Our role in the delivery of Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been designed by the Government to help with some of the extra costs associated with long-term ill health or a disability. You must be aged 16 or over and usually have not reached State Pension age to claim. It was introduced as a replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have overall responsibility for PIP, and directly manage the claim, decision making and payments part of it, as well as the overall policy that sets out how it works. The assessment part of the PIP process, which happens when you first claim PIP as well as periodically while you receive it, is managed by assessment providers, one of which is us (we cover Scotland, the north of England and the south of England including London).

The role of the PIP assessment provider

As an assessment provider it is our job to provide an independent assessment of the impact that a claimant’s health condition or disability has on their daily life. The report we provide for DWP for any PIP claimant has to be objective and unbiased. Each assessment report is produced by a Health Professional trained in health and disability assessment. They could be Nurses (both General and Mental Health Specialists), Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists or Paramedics.

The information used to write the report could come from various places, such as:

  • your completed ‘How your disability affects you’ form
  • Any other relevant information you provided with your form
  • Information that we ask for and receive from people involved in your care
  • A consultation with you (if the other information isn’t enough)
  • Information provided by DWP

All this information is considered by the Health Professional so that they can provide a detailed report to the DWP decision maker that explains what it all means in relation to the PIP criteria (also known as the 'descriptors'). The decision maker uses the report along with the rest of the information to decide whether the PIP criteria are met and, if so, to what extent, a person does or does not get PIP.

How do we fulfil our role?

We are responsible for the assessment phase including the consultations, paper based reviews and reports. We work closely with DWP to ensure that any changes that DWP make to the policy are immediately reflected in the way we are carrying out the PIP assessments. DWP also set targets for us in areas such as quality of both service and reports and the time within which we should provide them with a report after they have sent a referral to us. However, we don’t have any targets relating to the type of advice we provide or in relation to the decisions that DWP ultimately make on a person's claim.