Well the good news just keeps pouring out of DWP in this festive season. Just received this from the PIP Stakeholders Group.
Now that telephone assessments are more established, we are re-introducing Failure to Attend (FTA). From week commencing 14th December 2020, letters inviting claimants for an assessment will make it clear that it is necessary to attend a telephone assessment. PIP claimants who fail to attend a consultation with an Assessment Provider without good reason will have their claim disallowed. A disallowance decision is subject to the usual process of Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal. Claimants can also submit a new claim if they wish.
A range of factors, including people’s physical and mental health, are always taken into full consideration when deciding good reason and the assessment providers and our decision makers have been provided with additional guidance on the kinds of issues that are particular to telephone assessments – including consideration of technical issues (e.g. mobile phone battery/signal) and environmental factors (e.g. caring responsibilities and noisy home environments). I can assure you that we will always contact anyone who does not attend a telephone assessment and that people’s support will continue wherever there is a good reason for not attending.
Since the introduction of Telephone Assessments in March 2020, we have been taking a different approach whereby Assessment Providers rearranged the first FTA appointment and then referred the claim back to DWP on the second FTA. DWP made every effort to engage with claimants and allowed a longer period to do this. Where claimants engaged, they did not need to show good cause but were returned to the Provider for another telephone assessment. We introduced this temporary change to take into account the challenges presented by Covid-19 and the realisation that claimants possibly had a harder time accessing their normal support networks. We have now introduced ways for a third party to join a telephone assessment so that claimants can have the support they need.
PIP, like other benefits, has always had a FTA policy. As for most benefits, there is a requirement to engage in the process of making a claim for PIP, including providing information and attending appointments when asked to do so. It is very important that we are able to assess a claimant’s needs against a set of assessment criteria and an assessment can play a crucial role in gathering the necessary evidence. This return to a business-as-usual policy will align PIP with other benefits, including Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.