As part of the specification for the PIP assessment service, Assessment Providers must provide sufficient suitable accommodation for face-to-face consultations. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set clear requirements in terms of geography, travel, security and the claimant experience in relation to the sites used for PIP consultations.
The DWP requirement is that claimants do not have to travel for more than 90 minutes by public transport (single journey) to a consultation. However, this limit is an absolute maximum and for the majority of claimants their journey will be less than this.
The appointment letter includes a map and directions to the Assessment Centre. Where the claimant has a medical condition that makes travel difficult the claimant should discuss this with the Assessment Provider.
The DWP have specified circumstances where a home consultation will be offered, in particular where the claimant is unable to travel to a consultation as a result of their health conditions or impairments. More specifically home consultations could be offered when the claimant provides confirmation from their health professional that indicates they are unable to travel on health grounds.
When a claimant travels to a face-to-face consultation they are able to claim travel expenses for themselves and a companion, carer or young children who would otherwise be left unattended.
Payments can be made for public transport fares, travel by private motor vehicle and other costs relating to the journey to and from the consultation such as parking. There are circumstances in which taxi fares can be reimbursed. This should be discussed with the Assessment Provider before attending the consultation. Payments relating to other costs of the journey such as parking, tolls or congestion charges can also be met. Travel expenses will be reimbursed within 14 days of the claim but cannot be paid in advance or at the Assessment Centre.
Should a claimant have any difficulties attending a consultation they should discuss it with the Assessment Provider as soon as possible. If a claimant contacts the Assessment Provider in advance to advise they are unable to attend their consultation, they will be offered a second appointment. This may enable them to arrange for a companion to assist with their travel arrangements.
Justin Tomlinson MP
Minister for Disabled People
This raises an issue I’d not considered before, the DWP state “claimants do not have to travel for more than 90 minutes by public transport” and as Steve says, and having lived in the area for over 8 years I concur, the problem with getting to Walsall from Birmingham is not the distance, which at around 13 mile should be within the DWP criteria but the fact that “getting to Walsall for an early morning appointment is “at a best a nightmare” even when the M6 is “at its quietest”; thus as Steve points out “potentially you could lose your award because of traffic problem”.
Steve raised the case thinking of using a private car but by public transport it is an even worse problem – consider you need a use a bus to get to train station (or as close as possible) then the train journey itself and finally the bus (if there is one) to the assessment centre. This could easily take more than 90 minutes, therefore your PIP award could rely on traffic?
Just to add final insult to injury you arrive at Walsall Assessment Centre to find it is inaccessible for disabled people!
Debbie Sayers and I are fully aware of the length of time Duncan Smith also known as IDS has been getting away with lies and exaggerations, and as regular readers know, we have been running our 'Truth Campaign' for over two years.
From our open letter to Esther McVey (remember her), to our petition to the Work & Pensions Committee which went to Parliament, we are still going on, with our current petition IDS – TIME TO STOP THE LIES.
It is the breadth of lies issued by each of the various Ministers under IDS along with his own, and if you’re feeling masochistic and want to read more, search lies on Jayne Linney's blog alone, that makes me ask the question I began with – what the Fuck has IDS over the Tories?
I fail to understand why, they tolerate someone who alone, demonstrates every reason why this Government cannot be trusted; further I cannot comprehend why the public are not screaming about it either?
I am fully aware of how difficult it is to keep on fighting when you are suffering.
I have not written, or done anything other than the bare minimum, for almost 2 months, due to very poor physical health and an exceptionally dangerously dark state of mind!
BUT, I cannot and will not stop, pushing to have the Lies of all Ministers of the DWP Exposed – it is these Lies and Spin that drive the policies which, according to coroner Mary Hassell, Triggered the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan, and most likely many many more.
If this bothers you as much as it does me, please let’s have a HUGE push to have #IDS Indicted.
No matter how futile it would be to ask Kathryn Hudson the Commissioner for Standards to investigate IDS, gaining a large number of signatures should afford us with enough media coverage to help actually get rid of IDS from the DWP; and that would make me feel better, how about you?
SIGN IDS – TIME TO STOP THE LIES, Share it and keep on sharing until the mainstream media can ignore it no longer.
By Jayne Linney, Leicester
“A commitment was made to publish updated figures in May 2015 during the Work and Pensions Select Committee review of sanctions in February 2015.”
Now I may be a little cynical here but if these figures were to be published last month – Where Are They.
I have been unable to find them, and also tried to think of reasons for a delay, but in the end could only arrive at the conclusion the DWP are hoping the data update announcement will be forgotten.
I’d like to know just how many claims and refusals have been made for Hardship Funds since March 2012, mostly because I think its highly likely there will be substantial growth in these claims? And also because this promise to publish data in the future, has been used numerous times before, including queries regarding the number of Benefit related deaths.
So I have submitted my own FOI request–
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
In your recent response to FOI – Hardship Fund for claimant facing financial difficulties? made 28 April 2015 by JCG ; on May 29 2015 you stated “A commitment was made to publish updated figures in May 2015 during the Work and Pensions Select Committee review of sanctions in February 2015.”
Therefore, my request is where and when are these numbers to be published?
I’ll keep you posted.
#Together WE Fight for Our Survival
Check out Jayne's blog here
Jayne Linney, Leicester, UK
This is my first post in a few months, there’s been several reasons for this including an horrendous bout of depression, an operation and masses of work for DEAEP, our new course starts next week. There has also been one issue that has taken over what little energy I have left after this; a month ago I was asked if I’d be interested in working on the setting up of a unifying group for disabled people to fight the Government.
Anyone that’s read my blogs is well aware I’m committed to collective working and collaboration, most of my posts end with some form of plea for Unity or Togetherness, so of course I said yes. To my horror, in this very short period of time several of those willing to do the backroom work have been bullied and verbally assaulted by the same people who purport to believe in campaigning and challenging for our rights. So much so, that a number of the individuals willing to use their spare energy have said they can no longer continue; I simply do not understand this!
What the **** is going on, when those of us Fighting for our lives under this Tory regime of Austerity and Cuts, are attacked by our peers; isn’t it enough that people are dying through the bullying of JobCentre and other DWP staff, without resorting to this behaviour ourselves?
When #homelessness is soaring and people are being evicted from their homes due to the costs of the #BedroomTax, or the #BenefitCap; when the loss of ESA or PIP, through flawed and biased ‘assessments is causing people to choose to stay warm or fed; what will happen to those on #ILF that lose their Care packages in 3 weeks? Isn’t all of this enough to make people angry enough to challenge the Government and to work WITH their peers and not attack them?
I totally agree that different opinions are essential for any project to get off the ground, and this means different beliefs being aired and people feeling frustrated their thoughts aren’t being taken into account; I’m aware not everyone feels a unifying organisation is the way forward and that’s fine. I recognise the pressure we are ALL under and realise that sometimes we say things we might not mean, I also acknowledge that on social media, the words we write can often come across as something different to what we actually meant but…this is NOT what happened here; this was selective Bullying.
People were reading derogatory comments and joining in, it was made personal, through targeted attacks on individuals; all who have been involvined in online campaigning for the past four years at least. If this behaviour had happened on the street and from a group of non-disabled people, many of us would be (rightly in my book) shouting about hate crime; this is how serious I take what has has occurred.
The outcome is not only that abused individuals felt the need to leave the unifying group, several have left the world of disability activism completely; and what a loss!
All that knowledge and experience held by these individuals, lost from campaigning and no longer available to work on the real fight.
To close, I want to state some of us are continuing to work on developing a unifying project for disabled people, a group that can challenge the Government with authority; but it is with great sadness that not only will the work be much more difficult without the lost expertise, but that we’ve lost true campaigners to bullying from within.
I hope that those involved in these abusive attacks realise the damage they’ve caused, not only to the individual victims of their abuse but to the disabled movement; remember when our enemies see this behaviour it only serves to further their cause.
ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT FOR OUR SURVIVAL
Check out Jayne's blog here
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