DWP changes face-to-face PIP assessment rules – and how claimants attend

The Department for Work and Pensions has made a few changes in regards to face-to-face PIP assessment rules.

It involves face coverings and who can be brought along to a review.

But the DWP changes only concerns PIP claimants but also those on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

PIP claimants usually face health assessments following a claim to determine how much income they should receive.

Physical assessments were scaled back to prevent the spread of coronavirus but they may become more prevalent once again.

Where a claimant is assessed in person, they're usually allowed to bring someone with them, but only if they're aged 16 or above.

Citizens Advice said this can be anyone who makes you feel comfortable, like a friend, relative or carer.

It added: "If you want, they can take part in discussions and take notes for you."

Healthcare professionals may visit PIP claimants to conduct an assessment but benefit claimants might need to visit Job Centre Plus.

However, those visiting DWP buildings must be mindful of the new guidance.

Firstly, DWP states people must wear face coverings in buildings.

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It said: "You must wear a suitable face covering when you attend your appointment unless you have a reason for not wearing one.

"If you do not already have a face covering, a disposable face mask can be provided when you arrive at the assessment centre.

"By face covering, we mean something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings.

"You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face."

The DWP also asked claimants to come to their assessment alone.

It added: "If you need to have someone with you to support you, you can bring one adult.

"If you need support from an interpreter or support worker, please contact the assessment provider.

"Please do not bring children with you to your assessment.

"If you have children and cannot make childcare arrangements, please contact the assessment provider straight away."

The DWP also removed various guidance on social distancing requirements, but it should still be exercised within assessment rooms.

There are also changes to PIP eligibility rules. Eligible claimants must be aged between 16 and state pension age.

They must also expect their condition(s) to last for at least 12 months from when they originally started.

Claims for PIP can be made over the phone or through the post, should assessments be needed, they can provide more information.

During an assessment, the claimant will be asked how their condition affects their daily living and mobility tasks.

They might also be asked to do simple movements to show how they manage some activities.

Assessments shouldn't last more than an hour. Claimants would then receive a letter stating their first date of payment if approved.

If a claimant is unhappy with the decision, they'll be able to challenge it under mandatory reconsideration rules.

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