PIP Assessment; Traffic could cost your award

Steve, a fellow campaigner was asked to support a PIP claimant who had been instructed by the DWP to attend an assessment in Walsall despite living in Birmingham; Steve raised this with his MP, the subsequent correspondence regarding is below:

Subject: Capita Assessment Centres
 Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2015 08:23:02 +0100
 To: richard.burden.mp@parliament.uk

Mr Burden,

 I have been made aware that people are being asked to travel from Birmingham all the way to Walsall for their PIP medical assessment.
As you can fully appreciate some of these people have severe mobility issues as well as mental health issues and the distance they are being asked to travel will have a profound affect on the health.
 Could you please ask the minister for the disabled Rt Hon Justin Tomlinson to look into this further.

A rather interesting response was received

As part of the specification for the PIP assessment service, Assessment Providers must provide sufficient suitable accommodation for face-to-face consultations. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set clear requirements in terms of geography, travel, security and the claimant experience in relation to the sites used for PIP consultations.

The DWP requirement is that claimants do not have to travel for more than 90 minutes by public transport (single journey) to a consultation. However, this limit is an absolute maximum and for the majority of claimants their journey will be less than this.

The appointment letter includes a map and directions to the Assessment Centre. Where the claimant has a medical condition that makes travel difficult the claimant should discuss this with the Assessment Provider.

The DWP have specified circumstances where a home consultation will be offered, in particular where the claimant is unable to travel to a consultation as a result of their health conditions or impairments. More specifically home consultations could be offered when the claimant provides confirmation from their health professional that indicates they are unable to travel on health grounds.

When a claimant travels to a face-to-face consultation they are able to claim travel expenses for themselves and a companion, carer or young children who would otherwise be left unattended.

Payments can be made for public transport fares, travel by private motor vehicle and other costs relating to the journey to and from the consultation such as parking. There are circumstances in which taxi fares can be reimbursed. This should be discussed with the Assessment Provider before attending the consultation. Payments relating to other costs of the journey such as parking, tolls or congestion charges can also be met. Travel expenses will be reimbursed within 14 days of the claim but cannot be paid in advance or at the Assessment Centre.

Should a claimant have any difficulties attending a consultation they should discuss it with the Assessment Provider as soon as possible. If a claimant contacts the Assessment Provider in advance to advise they are unable to attend their consultation, they will be offered a second appointment. This may enable them to arrange for a companion to assist with their travel arrangements.

Justin Tomlinson MP

Minister for Disabled People

This raises an issue I’d not considered before, the DWP state “claimants do not have to travel for more than 90 minutes by public transport”  and as Steve says, and having lived in the area for over 8 years I concur, the problem with getting to Walsall from Birmingham is not the distance, which at around 13 mile should be within the DWP criteria. However the fact that  “getting to Walsall for an early morning appointment is “at a best a nightmare” even when the M6 is  “at its quietest”; thus as Steve points out “potentially you could lose your award because of traffic problem”.

Steve raised the case thinking of using a private car but by public transport it is an even worse problem – consider you need a use a bus to get to train station (or as close as possible) then the train journey itself and finally the bus (if there is one) to the assessment centre. This could easily take more than 90 minutes, therefore your PIP award could rely on traffic?

Just to add final insult to injury you arrive at Walsall Assessment Centre to find it is  inaccessible for disabled people!

 

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20 thoughts on “PIP Assessment; Traffic could cost your award

  1. The whole system is completely unworkable. I know of someone who gets his new car every year, has a hot tub paid for by DWP to help his bad back. And you can see him most days up a ladder or lifting stuff on cash in hand jobs. These are the ones that need weeding out!! He has been reported on numerous occasions but still gets away with it. Iain Duncan Smith is only making a bad system worse. Get more fraud officers on the case and leave the people who need it well alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If that is the case,report the fact to the media asking this question how does this man who has been reported for fraud still gets away with it,and invite the media to come and see for themselves the man doing such things

      Like

    • New car every three years and claimants don’t have a choice on that. The Motability scheme is set up that way by the government so they can sell the cars 2nd hand to get a good chunk of the value back. No one ‘gets a hot tub from the DWP’, we get to choose what we spend our money on, I’d do the same if we had the space and a permanent tenancy.

      As for what he does and doesn’t do with a ladder or otherwise, do you know his exact diagnosis and prognosis? One of my close friends has nearly all the same conditions as me, is also a wheelchair user out of the house and works 4 days a week for the Scottish Government. I can rarely get out of bed. Sometimes over the years, even week to week it has been the opposite way around.

      Unless you’re his doctor you have no idea what is happening to him nor to anyone around you who has a disability or chronic illness. I just went out to a gig that all my friends were playing in another city. I haven’t been out of bed since the 5 Jan. I’m now so exhauated I’ll be really sick and ill for 3 days minimum. But if you’d seen me in the bar after the gig 2 hours ago you wouldn’t have known unless you noticed my crutches underneath all the coats around the floor.

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    • There is only point seven per cent fraud its a thing the torys use to beat us with .7 percent ops yes there are going to be some who swing the lead but then how many mps claim for things on their alowances never ever point to others otherwise you going to be has bad has the torys jeff3

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The exposure of the con that is the ESA and PIP continues. The imaginary assessment centres would be funny if it wasn’t costing lives. Plus the sending out of an appointment that is inappropriate or unachievable still counts as one of the two “opportunities” for assessment. This sans the next offer is essentially mandatory however inappropriate, plus s of any teal life

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  3. Opps, I will finish…..if anything goes wrong with the second assessment, it guarantees benefits are lost. The rules are designed to push people off benefits, and it will oy affect those most in need. It is a terrible breach of our human rights, but many will see it as quibbling over bus routes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: PIP Assessment; Traffic could cost your award |...

  5. I note with interest the comment about reimbursing travel costs for the carer. What they don’t pay for is the cost of paying the carer. I imagine they think this is covered elsewhere, but it is not. For instance my care DLA and a large portion of my disability premiums from my ESA go straight to social services to pay for my care.

    For those who think social services will pay for the extra hours, think again. They already don’t pay for my hospital visits. Unless I can find a volunteer I currently pay for a carer to go with me out of the remainder of my ESA.

    It would be hard for me to find someone to go with me to an assessment. I live alone with closest family 2 hours drive away and they travel a lot so are not always in the country. Most of my friends work so are unavailable during weekdays. So we come back to paying my carer out of my ESA.

    So far I have been lucky enough either to get a home visit or a paper only assessment. But each time they have told me it was not guaranteed. It is yet another worry to add to an already stressful process.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “More specifically home consultations could be offered when the claimant provides confirmation from their health professional that indicates they are unable to travel on health grounds.”

    So the DWP will accept evidence from your health professional regarding your ability to travel – but not on your ability to work. Makes sense (!)

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  7. The person should just write to the CEO’S and give a detailed time plan it would take them in their worst condition to complete the jorney I did this when ATOS wanted me to travel 50 miles and got it moved to a local centre. I detailed every part of the journey from leaving the home to arriving at the centre, well over 2 and a half hours.

    Liked by 1 person

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