Your PIP claim, whether a fresh claim or for a move from DLA to PIP, is very likely to involve a face-to-face assessment. Yes, the PIP claim form asks for details of medical people who are or have recently been treating you, and for any medical evidence you have, but in my experience, it is rare for the Department to contact anyone. They would much rather rely on their own PIP assessment, arguing that the disability analysts are trained to assess your ability to function, whereas GPs and consultants are not. There is truth in this, if only the PIP assessments were of consistently high quality.
Towards the end of the PIP claim form, you can ask for a home visit for the assessment, but you cannot insist on it. If you really cannot visit one of their assessment centres, then consider asking your GP to provide a letter saying why this is the case.
You can imagine that a letter that says that Mr Smith tells me that …. is of little value.
If your pip assessment is at one of their centres, you may well be asked how you got there that day and if walking is an issue for you, please consider being dropped off near their door rather than have to do explain that you have walked from a car park. Make it clear where you were dropped off – they regularly make mistakes about the walking that you are capable of, based on what they believe you have done that day, through them making assumptions rather than asking, so spell it out to them.
Try to avoid going on your own or being on your own if they come to your home. There are tasks on this sheet for both you and the person who I hope will be with you. If at all possible, that person should be in the room with you, including in the assessment room. They will serve little or no purpose by staying in a waiting area. You will hopefully have kept a copy of the claim form and we recommend that the person with you reads through that copy, and this information, before the assessment.
Clients who have dealt with their own claims before coming to me have explained that they rested up for their assessment or it took extra medication to get them through it. Neither of these are a good idea; you want the Healthcare Professional to see you as you usually are. If you have had to take something, because you just would not be able to get there without, then at least make this clear to them – they will not ask you.
If you get an Healthcare Professional who asks what are called leading questions, such as “you can manage that on your own, can't you?” Please do not feel pressured into giving a one-word answer. Your answer to their question might be yes, or it might be yes, but only on a better day, not most of the time. The correct answer for you might be that you can manage it, but not all in one go, because you have to break up the task. Or you might be in a position where you can manage the task but you then need to rest or recover, not being able to go directly onto another task. It is vital that they hear the full answer from you.
The person with you will not be able to answer questions for you, but they can prompt you, so they can have a vital role to play. You are likely to be anxious and you may forget things or not explain things as you would like to. The person with you might be thinking that if the Healthcare Professional wants to know about this, then surely they would want to know about that, or you may tell them something that you have done, but have not been able to do for months or years.
It is fine for the person with you to say these things to you, rather than directly to the assessor. They might ask you whether you want to tell the Healthcare Professional about something that has happened to you. The assessor is likely to be typing away at a computer or laptop, and when it is all printed out, their report will be 28 or 30 pages long. One of the questions on there for them to answer is whether or not you needed prompting, so prompting is okay.
The assessor may explain that they have either read your form or that they are going to read it. Never mind, it is important that you say everything that needs to be said. Please do not leave things unsaid because you know that they are in the form and that they have either read them or are going to read them. You will only get one shot at this PIP assessment and I urge you to make sure that you explain things fully, face-to-face. I have seen reports - remember though that it is not just about what they have read of you and what they are told by you, but also what they see of you.
Everything will be noted down. If you are at an assessment centre, then everything from how you respond to your name being called, how you get up and then walk to the assessment room, how you handle bags or ID, as well as how you move around that room, will all be noted down. Much the same applies in your own home as well. Be aware of this and simply be yourself. This includes not hiding the pain if it hurts to get out of a chair – if they cannot see or hear signs of that pain, they will not be aware. Please do not feel pressured to try and keep up with an assessor who is hurrying from the waiting area back the assessment room. If you need to take your time or stop, then it is vital that you do so. You want them to see you as you usually are.
You need them to have clear information, but their ability or willingness to ask enough of the right questions varies from person to person. You may for example be asked if you have a pet. They may assume that you walk the dog, or can happily bend to provide food and water for the pet. If there are aspects of the pet care that you can’t and don’t manage, I recommend that you explain this, or you risk wrong assumptions being made.
Please be familiar with what is in your copy of the PIP form, and be consistent with it, unless things have changed of course. If they have, explain this, or they may draw the wrong conclusions about differences between what they have read and what they are hearing. There is no need to use exactly the same words as in the form, but be consistent. They will go through your medical conditions and their symptoms, and then your medication, which you should have with you. They will ask about your home circumstances, including any aids or adaptations you have, so give this some thought before you go.
The Healthcare Professional will then go on to the activities in the PIP test, preparing food, etc. I would then like you to be thinking about what is in the form, so that if your assessor does not ask the right questions to bring out your difficulties, then you can volunteer the information that you know they need to hear if they are going to come to the right conclusions about how you should score points. Please do not simply answer questions put to you, leaving important things unsaid, because the Healthcare Professional did not ask the right questions.
Remember that PIP is a 'most of the time’ benefits so that the issue is how you are affected on the majority of days. It is fine to talk to them about your worst days and even your best days, but make sure that they understand whether there are more of the better or bad days, overall. One of the sections on the report they produce will be about variability of your symptoms from day-to-day, and you want them to have a clear picture of this.
At some point, you will be asked to carry out a range of movements and you may be able to do all of these. If you know that a particular movement is going to cause you problems either in terms of pain or not being able to do it at all, then you must decide whether to attempt it or not. It is okay to decline, provided you explain why you are having to do so. The person with you can make a note of movements that you either attempt but cannot do fully, or those that you cannot attempt at all. The notes they take at the time, what a lawyer might call a contemporaneous note, is far more valuable as evidence than you and them trying to recall what was said or what was happening many weeks later when you see their full report.
Clients have told us about Healthcare Professionals who were friendly and reassuring, and some of this will be genuine, but some clients have been amazed when they had a bad report from such a person. Please do not be reassured, but remain on your guard. Friendly is fine but stay professional. Clients have also spoken about assessors who said that they understood about their medical condition, explaining that they knew someone who had the condition. Please do not relax and feel that you can leave things out of your explanation, thinking that the Healthcare Professional will know. It is vital that you tell them how it is for you.
A properly completed pip claim form is the foundation for getting the right outcome on your claim, whether you end up with the right award when your claim is first dealt with, after a Mandatory Reconsideration or an appeal to an independent tribunal. You need to know where the Healthcare Professional and Decision Maker are coming from, as well as what the law says the words and phrases in the test mean.. MORE
Your PIP claim, whether a fresh claim or for a move from DLA to PIP, is very likely to involve a face-to-face assessment. Yes, the PIP claim form asks for details of medical people who are or have recently been treating you, and for any medical evidence you have, but in my experience, it is rare for the Department to contact anyone. They would much rather rely on their own PIP assessment, arguing that the disability.. MORE
You would not be reading this if you were happy with what is in your decision letter. In a perfect world, you would be able to say to yourself that if you were refused benefit or if you were awarded less than you hoped for, then it must be because you just didn’t meet the criteria; that the Department for Work & Pensions must know what they are doing. Experience says that you cannot rely on that being the case..MORE
You would probably not be reading this if you were happy with the PIP decision letter. The first thing to remember is that if it is wrong, we can almost certainly put it right, so do not panic. Challenging the PIP decision is a two-stage process and the first of these is a paper challenge, called a mandatory reconsideration. ‘Mandatory’ because you cannot go around it..MORE
You must have received your mandatory reconsideration notice before you can put in an appeal to an independent tribunal. It is better to use the standard SSCS1 appeal form, but the rules say that a letter is acceptable, as long as it includes all the necessary information. The appeal form/letter is sent to the HM Courts & Tribunals office in Bradford..MORE
Challenging a PIP decision is straight forward; you just say that you disagree. It is the same when you appeal to a tribunal after the mandatory reconsideration stage. These decisions are mainly about the facts of your case, such as what you can and cannot do when preparing food, washing or bathing or dressing, for example. The decision made by an appeal tribunal cannot be..MORE
Going from DLA to PIP for my son resulted in only 2 points being awarded; my completion of the Mandatory Reconsideration form resulted in no improvement. At this point I realised that we needed professional help (with hindsight it would have been better if I had sought this earlier) and found the Disability Claims website via Google Search. Glenn was most helpful and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the system, he meticulously prepared for the appeal tribunal and represented us. The result was an increased award from 2 points to 22 points. We couldn't have achieved this without him. Highly recommended.
Simon - 20 November 2019
“From the moment I spoke to you, you took the anxiety and stress from me. I was still worried about the whole procedure which was affecting my condition. You were so very, very helpful and extremely understanding. I was awarded high Mobility and high daily living. The assessor who came out was a nurse. She was very understanding of my condition and how it affected me. It was a long assessment as I did explain everything in detail. Glenn, you are so very, very good at what you do. Many thanks once again.”
Mrs P of Suffolk 10 July 2019
“We were kept informed of the progress of the claim and the process we followed.
Glenn obviously has good knowledge on the subject and he was to formulate an
accurate statement, and present our case well at the appeal hearing. It is likely that
we will be in touch for help when our renewal form arrives.”
Mr M of Louth
Glenn Brooks is courteous professional and knows his job. I highly recommend him to anyone needing help with PIP. He is cool and calm and after a few minutes speaking to him I was assured that I had made the right decision to ask his help. Most of all you are not forgotten about, as he checks up on how things are, thank you Glenn. And to anyone faced with these forms he is your go to man.
Really professional and expertly researched legal representation. I went from 0 points on ESA to 18 points on appeal and got back in the support group. Highly recommended.
I strongly recommend Using Glen Brooks he is the best you can ever higher using PIP tribunal hearings appeal forms and reconsideration the best Welfare Benefit Solicitor in the whole of UK. I strongly recommend Glen Brooks as the no 1 Welfare Benefit Solicitor.
With many disabilities, my full DLA allowance when changed across to PIP, and following my assessment, was reduced to standard rates, resulting in the loss of my car. Requested for a tribunal, and gobsmacked when the papers arrived, could not believe the ( I worded it inaccuracies) LIES that the assessor had told. Glenn attended the tribunal with me, and I was glad of his experience and reassuring me, if I got really nervous , that he would assist. My PIP was upgraded to enhanced care and mobility. I would certainly recommend that you should not accept any reduction in your benefits and should contact Glenn, I cannot express my gratitude enough.
Do not think of attending a tribunal without this man, he made the whole process so easy for my very stressed, distressed sister, who had her entitlement reduced and her car removed,at the change to PIP, Mr Brooks took the time she needed to calm her and put her at ease with some things that she was very uncomfortable talking about, he did a first class job at very short notice and worked until after 8PM on the evening of her initial interview, we would not hesitate to use his service's again or to recommend him to anyone who needs this kind of help.
Glenn and his team are first class. If you need any help with any benefit he is the number one person to call.
He is excellent at what he does and will always explain to you each step of the process.
Fees are very reasonable for all the work and travel involved.
I have recommended him to people in need of his services.
Even get his help when the first forms drop through your letter box.
What can I say? Glenn has helped my wife with her fight against this injustice winning every time which without him been harder..
I have been dealing with Glenn for many years for help with claiming the right benefit. He helped me a great deal, particularly when the DWP got it very wrong. Glenn was confident and reassuring that I was in the right and we won no problem on appeal. You can be as genuine as possible, with real issues but often it's how those words are put over - this is where Glenn came in. Filled out the same information (mostly) as I did, just worded much better and was successful without any problems. Highly recommend you deal with Glenn if you're worried or have issues. In an ideal world this service should not be needed, but the DWP are ruthless and don't care what your circumstances are.
I would like to thank Glenn Brooks very much for his support and professionalism in dealing with my husbands case. At tribunal Glenn took my husbands ESA case from zero points to support group. Glenn is a very pleasant gentleman. He is very experienced and knowledgeable in his job of supporting and advising on benefit claims. He is clear and to the point and I have no doubt that a genuine claimant will be supported 100% by Glenn. He is very black and white as there is no room for grey areas in these case. I would recommend Glenn to anybody who has a pending appeal or indeed any of the other services he offers. We certainly could not have got through this without his support and very clear understanding. There were no hidden costs everything was very transparent. Professional in every way. Thank you again.
Glenn is absolutely brilliant. I too wish that I had used him to fill the dreaded form in to begin with too! I will definitely be using him in the future if needs be. He was so patient, professional, caring, and a lovely, lovely man. He travelled a long way to deal with my case and was with me every step of the way. His service is not for free, but it is worth every single penny. I don't think I would have got the perfect outcome I did without him. In fact I know I wouldn't have. I highly recommend him him to others.
Thanks so much Glenn.
PIP & ESA Updates
My regular PIP & ESA updates newsletter is sent out to everyone who has signed up and keen to keep up to date on the subject of Personal Independence Payments and Employment and Support Allowances. Expect to see links to my latest articles, case studies, testimonials and of course solid guidance on how to navigate the difficult and sometimes complex field of Disability Claims.