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PIP Home visit

Hi all, has anyone here had a home visit? I have just opened my letter (had to reapply for PIP, was on DLA) to see that they are coming round to do my assessment, how do these work? Do they make you run up the stairs (joking)? I am obviously extremely anxious about this as I am one of those people who look ok most of the time, but feel dreadful most of the time, so I am curious to hear whether other people have gone through this xx

I had a home assessment for PIP – they seem to be more common in CAPITA rather than ATOS areas. I wasn’t happy and I did try – unsuccessfully – to have my appointment moved to their local assessment centre but with no success (I don’t really like the hassle of having people coming to the house and I also have two very friendly dogs that a lot of visitors find quite overwhelming!)

I managed to get myself quite worked up about the whole thing and I was very stressed. However, it turned out to be a much better experience in my case than I was dreading. The lady who did my assessment was not a doctor or a nurse – she was an Occupational Therapist. I know some people get very annoyed about the idea of being assessed by somebody who is not a “proper” medical person but she seemed to have an infinitely better grasp of what MS involves than the “professionals” I have heard other people on here talk about.

When I thought of it, this made sense – her professional expertise is in assessing people’s physical and functional needs. She seemed to have a better grasp of MS than, for example, the ATOS nurse who assessed me for my occupational health review at work. That person was quite open about the fact that she had little or no knowledge or experience of MS at all.

With regards to the assessment itself, the assessor does look at you quite closely with regards to how you generally move etc as much as they ask you specific questions. So, when I saw her completed assessments I can see how she had noted how quickly I was able to come to the front door to answer it, how I wall surfed in order to get around and how I wasn’t the most dexterous of people picking up pieces of paper to show her etc etc. Without specifically asking me questions she did also note that there were obvious aids and adaptations in the house eg an umbrella stand full of walking sticks and crutches, the additional handrails going upstairs and the car with a blue badge parked outside. I suppose it all went a little bit like a low-budget episode of Sherlock!

She did ask me questions but these were basically going through the answers that were on my application form. These were useful because at least I could confirm with her that she had received and understood all of the documentation I had submitted with the application. This is very useful because she had thought that the two reports I submitted from my neurologist were duplicates (my neurologist is a big fan of cut and paste so the first page of all her reports do tend to look identical!

My assessor did not do very much in the way of physical examination at all. This is explained in her report as because she could see that I was very fatigued. This was ironic because I thought that I was having a particularly good day and I was quite lively! (My husband, who was there throughout, did have to point out to me when I saw her report that I am, perhaps, not as lively and able as I try and convince myself)

She certainly didn’t expect me to be running up and down stairs!

I definitely would recommend that you do have somebody present during the assessment – if only for your own peace of mind. A couple of days after the assessment you are entitled to get a copy of the assessor’s report which the DWP case officer uses to make their decision. Definitely do this as it gives a very, very good idea about what the eventual decision will be so it either A) takes the stress away if it is likely to be a favourable decision or B) gives you additional time to get your information and arguments together for any mandatory reconsideration/appeal.

I really hope your assessment goes well. I would like to say don’t worry but I can’t imagine that anybody would find this not to be a stressful experience. However as my mother would have said, “Just tell the truth and shame the Devil”

Whilst I believe that I was fortunate in the person who carried out my assessment it remains the case that I did not do anything but tell the truth. I am not a bad actor but I certainly could not have put on a performance for the full assessment

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One thing I would say, though, is be prepared for them to turn up five or 10 minutes before their given time. From what I have seen on Benefits and Work this is quite a regular thing for them to do and appears to be quite deliberate. I don’t know whether they are expecting to catch us doing a quick Zumba workout before they arrive or what! (It would appear to be the equivalent of how they watch people arriving at the assessment centre and note how well they walk when they do not realise that they are being watched.)

In my case, this actually worked in my favour! When she arrived 10 minutes early my husband was still getting dressed after a shower so I had to answer the door. This meant that she could see how long it took me and could see how I walked through the window in the front door.

Also, make sure that you have copies of any documents that you sent in with your application.

Everything that you sent should have been scanned into the file she has on her computer. However, mistakes do happen – documents are omitted, double sided reports are only scan single side and, like I said in my case, similar looking reports are wrongly seen as being duplicates.

If you have any further documents that you didn’t include with your original application you can do a copy to the assessor who will be able to upload them when they return to the office.

Oh it does rile me how upset this chuffin palaver makes us!

It really does.

When are they coming!

Pollsx

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Hi polls, they are coming next thursday so I have enough time to get my head around it but not so long that it makes me ill with worry for a month!

sophie xx

Hi Boblatina, thank u so much for that long response, appreciated… I am currently printing off my form copies, and have got b and w so can use that for advice too. iT IS just so frustrating when u have MS, or anycondition, had an indefinite dla award but now have to go through it all again, but there you go, its just got to be done. I dont mind them coming to my house really, its a mess but cant do much about that, my husband willl be here too so that will help. Thanks again for the detailed reply, I hope it didnt wear you out too much to write all that down x

Sophie xx

I’ve had 2 home visits in the last 4 years, one only a couple of months ago, both by Capita, and on both occasions the assessor’s were wonderful.

I was asked many questions, which I just answered honestly, then right at the very end I was simply asked to do a grab test by squeezing the assessors fingers and also TRY and stand up and go on my tip toes, the standing I did by helping myself up with the arm of the chair but the tip toe bit I didnt even bother because I already know my balance is not great and when I explained this it was not a problem at all.

My suggestion would be is to NOT panic, be yourself, explain how MS really does affect you, TAKE YOUR TIME EXPLAINING, and dont worry you’ll be fine.

I did print off every letter, document, medical reports ect ect, but was not asked for anything on both visits, apparently they (assessors) already have what they need, but it wont hrm having all your documents at hand, just in case !

My sister also has MS, and has had it for a number of years so has had a few home visits, and each time everything was fine, just like my visits.

Thank you jactac, that was very reassuring to read, and helpful. thank you so much for explaining all that to me…

Sophie xxx

Hiya

I had my home visit a couple of days ago. She was a nice ATOS nurse who knew people with MS. A lot of the questions she asked was from the form I had filled in. For example. Do you use an aid to eat?

There was a brief physical test. “Squeeze my fingers. Shake your head from side to side. Lift your arms up and then out horizontally. Push against me”. Well now I could do that and I think I will class myself as a paralympian with my trusted rollator in toe!

I await the results with bated breath but that can take months - she said!

Take care,

Marty

Hi Marty Like I said above it is a good idea to ring the DWP to ask for a copy of the assessor’s report. 99 times out of a 100 it mirrors what the final award is so you aren’t kept on tenterhooks for too long.

A copy of the report is also essential if you disagree with the award and have to ask for mandatory reconsideration. I had a home assessment and the woman who came to see me was lovely to talk to. Her report was another matter, full of inaccuracies and omissions. I know that some of the problems I had with my PIP application were because I expected Capita to get the medical evidence on my behalf (they didn’t), but the report made me wonder how much the assessor had listened.

Exactly so. My point is that everybody should get a copy as soon as they can. If it is positive it stops worrying too much. If negative it gives you more time to gather the ammunition for challenging the final decision. The clock for reconsideration and appeals starts running when the DWP makes its decision and the time limits are strict. Avoiding having to play catchup is always a good thing!

i had my home visit from a nurse she was quite nice actually was surprised . all in it took about 1hr 20 mins,she didnt have me pole vaulting lol. she was surprised she was there in the 1st place as she could clearly see my my condition . hopefully everything goes well i pray, cant sleep with the worry and huge amounts of stress and anxiety its all i worry about 24/7. last time i had too go through an appeal the dwp damaged my mental heralth with there bullshity cause thats what it is . sorry rant over. ope everyone has a wonderfull new year , best wishes john in bonnie scotland!

hiya john any relation to danny?! ellie

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A long time ago, I had some clown come to my flat. He pressed my back three times whilst I was lying on the sofa, and then spent the next hour talking about my beautiful persian cats. (They are all dead now) I anticipate a slightly harder nedical this time around !! (Currently awaiting PIP forms… the SCUM told my wife I should receive them by the end of this month.) I have given my 2 new persian cats a pep talk and told them to be extra gorgeous when the time comes around. I am quite sure they will not let me down. So my advice is buy a cat or two. Good luck.