If you have a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment soon, you might have questions about what to expect. We’ve answered some of the most common questions in this PIP assessment guide.
- What is a PIP assessment?
- What type of assessment is best for me?
- Shona’s experience
- What should I share with my assessor?
- What should I ask my assessor?
- How do PIP assessment points work?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is an allowance given by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It helps people who have difficulty with mobility or daily living tasks. If you have any questions, you may find this article on how PIP works to be helpful.
Once you have completed your PIP application form, some people will be invited to have an assessment by a health professional. This can happen in person, by phone, or by video call. You can also request a home assessment. You’ll receive a letter in the post about your assessment and where it will take place.
The assessment is used to learn more about how your condition and symptoms affect you daily. It’s your chance to share more about your difficulties with daily living tasks and moving around. The assessment is not a medical examination; it’s a conversation that generally lasts about an hour.
During the assessment, the assessor will ask you questions and may also ask you to do some physical exercises. The assessor will then send everything you discuss to the DWP, which will be used in the decision-making process for your application.
If you have difficulties leaving your home due to mobility or a mental health condition, asking for a home assessment might be best for you. Also, consider whether you find speaking in person or over the phone easier. Choosing the easiest and most accessible option will help ease any nerves.
Whatever option you choose, you can have someone with you for support. This could be a friend, a family member, or a carer. This person can take notes for you and help you answer the questions. If you are nervous about the assessment, having someone with you could be comforting.
Shona Louise, a disabled content creator, has shared her experience of her PIP assessment. She has advice for anyone waiting to have their assessment.
“I recommend being as prepared as possible for your assessment. I took a copy of my original application form and noted any important points I was worried I might forget.
Even if you feel confident attending alone, I recommend bringing someone with you. Before my assessment, my loved one helped me stay relaxed. They provided emotional support and were a helpful distraction. It can be difficult to talk about the things you can’t do. Having someone familiar with you can make these conversations easier.
I also really recommend taking your time with the answers. When I’m nervous, I talk faster, making me more likely to misspeak or not fully explain myself. Take time to pause and look at your notes before answering the questions. The assessment covers a lot of information; don’t expect yourself to remember all of it perfectly.
The assessment itself can be exhausting. My best advice is to look after yourself. Schedule some time to do something calming after your assessment. For me, that involved watching my favourite TV show and ordering a takeaway for dinner.
Try not to spend time wondering how to tell if your PIP assessment went well. Keep yourself busy and distracted until your decision arrives.”
It might be difficult to know what to say during your assessment. Like Shona, you may find it helpful to bring along your original application form to refer to. You can tick things off as you go along to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Here are some examples of what is helpful to share with your assessor:
- What good and bad days look like for you
- Any symptoms you have or recovery time needed after doing an activity
- Any support you need from another person
- The daily living and mobility aids you use.
If you have found any new evidence before your assessment you can bring this along with you. This could be letters from medical professionals or statements from carers or loved ones.
Citizen’s Advice has shared some helpful information on how to prepare for your assessment.
Whilst your assessor will mostly be the one asking questions, there are some questions you can ask them during your assessment. Remember, you can write these down and bring them with you. Here are some examples:
- What should I expect during my assessment?
- Can I say no to doing any physical exercises if they will worsen my pain?
- Can you explain your questions clearly and simply?
- Are you able to face me so I can lip-read?
Scope, a charity that focusses on ensuring equality and fairness for disabled people in society, has shared some helpful advice on PIP assessments. This includes any reasonable adjustments you can request.
PIP is made up of two sections, daily living activities and mobility activities. Daily living includes tasks such as preparing food, dressing and undressing, and communicating verbally. Mobility is made up of moving around, planning and following journeys.
You can find a breakdown of each section on the Benefits and Work website.
You are awarded points depending on whether you can or can’t do an activity. You also receive points if you need support from another person or a daily living or mobility aid.
It can be useful to review each of these sections when first applying for PIP and before your assessment. This will make it easier to answer the questions relevant to each activity.
After your assessment, if you’re awarded the higher rate of the mobility part of PIP, you can access the Motability Scheme. You can exchange your allowance and use it to lease a vehicle or a powered mobility aid.
Interested in joining the Scheme?
About the Scheme
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair, or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand-new, reliable vehicle of your choice. As well as a great choice of cars, we also provide a wide range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters, and powered wheelchairs.
To join the Scheme, you must be in receipt of one of the following mobility allowances:
- Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of Child Disability Payment – Scotland
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
You can easily check whether you’re eligible to join the Motability Scheme by using our eligibility checker tool.
If you’re awarded you can also access other things such as a disabled person’s railcard, and discounts. Take a look at our article8 PIP Benefits to learn more about what else you’re eligible for.