Frequently Asked Questions
We know that attending an assessment can be a worrying time and that you probably have lots of questions you’d like to ask.
To help put your mind at ease we’ve put together a list of answers to the questions we are most often asked.
If you have a question that is not covered here, please don’t hesitate to call our Customer Service Centre – we’re always happy to help.
Select an enquiry type
Before your assessment
We’ve made our Consultation Centres as accessible as possible, but we understand that in some circumstances it’s not possible for people to attend.
If your medical condition or disability prevents you from travelling, and you can provide health or disability-related evidence to support this, we may be able to arrange travel assistance or a home assessment. Please contact our Customer Service Centre as soon as possible if this applies to you.
Find out more about getting to our Consultation Centres.
Lots of health conditions and disabilities vary over time, so our Healthcare Professionals will always take this into consideration.
We recommend keeping a diary in the run-up to your assessment so you can explain to the Healthcare Professional how your condition varies.
The purpose of your assessment is not to try and diagnose or treat your condition, but rather to identify how it impacts your daily life. All of our Healthcare Professionals are highly trained in assessing mental health conditions on this basis.
However, we know that mental health conditions can be especially complex, so we also employ a team of Mental Function Champions that our Healthcare Professionals can call on for additional advice where required. These experts all have an in-depth knowledge of all mental health conditions, as well as cognitive, developmental and learning disabilities.
We know that this is an extremely difficult time for you and your loved ones, and will do everything we can to complete your assessment as soon as possible.
DWP’s criteria for terminal illness cases will determine whether your claim can be fast-tracked. You can find out more about the special arrangements that may be available on their website.
Your face-to-face consultation will take place either at one of our Consultation Centres or at one of our partners’ premises. Third-party locations are generally clinics or hospitals situated in local communities with good public transport links.
All of our PIP Consultation Centres have assessment rooms on the ground floor. These can be made available to people with limited mobility.
Your appointment letter tells you which Consultation Centre your appointment has been scheduled in, and includes a map and directions to help you get there.
Find out more about getting to our Consultation Centres.
To help us complete your assessment as soon as possible, we’ll initially offer you the earliest appointment we have available. However, we understand that it might not always be possible for you to attend this.
Therefore, if this first appointment isn’t convenient, please contact our Customer Service Centre as soon as possible. You’ll find the telephone number on your appointment letter or on our Contact Us page.
We’ll work with you to find a more suitable time. However, please bear in mind that we can only reschedule your appointment once, and that postponing your appointment may lead to a delay in getting a decision from DWP.
You should bring two forms of identification, plus your appointment letter and details of any medications and medical aids you currently use, or treatments you have recently undergone.
For a handy list of what you need to bring, see the 'What to bring to your appointment' section on our PIP Assessment 'Overview' page.
It’s really important that you bring a two forms of identification we can accept, otherwise we will not be able to complete your assessment.
You can find the full list of identification requirements, on our PIP Assessment 'Overview' page.
We aim to complete every face-to-face consultation as quickly as possible. Most people receive their assessment appointment details within a few weeks of their claim being passed to us by DWP, however, waiting times can vary in some regions due to high demand.
If it has been more than a month since you returned your PIP application form to DWP, please call our Customer Service Centre to check the status of your application.
We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during the consultation so we encourage you to bring a relative, carer, friend or support worker with you. See our ‘Who you should bring’ information on our PIP assessment 'Overview' page.
You can also claim back travel expenses for your companion. To find out how to do this, see our ‘How to claim your travel expenses’ page.
We provide interpreters for a wide range of languages, including British Sign Language. Interpreters need to be arranged with as much notice as possible, so please let us know straight away if you will require one.
To find out more about arranging for an interpreter to sit in on your consultation, see ‘Do you need extra support with communication?’ on our PIP assessment 'Overview' page.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is different to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
You’ll continue getting DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) invites you to apply for PIP. You don’t need to do anything until DWP writes to you. For more information click here.
During your consultation
Face-to-face consultations usually take around 60 minutes. However, if your condition is particularly complicated, it may take a little longer than this. We treat everyone as an individual, and will spend as much time with you as we need to fully understand your needs.
All of our Consultation Centres have suitable consultation rooms on the ground floor, so you won’t be expected to use stairs or a lift if this isn’t possible for you. Please call the number on your appointment letter or contact us if you have any specific worries or queries.
Sessions can be recorded. There are a few important points to note if you wish to do so:
- You will need to give us 3 working days notice before your assessment.
- We will ask you to sign a recording agreement. This tells you how you can later use the recording, and helps us keep your details confidential.
- You will need to use your own recording equipment. To protect all parties, DWP restricts approved devices to those that produce two identical recordings simultaneously. Please note that this does not include laptops, tablets, smartphones or MP3 players.
For more information on recording your assessment, please refer to the DWP policy on page 31 of the PIP Assessment Guide, or contact our Customer Service Centre. You’ll find the telephone number on your appointment letter or on our Contact Us page.
After your assessment
Yes, once you have received your decision letter from DWP, you can contact them and they will send you out a copy of your assessment report.
We can reimburse the cost of return travel to your PIP consultation for you and one companion.
At the Consultation Centre, you’ll be offered an expense form and pre-paid envelope. You can use these to claim back your travel costs.
Things to note:
- You’ll need your bank details to hand when you complete the form.
- Hang on to your receipts, as you’ll need to send them to us.
We’ll pay your expenses into your bank or building society, or send you a cheque.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to pay travel expenses in advance, in cash, into a Post Office account or into a building society account with a roll number.
If you have any questions about claiming your travel expenses, please call our Customer Service team using the number on your appointment letter.
If you travel on public transport we’ll reimburse the cost of return travel from your current address.
If you travel by private vehicle, we’ll reimburse 25 pence per mile. We’ll also pay your parking costs.
If you travel with a companion, we’ll pay their travel expenses too.
Travelling by taxi
In some circumstances we can reimburse the cost of travelling by taxi.
This can happen if public transport is not available and/or you’re not able to travel on local services.
If you need to travel by taxi, please contact our Customer Service Centre using the number on your appointment letter to confirm you’ll be able to claim back the cost. If you don’t check before travelling, we can’t guarantee we’ll reimburse your fare.
The Post Office is ending their Cashcheque (also known as ‘Giros’) service and will no longer accept Cashcheques after 1st July 2017.
As a result of this change, travel expenses will only be paid using BACS and cheque payment options.
Our VRS is provided by SignVideo. The instructions below show you how to contact us using the service.
- Enter your postcode into the 'contact details' box
- Click on the connect now button
- Connect to the SignVideo interpreter and tell them you are calling
- SignVideo Interpreter may ask you if you wish to prepare anything before starting the call. For example, is there any person or department you wish to connect to?
- You will then be connected and start the conversation in BSL (British Sign Language)
If you are unsure about anything or have further questions, the SignVideo team would be happy to help. Alternatively you can find a BSL video showing further information on how to use the service by clicking here.
Tel: 020 8463 1120
Click here to video call the team.