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F2F telephone assessment

Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
Just had a phone call to say I will have my assement on the phone next week. 
At least it's soon and be over with. 

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,065 Disability Gamechanger
    @Firefly123, thank you for this information, remember you will only have one opportunity to put your facts and  supporting verbal evidence and answers to questions asked once so think before you answer if you have a copy of the descriptors for claiming PIP then have your answers written down that you can use for each of the descriptors your claiming you are unable to do without help or assistance. Good luck and let the community know how it went. Remember you can still request a copy of your assessment report then you can see what your award may should be but you still have to wait for the official notification letter from the DWP. 
  • johnnyy85johnnyy85 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    @Firefly123 good luck, when does your award date end?im waiting for information on my renewal  and was wondering how behind they are ? 
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Thank you,, @wilko yes I photo copied all before I sent it. I was wondering how it would be. ☺

    @johnnyy85 it's a new claim I started at the end of July. The did say on the phone that they have a backlog to get through. Good luck with your renewal. ☺ 
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    Really amazed.
    The assumption that everyone is comfortable in dealing with an assessment over the phone is beyond me. Most will be extremely nervous which certainly doesn't help. Plus how on earth are they going to assess body language and note any observations?
    To me this is a half arsed way of conducting any assessment.


  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 963 Disability Gamechanger
    "The assumption that everyone is comfortable in dealing with an assessment over the phone is beyond me. Most will be extremely nervous which certainly doesn't help. Plus how on earth are they going to assess body language and note any observations?"

    @skullcap yadnad....is there an assumption that everyone is comfortable? Almost inevitably some aren't but these are challenging times for everyone - schools closing, businesses going bust...we all need to be flexible in my opinion.

    What would you advise people who aren't comfortable being assessed this way?
  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 1,876 Disability Gamechanger
    what else can they do? put a hold on all claims?
  • LeelinkLeelink Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Luckily i had my Face to Face assessment in January (But still awaiting the results). But i can absolutely not do phone calls. I struggle to ring even family. If i had to choose now id hope it be a paper assessment or id just wait the months before they can restart to avoid a telephone assessment.
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    I would rather do f2f than do it on the phone but I totally understand why they need to do it this way. I'm not good on the phone but it has to be done. 
  • ilovecatsilovecats Member Posts: 1,037 Pioneering
    edited March 22
    Telephone assessment guidance is being put together and agreed by DWP, assessors then have to be briefed on this as what is expected of them.

    No it isn’t ideal, it’s better than waiting an additional 3 months. If you hate talking on the phone I imagine there would be a contingency for choosing to wait. 

    No visual observations could be done so it’s down to functional history, evidence etc which I imagine would actually lead to better outcomes overall. If a claimant says something, as there are visual obs to go against this everything will have to be taken at ‘face value’. I don’t know if the scope to contact professionals is increased because F2F assessors don’t generally do this.

    It’s all a work in progress but it’s better than vulnerable people going without the money they need.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 963 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 22
    On the positive front - no-one will have to travel to the assessment centre, the assessment won't last as long, and they'll all be recorded ...(I'm guessing the last bit but most 'phone calls are recorded now..)


  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    To be honest - Yes!
    On the other hand why not use facetime or Skype.
    It would be totally unfair to those that would have difficulty in putting over their argument during a telephone call. My pet hate is having to leave messages on an answer machine. I become tongue tied. Yet I enjoy talking in public.
    For the sake of getting the right award I would postpone all assessments. For those that already have a review coming up - just extend the current award. For new claims yes wait until they can have a face to face assessment. 
    Would people be really happy and comfortable in talking to their GP on the telephone about an issue they have? How many would be able to put over exactly how they are feeling?


  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    Leelink said:
    Luckily i had my Face to Face assessment in January (But still awaiting the results). But i can absolutely not do phone calls. I struggle to ring even family. If i had to choose now id hope it be a paper assessment or id just wait the months before they can restart to avoid a telephone assessment.
    One of many that would not feel comfortable with a telephone assessment.
    I do not think the claimant would be really able to express themselves on the telephone.
    A paper assessment will only be as good as the way the claim form has been completed and all of the relevant evidence has been sent in. Otherwise you run the risk of a nil award by default,

  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    I would rather do f2f than do it on the phone but I totally understand why they need to do it this way. I'm not good on the phone but it has to be done. 
    So what you are saying is that your claim would be prejudiced if you had to have a telephone assessment?
    They don't need to do it that way.

    Video calling is one way and even waiting for a f2f assessment is another.
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    ilovecats said:
    No visual observations could be done so it’s done to functional history, evidence etc which I imagine would actually lead to better outcomes overall. If a claimant says something, as there are visual obs to go against this everything will have to be taken at ‘face value’.
    Exactly what I have been saying. Telephone assessments could well be a scammers charter!
    The assessor will not be able to defeat a claimant who is either trying it on or aggerating the claim. Just accept what they say - who would want to lie?
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 963 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 22
    @yadnad said... "Exactly what I have been saying. Telephone assessments could well be a scammers charter!"

    @skullcap

    The reason that telephone assessments are being considered is due to a virus that is starting to take hold in the UK. If it becomes as severe as Italy, and we have yet to find that out, the results will be catastrophic.

    In the PM and other government minister's list of priorities, with A&E departments being unable to cope, mass fatalities and collapse of the economy at the very top, whether someone fiddles their assessment, or would prefer not to do it by 'phone is so far down the list that it would probably be written on roll 23 of a 24 pack of toilet roll (remember them?)

    The DWP (of whom I'm no big fan) are adapting their procedures in attempt to keep people safe and, I believe, genuinely try to help people although the changes won't suit everyone.

    Please try to be positive.

    I know that it's hard for you but this constant wave of negativity and criticism really doesn't do you, or anyone else, any good.

    As they say in the cartoons - if you're old enough to remember - "that's all folks"

  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    I started my claim in July and would rather not wait as we have no real timescale of how long this will last.. Its not ideal but we have and will have to change our way of doing things.

    Yes there is Skype ect and I'm sure some people would also hate that. 
  • ilovecatsilovecats Member Posts: 1,037 Pioneering
    Video calling I believe has been ruled out at present. It presents a whole host of problems and a lot of people don’t have access to decent enough software to do this. 
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    cristobal said:
    On the positive front - no-one will have to travel to the assessment centre, the assessment won't last as long, and they'll all be recorded ...(I'm guessing the last bit but most 'phone calls are recorded now..)


    The recording, if it is carried out, is for the benefit of the assessing company and certainly not for the claimant.

  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    ilovecats said:
    Video calling I believe has been ruled out at present. It presents a whole host of problems and a lot of people don’t have access to decent enough software to do this. 
    ?? Why not?
    All they need to do is download the Skype app. Took me 10mins 
    If there are these many problems how is it that the vast majority of government departments use it without any difficulty?
  • ilovecatsilovecats Member Posts: 1,037 Pioneering
    See skullcap said:
    ilovecats said:
    Video calling I believe has been ruled out at present. It presents a whole host of problems and a lot of people don’t have access to decent enough software to do this. 
    ?? Why not?
    All they need to do is download the Skype app. Took me 10mins 
    If there are these many problems how is it that the vast majority of government departments use it without any difficulty?
    Good for you. A lot of claimants would struggle and video calling is little different from talking on the phone. I imagine most would find a phone easier.

    either way, it’s been ruled out at present. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,539 Disability Gamechanger
    I'd much prefer a telephone assessment to a video assessment, so i'm glad they have ruled out the video assessments.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    I definitely would not like a video call have all of mine at home.Things are difficult enough. 
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    You can hide so much over the telephone. No one sees the expressions on your face, if you are constantly referring to papers that are hidden, that you inadvertently/accidentally reach for something, as a piece of paper that has fallen on the floor and have already said that you cannot reach to wash yourself in the bath etc etc.

  • worried33worried33 Member Posts: 351 Pioneering
    skullcap said:
    Really amazed.
    The assumption that everyone is comfortable in dealing with an assessment over the phone is beyond me. Most will be extremely nervous which certainly doesn't help. Plus how on earth are they going to assess body language and note any observations?
    To me this is a half arsed way of conducting any assessment.


    Could be a blessing in disguise, people with anxiety issues been told they dont have any simply because they handled a one to one assessment ok.  Thats kind of harder to do when its not f2f.
  • worried33worried33 Member Posts: 351 Pioneering
    skullcap said:
    You can hide so much over the telephone. No one sees the expressions on your face, if you are constantly referring to papers that are hidden, that you inadvertently/accidentally reach for something, as a piece of paper that has fallen on the floor and have already said that you cannot reach to wash yourself in the bath etc etc.

    picking a piece of paper up from the floor has no relevance to washing yourself in a bath though, so if assessors are judging on things like that, then thats a bad thing.
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    It's not about hiding anything it's trying to get across why you can't do things. Most of us don't find this so easy to put into words when stressed anxious. 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 1,719 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 24
    A word to the wise; unfortunately there's some negativity on this thread. However, what I would say, is that this is a great community, &, over the coming months, we may need each others support, help/advice, & personal experience more than ever.
    I believe that everyone who has joined this community has done so because they needed genuine help, or wanted to help other people. There are no 'scammers' here, only people hoping to understand the benefit system, & it's recent changes; sharing their hopes, & fears in these uncertain times.
    So, let's ignore any negativity, & do what this community does best, continue to support each other.
    @Firefly123 - I wish you all the best in your upcoming assessment, & please do let us all know how you get on.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 3,725 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 24
    I think there’s a complete failure to grasp what is about to take place. The loss of the ability to assess body language etc. is miles away from a “scammers charter”. The consistent failure to assess beyond a snapshot and to use glib simplifications is one of the main reasons why so many assessments are poor quality. Removing that from the equation will undoubtedly improve the assessment. I would imagine that the client of mine with no centre to their eyes but who made “good eye contact” as opposed to turning their in the direction where the talking was coming from (!)and others with similar stories would be quite pleased a lot that!

    However, the key to that is that the HCP is likely to now be obliged to call professionals listed on the claim pack and record their comments. That’s a sea change process.

    Before anyone leaps in with “but it’ll be the GP”. Actually no it most likely won’t be. The last stats I saw suggested that consultants, surgeons and other specialists made up around 85% of the people claimants list. 

    Will it be perfect? Of course not? Will it improve things? Yes, potentially very much so. 


  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Well said @chiarieds. That's exactly why most of us are here.
    I agree with that @mikehughescq I have 5 GP's and been taken over as my doctor left. I gave specialist I'm seeing to ask for advice as they know me 

    Everything at the moment has to change and we all have to manage the best we can x
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    However, the key to that is that the HCP is likely to now be obliged to call professionals listed on the claim pack and record their comments. That’s a sea change process.

    Before anyone leaps in with “but it’ll be the GP”. Actually no it most likely won’t be. The last stats I saw suggested that consultants, surgeons and other specialists made up around 85% of the people claimants list. 

    Will it be perfect? Of course not? Will it improve things? Yes, potentially very much so. 
    Most claimants only include the name of the GP. Some claimants don't put anyone. Some put a list of people including consultants.
    The first will give little relevant info, the second there will be no info at all which leaves the third.
    Experience tells me that writing to a consultant is a bit of hit and miss. In two instances in the past the DWP wrote to two consultants. The first ( my consultant psychiatrist) replied telling the GP that what their patient (claimant) had explained was perfectly feasible and would not enter into a telephone conversation. The DWP tried twice to get him to talk to them and twice his secretary refused.
    The second involved my oncologist. He refused via his secretary to enter into any dialogue and returned the form to the DWP telling them that he was far too busy saving lives and that they should contact me.

    I would also point out that most claimants understand that the DWP will not contact anyone listed so don't see the point in putting them down in any event. I'm in that category. My last PIP form I put no one down believing that there was no point.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 3,725 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 25
    No, actually, as already stated “most” do not, according to the DWPs own stats, just list the GP. Absolutely not. I checked back today and it’s still 85% and holding steady but slowly rising. One of the explicit reasons for this is that the PIP 2 has long since ceased putting a focus on the GP. The section on other professionals is by far the longer. 

    I’ve also no idea where you get the idea that most claimants understand DWP won’t contact the professionals. The exact opposite is true. One only has to do a search of this site to see thread after thread querying why DWP didn’t contact anyone after they were put down. 

    I see no relevance in this context as regards writing to a consultant as that’s very clearly not what will be happening. Hardly going to be an issue contacting people at present either given nothing but emergency surgery will be taking place. A conversation on specific issues will be very different to a standard letter. Again, will it be perfect? Absolutely not. Not will it be a disaster. 

    As an example of this terrible new world not being quite as presented it’s clear that telephone appeals are working pretty well and if anything success rates may be about to rise. 

    If you wish to start an argument in a very empty room please count me out. I’ve added you to my ignore list alongside your alter egos. 
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    Ok let's just agree to disagree.
    Time will only tell when/if I get the review form to fill in.
    I will fill it in in the normal way as I have done in the past, and then see how a telephone assessment works for me. It is inevitable that I will have to appeal in the end and hope that the DWP relent along the way to offer me what I have had for the past 5+ years of PIP before it gets to a Tribunal.

  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Well my appointment is in the morning and my anxiety it going to have me up half the night. 

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 3,725 Disability Gamechanger
    Try and remember that the HCP is not the decision maker. Try and avoid yes/no answers. “I can’t reliably... “
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Thanks I will try x
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 1,719 Disability Gamechanger
    I'll be thinking of you @Firefly123 & hope all goes well in the morning.
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,539 Disability Gamechanger
    Good luck today!
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
     Thank you @poppy123456
    It lasted just under an hour I think it went OK. Just glad it's now over with x
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 1,719 Disability Gamechanger
    Pleased to read you thought it went OK @Firefly123. Well done for getting through it! Hope you can relax a little now. :)
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Thank you, @chiarieds yes just have to wait and see now x
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 3,725 Disability Gamechanger
    A quick update. Video has not been ruled out at all. No idea where that came from. It certainly won’t be compulsory just as face to face assessments aren’t compulsory but it’s something being explored. The issue is bandwidth and training. No issue with claimants having the tech at all because 

    - you’re not going to agree to a video call if you don’t have the tech.
    - the stats show most people are very comfortable with FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, MS Teams etc. 
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 453 Pioneering
    Glad I had a telephone assessment then as I would not like a video call. 
  • worried33worried33 Member Posts: 351 Pioneering
    edited March 31
    mike I only listed my GP and OT, my consultants would be useless, whilst my GP knew me very well, due to many dozens of appointments, phone calls and years of been my doctor.

    I was 50/50 on the OT, as OT's seem to have a habit of making assumptions e.g. when my OT first visited me she made a comment that I cannot be that bad because of the way my furniture was arranged, I asked her to clarify and she said people who have a hard time walking would be tripping over in my flat, I took a breath as I was tempted to kick her out, and then explained, "what happens if you setup a flat in a certain way, then your health problems deteriorate afterwards and you have no one to move the furniture for you?", she said that seemed unusual, as surely family would help, I then went straight to the point and pointed out not everyone has that luxury, but told her she is welcome to move my furniture around if she wants to.  After several visits she seemed much more sympathetic, but because of that first appointment it was at the back of my mind she was just putting it on to be polite.

    With consultants I find they seem only interested in people with extreme well developed conditions, so if you not showing clear heavy symptoms in front of them they are not eager to diagnose, likewise if you have multiple health problems meaning symptoms are all over the place they seem to want to dump you on another department as its too complex.  My GP told me multiple times how frustrated she was with consultants bouncing people back to her, and the pressure she was under to not refer people.  I had some disabled friends tell me they deliberately over emphasised pain in front of consultants so they were taken seriously, but I have always avoided that as I consider it dishonest, but now understand why some people do it.

    My sister almost died because they refused to diagnose and operate on her until it was life threatening, I kid you not she was told that, that they had to rate for the disease to progress and become severe before they would treat it.

    So consultant's, OT's etc are not necessarily better than GP's.  My gut feeling is people like carer's, district nurses and GP's would be the best as they see the patient the most frequent.  But it seems to work on qualification level more than amount of time spent with the patient.

    Also sometimes they diagnose without telling the patient, I seen a copy of a letter to my GP talking about treatment of my "blood sickle disease" something I have never been told I have, I spoke to my GP, who told me it was why I was on some of my medication, why I have so many blood tests, and why I get constant cramps, and  I apparently was never told because of my mental state of health, the latter I kind of understand but it gives issues if situations come up when I need to explain my symptoms to people such as benefit assessors.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 3,725 Disability Gamechanger
    There’s a danger of overthinking the whole thing if you’re going into that level of analysis. The only question which you need to answer is whether there is a gap in your evidence in respect of a specific thing. If there is not then medical evidence is not needed. 
  • worried33worried33 Member Posts: 351 Pioneering
    I was answering the point on about providing medical contacts, and the reasons why on who I picked.

    Then decided to go on a mini rant whilst writing the post.
  • skullcapskullcap Member - under moderation Posts: 182 Courageous
    worried33 said:
    mike I only listed my GP and OT, my consultants would be useless, whilst my GP knew me very well, due to many dozens of appointments, phone calls and years of been my doctor.

    I was 50/50 on the OT, as OT's seem to have a habit of making assumptions e.g. when my OT first visited me she made a comment that I cannot be that bad because of the way my furniture was arranged, I asked her to clarify and she said people who have a hard time walking would be tripping over in my flat, I took a breath as I was tempted to kick her out, and then explained, "what happens if you setup a flat in a certain way, then your health problems deteriorate afterwards and you have no one to move the furniture for you?", she said that seemed unusual, as surely family would help, I then went straight to the point and pointed out not everyone has that luxury, but told her she is welcome to move my furniture around if she wants to.  After several visits she seemed much more sympathetic, but because of that first appointment it was at the back of my mind she was just putting it on to be polite.

    With consultants I find they seem only interested in people with extreme well developed conditions, so if you not showing clear heavy symptoms in front of them they are not eager to diagnose, likewise if you have multiple health problems meaning symptoms are all over the place they seem to want to dump you on another department as its too complex.  My GP told me multiple times how frustrated she was with consultants bouncing people back to her, and the pressure she was under to not refer people.  I had some disabled friends tell me they deliberately over emphasised pain in front of consultants so they were taken seriously, but I have always avoided that as I consider it dishonest, but now understand why some people do it.

    My sister almost died because they refused to diagnose and operate on her until it was life threatening, I kid you not she was told that, that they had to rate for the disease to progress and become severe before they would treat it.

    So consultant's, OT's etc are not necessarily better than GP's.  My gut feeling is people like carer's, district nurses and GP's would be the best as they see the patient the most frequent.  But it seems to work on qualification level more than amount of time spent with the patient.

    Also sometimes they diagnose without telling the patient, I seen a copy of a letter to my GP talking about treatment of my "blood sickle disease" something I have never been told I have, I spoke to my GP, who told me it was why I was on some of my medication, why I have so many blood tests, and why I get constant cramps, and  I apparently was never told because of my mental state of health, the latter I kind of understand but it gives issues if situations come up when I need to explain my symptoms to people such as benefit assessors.
    You ought to be thankful that you have not been involved with the Pain Clinic!
    One of my consultants authorised various pain relief medications. Went to the Pain Clinic 6 months later (not at my request I would add). They were astounded that I had been prescribed such medication. They told me that pain is all in the head - it really doesn't exist except that the brain thinks it does. They removed the medication forthwith after getting me to agree to go on an 'Alexandra' course, have acupuncture and listen and work with a CD of waves rolling on the shore.

    None of it worked , went to the GP and he reinstated my medication that did work to a greater extent.

    Goodness knows what the Pain Clinc would have told the DWP if I put their details on the claim form. For the same reason I refused to put the mental health service I was under down on the form or even mention the effect it has on my life as the assessors and the DWP don't beleive that mental health issues actually happen.


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