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How far were you asked to travel for a PIP assessment?

When there was an enormous backlog for personal independence payment (PIP) assessments, claimants were often given an appointment at a distant assessment centre, even though there was one much closer to them.

The explanation given was that it was necessary to book claimants in wherever there were available appointments, rather than keeping them waiting for the closest centre to have a vacancy.

But those enormous waiting lists have vanished now, with waiting times generally down to weeks rather than months.

Yet we’re still hearing from members who are being asked to travel almost 90 minutes for a face-to-face assessment, even when there is a centre in their own town.

Very often this means that the claimant cancels the first appointment. But then they must attend the next appointment they are given, no matter how problematic, or risk being refused PIP for failure to attend an assessment.

We would like to find out how common and how widespread this issue is. So, please let us know by commenting below or dropping us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and telling us how far you were asked to travel to a medical, when this happened and whether there was another centre closer to you.  If you can tell us whether Atos or Capita were carrying out your assessment, that would be really helpful too.

Comments  

#40 marie 2016-03-14 19:51
i was sent to Walsall, 9.15 am, i cannot get dressed and showered or move till about 11am. i have fibromyaligia, severe, poly arthritis, lipaprotein, causes early heart disease, angina, tmj, ibs, small arteries disease, frozen shoulder, and spondylitis of the spine, fibrosis of liver,and kidney disease. i asked for a nearer assessment office so they sent me to one nearer my home. you have to walk 3 metres to the door twenty meters to the reception area, and a further 25 meters to the assessment office, i cried i could not do the walk, i asked for a wheelchair they said no they do not have one. they moved the office nearer for me, but did not put it on my assessment report i sat for two hours crying in severe pain. i have severe degeneration in my knee caps the dr advised me i will need two new knee caps. severe arthritis in my two feet and shins. i am 60 i was asked to stand on my tip toes, and bend over. which i did not or could not, the assessor stated i had high cholesterol , no its called a genetic disease that cannot be cured . the decision maker contradicted the assessor, and the whole assessment was illegal . they took my medical evidence from before my last tribunal which i won, its illegal , i would never have known only my mp and a solicitor who knows about the benefits, saw my medical reports and said i am taking this case on. by the time she had finished i had an apology from dwp and was awarded my mobility back, they concluded that although my illness was stable at the moment i will never get better, and with an apology awarded me ongoing.
#39 sheilah 2016-02-15 22:31
Quoting Pauly:
I would like to say a big thankyou to the people on here and this forum in general. I have got my result from my PiP assessment, despite having to go to Lancaster Ridge Lea Hospital, a 100 mile round trip which almost finished me off, I have been awarded Enhanced for both components and for the maximum review time as my condition will not change.
As much as I am happy about the award, I am crying because it tells me mentally that this is it for me and I stand (excuse the pun) no chance of getting better. The award will help me in day to day things and also long term.
Thankyou for your support here, without it I would have canceled my appointment. Good luck to everyone with their assessments.
Pauly

I am so pleased to hear that you had a positive outcome,despite having such an ordeal getting to the assessment. Even having to spell out everything that is problematic and why in order to complete the forms made me feel really depressed as I had to face up to the extent of my limitations and getting a decision, albeit a good one, confirms this. I hope that the award will serve to make life more comfortable for you.
#38 Pauly 2016-02-13 12:04
I would like to say a big thankyou to the people on here and this forum in general. I have got my result from my PiP assessment, despite having to go to Lancaster Ridge Lea Hospital, a 100 mile round trip which almost finished me off, I have been awarded Enhanced for both components and for the maximum review time as my condition will not change.
As much as I am happy about the award, I am crying because it tells me mentally that this is it for me and I stand (excuse the pun) no chance of getting better. The award will help me in day to day things and also long term.
Thankyou for your support here, without it I would have canceled my appointment. Good luck to everyone with their assessments.
Pauly
#37 Ceebee44 2016-02-02 13:51
I was asked to attend a PIP assessment in Dundee, Tayside on the 7th Jan. I live in Fife and it takes around 30 minutes by car, or and hour by public transport. However, because my appointment was at 9am, it took nearer 50 minutes to get there due to rush hour traffic. Even so, I still feel a lot luckier than most of the people who have commented. I had been previously to Dundee, but was astonished to find that they have moved from offices with a car park (AND a multi-storey car park next door), to an office on a main, 4 lane, road with no parking/stoppin g anywhere nearby at all. Luckily my hubby drove me there and just stopped in front of the building. He just had to hold up traffic until I got out and then the same when picking me up. We weren't too popular with other drivers I can tell you! I'm still waiting to hear about my award, though the woman told me she was going to advise I be 'left alone for 5 years' as it's obvious my condition is not going to improve, just get worse. It's the first time I felt the assessor had actually listened to what i was saying, but we'll have to see, when I get my letter, if that's the case or not. She also said to re-apply earlier if my condition worsens before the 5 years, as I might get more help. Which I guess means I'm not getting the higher level despite having been on that for 6 years. I'll be happy to get anything to be honest though - and to be left alone for 5 years would be bliss!
#36 sheilah 2016-01-21 15:12
Paul, please phone the assessors and spell out what you put in your comment about your disabilities and their effects and point out that they need to make reasonable adjustments as per the Equality Act 2010 for your individual disabilities, so sending out random appointments selected by computer is not good enough. Contact your MP too, as they can intervene on your behalf and they need to know what is being expected of people with complex disabilities and high pain levels.If the assessors make threatening noises, tell them that your MP is taking an interest in the failure to abide by the Equality Act and that you have very good reasons, as indicated in the evidence sent to the DWP that you cannot make journeys such as this and ask them to check what appointments are available now. Good Luck.
#35 Pauly 2016-01-21 14:47
Hi, I have recently applied for PiP and have got to the assessment stage. My letter arrived yesterday and after working out distance and travel it appears my appointment has been made 1hour 36 minutes away on public transport. I am unable to use public transport or sit in a car for the hour+ journey due to what I have.
I have severe disc problems (L6/S1 disc replacement (AxioMed) that failed, spinal stenosis L3/L4/L5) My legs lock up, I have numbness in fingers and on/off pins and needles in my left arm. I take Morphine of MST and Oral liquid combined with other meds that knock me out, I don't get any respite from the pain, even bending causes extra pain. I have had times of being stuck on the floor for days without access to any phones. My back issues started at 21, I am now nearly 40. I worked until I was 30 at which point I had to stop.
So after a quick search I see that I am able to maybe rearrange my appt due to the distance but with the possibility that I could end up with an appt that is even worse than the one they gave me.
I live in Wigan and my appt is in Lancaster, I know that Preston have an assessment place along with Burnley etc which are closer. I guess it's down to luck, which I don't have a lot of!
I'll be reading more on this forum/site over the next few days see what others have had experience with. Take care, Paul
#34 Derek Nelson-Wills 2016-01-13 14:12
I live in Worthing, W.Sussex and was told - in no uncertain terms, in 2014 - that I had to travel to Waterlooville, Hampshire - a distance of either A) 43 miles by publuc transport, meaning walking from home to Worthing station, then train to Cosham - possibly involving at least 1 change, followed by walking to the bus interchange at Hilsea and bus to the destination, or B). A drive of 36.4 miles - about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending upon traffic and diversions.

I challenged this by phone and was told that "If I failed to attend, my claim would be cancelled.

I waited a week, then phoned again - this time, SUCCESS! I was told that, due to my conditions, I would be assessed at home by a Doctor.

Result: an award of PIP (Standard rate) for both mobility and care, until May 2018.
#33 Emsy 2016-01-13 13:40
Quote:
i HAVE MANAGED TO GET AN APPOINTMENT IN bRISTOL, JUST A FEW MILES AWAY AT A REASONABLE TIME OF DAY TO SUIT MY FRIEND AND ME,.
Hi sheilah, I'm doing some research with Citizen's Advice in Bristol about people getting sent outside Bristol for PIP assessments, I'm just trying to get an idea of numbers at the mo so we can contact MPs - any chance you can get in touch so I can get an idea of how many people you've come across who've had this problem?
#32 Cornish Pysky 2015-12-29 19:43
l live in Rainham in Kent and don't drive, l had to travel to Canterbury in Kent at 18.15 so had to travel with an escort on the train, after not long undergoing open heart surgery, so wasn't in the best state, but was told l needed a face to face interview, which l struggled to attend then whenwe got off the train it was absolutely pouring with rain, only to be sat around sodden for an hour prior to my appt, it took 13 months to get a result... standard care until 2018
#31 sheilah 2015-12-23 19:59
I have a similar profile Hellyn re my own disabilities. I hope that you are not going to attend this appointment and that you will contact your MP about the bullying attitude of the DWP and ATOS. It is not your fault if you cannot attend. They are failing to make reasonable adjustments for disabilities about which they have been notified.in advance.and should do a home visit or offer an appointment at an accessible venue for you. It is important to find out what specialism the supposed health care professional has and to ask for their name and a copy of their report, in case you need to challenge any conclusions drawn.
I have irritable bladder and bowel issues with my fibromyalgia and could not cope with a public transport journey. Let them know if you have similar issues and ask to speak to an AROS manager concerning their discriminatory behaviour which your MP is looking into and stick to your guns about not being able to attend being their fault not yours.Good Luck!
#30 hellyn 2015-12-23 15:58
I have fibromyalgia, clinical depression/ anxiety, just recovering from breakdown, anxiety high, isolated to keep myself safe, depersonalised. I am unable to drive due to the strong meds and I live in a rural place 35 miles out of Exeter. I wrote all of this in my PIP form.
It takes 1.5+ by bus one way, it would in total be a 4 hour travel plus cab to get to the offices, which I could not handle, Taxi costs £80 for the double journey which I don't have, no trains here.
My first appt was Dec 24th at 9am?? Now someone with anxiety state last shopping day in the centre of Exeter? no **** way could I cope with that one, 9am? my meds knock me out till midday and I take till 2-3pm just to wake up enough to eat.
My gp asked for home assessment due to my condition and suicidal state..but no..they send me the worst appt ever.
I am anxious enough as the last PIP assessment I had was full of untruths, my 19 yr old son is my carer and couldnt believe someone would lie as they did, it opened his eyes up pretty quick..
Living rurally makes this medical all the more challenging, I will be a quivering wreck by the time I get there..it is not fair and is discriminatory to mental health sufferers.
#29 sheilah 2015-12-19 20:33
I posted on here about someone with severe visual impairments being expected to travel to a strange place too far away in the dark, I have contacted her and my MPS AND THEY ARE CONTACTING THE mINISTER FOR THE DISABLED ABOUT THIS. tHEY SENT HER ANOTHER APPOINTMENT IN THE SAME FAR TOWN FOR A LATER TIME, BUT i WAS VERY ASSERTIVE ABOUT THEM FAILING TO COMPLY WITH THE eQUALITY aCT, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD FULL INFO ABOUT DISABILITIES AND WERE BEING RUDE AND AGGRESSIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ASKED TO CHANGE APPOINTMENTS FOR VALID REASONS. pLEASE CONTACT YOUR mP AND EXPLAIN WHY THE APPOINTMENTS GIVEN ARE DIFFICULT/IMPOS SIBLE AND ASK THEM TO INTERVENE AS atos's failure to have enough appointments and assessors available should not be interpreted as a disabled person's unwillingmess to comply. A while ago, there was a huge backlog of appointments and I think that ther nstink about this has led to the DWP saying it was OK to expect anyone who goes out of the house, however difficult it may be, can travel for up to 1 1/2 hours, when this is not possible. ATOS seem to assume that anyone with severe disabilities will have a support worker, but many do not, as they aRE WAITING FOR pip TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD AIDS/SUPPORT THAT IS NEEDED. tHE APPOINTMENTS ARE GIVEN BY COMPUTER, WITH NO REFERENCE TO THE INFO SENT TO THE dwp, SO atos ONCE MADE AWARE OF DIFFICULTIES TRAVELLING SHOULD MAKE REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS. i HAVE MANAGED TO GET AN APPOINTMENT IN bRISTOL, JUST A FEW MILES AWAY AT A REASONABLE TIME OF DAY TO SUIT MY FRIEND AND ME, AS i AM ALSO SEVERELY DISABLED AND SHE NEEDS MY SUPPORT AND KNOWLEDGE. pLEASE POINT OUT TO mpS THAT CHARITIES AND OTHER ORGANISATIONS CANNOT SPARE THE TIME AND RESOURCES TO GO WITH PEOPLE TO DISTANT APPOINTMENTS A LONG WAY AWAY AS THIS CAN WASTE A WHOLE DAY FOR AN HOUR LONG ASSESSMENT WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS LIKELY TO BE COMPLETELY INACCURATE.
#28 Georgina 2015-12-19 19:14
I have been given an 8 am appointment in a town I don't know about 30 miles away. I phoned to ask for a better time as I'm not good in the mornings anyway. They said the only appointment available was for the same time 3 weeks later. Nothing else available. I had stressed in my paperwork that I have difficulties with strange journeys and am at my worst in the mornings, so I think they did this on purpose to prove that I can overcome these obstacles.
#27 Fiona 2015-12-16 21:29
I was first asked to attend Barnsley, which is a round trip of 40 miles from my house, which is at least 1.5 hours of driving or over 3 hours by public transport (although that would not actually be physically possible for me). Barnsley is in a different county and I have never been there. To make matters worse, the letter suggested that the nearest disabled parking was 300m away from the assessment centre - so presumably if I had managed to walk that, my claim would have been dismissed! Also, they only gave 8 days notice and I work, and I had a job interview that day.

I phoned customer services and asked to rearrange. I had to negotiate quite assertively: at first, the woman would only offer me an appointment 48 hours ahead on Sunday! I was busy, and at first she threatened to send my form back saying I would not attend. After a bit of cajoling, she agreed to look at dates later in the week of the original appointment. She found one the following day, in Leeds, which is in fact slightly further, but somewhere more familiar.
+1 #26 megawatt27 2015-12-16 17:51
Hi, I was required to travel 11 miles to Warrington (I live in Liverpool and could have much easier attended the centre there). Whilst waiting for 30 minutes, a lady came in accompanied by her Father and explained to the receptionist that she had requested her Father's assessment be transferred to Warrrington (where she lived) from Lancaster, the original centre to which they had tried to send him!!
#25 EllayBee 2015-12-16 16:32
My husband got 3 days notice for his PIP medical at Lancaster at 9am which would be over an hour without rush hour traffic. He has bipolar and a severe spinal injury. He's in constant pain and has acute anxiety and paranoia about going out. I immediately called Atos to ask for an appointment at our local centre 5 mins away but was told the DWP think it is acceptable to travel up to 90 minutes. I was also told we would be reimbursed fuel or train fare. However, the bottom line is I could just about persuade him to go 5 mins down the road. The chances of getting to Lancaster for 9am were non existent. I also explained I am his main carer and I have an autistic child and a primary school child to get to school at that time with no family or friends nearby for support. I was told they could only make appointments up to the end of the following week and nothing was available. I was offered another centre at Warrington but still too far. I said I could probably get him to another 3 centres less than 30 mins away but no appointments there either. I asked for a home visit but due to mental health problems they said it was classed as too high risk so they couldn't. I asked how we could resolve this. They said to keep the appointment but not turn up if we really couldn't. DWP will then write to find out why. I said it was impossible to go so what a waste of time and money leaving the appointment open. The woman also typed up everything I said and hopefully what my husband was ranting about in the background having got so agitated by this. She said it would go to DWP as evidence we had tried to change the appointment. We have yet to hear anything and my husband is mentally in a bad way worrying over this. I volunteer as a benefits adviser at the CAB and I have not come across this before. Waiting to see what DWP have to say.
#24 mags b 2015-12-16 13:39
I had to go to Lancaster for my DLA to PIP assessment, a round trip of 86 miles. It takes 3hrs by public transport to get there and then you have to get back with no means of travelling the last 5miles as the last bus has already been and gone. I drove to the old hospital (90mins) and then couldn't park near the doors so I struggled to walk inside. Guess what the claim result was, yes I've lost my mobility side of it. Not a happy bunny but I've asked for it to be looked at again and I'm awaiting the reply. By the way, I need an aid to get dressed cos I sit on the toilet to do so! Gotta laugh!!!!
#23 Paul 2015-12-16 13:14
I was given a home assessment by PIP. That was on 9 December. Told I would hear from whoever in 4-8 weeks. I live in Pembroke SW Wales. Paul
#22 Kasbah 2015-12-10 22:44
When I found out I would have to travel 24 miles to Cardiff I told Capita I couldnt manage it and managed to get them to agree for someone to ring and arrange a home assessment. So imagine my shock and distress when I received a letter this week with an appointment booked at the Centre for a week's time! I had a full blown panic attack. Am still fighting to have a home visit...
+1 #21 angela 2015-12-07 12:47
Just found out DWP has closed the assessment centre in the la144aj
area so will have to go to the one at Lancaster which is a good 50miles away i think they do this so some people will just not turn up

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