you could use and take those notes with you? It's easier to have something to refer to than to find yourself struggling for the right words when they are needed.


    If you have someone in your life that can be with you after the assessment to give you some reassurance and comfort, I'd recommend it. Those people who love you unconditionally are priceless. Nothing about my PIP assessment was unfair or unkind - it's just that the subject material is not always easy to discuss. It was priceless having people who reminded me they loved me after it was over, when I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

  7. #7
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    There will be somebody with me during my assessment - especially if it isn't a home visit. i have not left the house alone since 2002..even then I have panic attacks when I need to leave the house with somebody.

    I stutter terribly when I'm nervous or upset, and then get annoyed with myself and start crying. Did that at my last ESA assessment when I was asked why I do not leave the house alone.

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    I think that last paragraph of yours is a brave description of what is clearly a distressing problems, and I would say something just like those two sentences at the beginning of your PIP assessment. You describe what happens, and what happened at your last benefits assessment, giving the assessor some idea of where you might struggle most. If you can't say it, print it out and hand it to the assessor.

    Is there anything you can suggest to the assessor that might help you, such as areas where you would rather they review your written submission first before asking questions? If necessary, you can hand over a further written submission on the difficult points at the assessment, though such an additional submission will be largely ignored unless you are happy for it to be forwarded to the DWP after the assessment.


    The assessor has a duty to assess your claim fully, and it will not help you in gaining the maximum number of points if any areas cannot be explored. However, the assessor also has a duty to make reasonable adjustments when appropriate. If you need a 5 minute "time out", ask for one. If you need a non-verbal way of signalling that you are getting distressed, such as placing a brightly coloured piece of paper in front of the assessor, agree on what you will do (and have the appropriate prop ready!) at the start of the assessment as well as what should be done when the sign is given. Sometimes, it is the simplest adjustments that make a huge difference.


    As I said, I think you're a brave person to be so open about what must be a distressing set of issues, and I do wish you well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    It took me 10 minutes to talk to the assessor before. My mother had to explain that I can't talk to somebody that I do not know right away. So she went through the medication I had taken with me first while I geared up to it.

    I either stutter, or talk so fast that nobody can understand me - the last assessor had to ask me to talk a little slower if possible(that isn't unusual to me, even my family ask me) so I had a drink of water and tried again.

    Thank you for your encouraging words

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