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An increasing number of claimants are losing their benefits because PIP assessors doing home visits say there was no-one there when they called, but the claimant insists that the assessor never arrived.

This week the Independent carried the story of Michelle Moloney who has bipolar disorder. Michelle’s DLA was stopped and she was refused PIP because, the DWP claimed, she had failed to be present when a Capita assessor arrived to carry out a home assessment.

Michelle complained to Capita. But they responded that as the assessor was able to give a description of her house, they would not uphold the complaint.

It was only after the Independent contacted Capita that it was suddenly discovered that the assessor had allegedly turned up at the wrong time. The DWP agreed to send the case back to Capita and Michelle now has a new date for an assessment.

In the meantime, however, Michelle is £685 a month worse off and has been living off bread and cheese and suffering from increased anxiety.

Sadly Michelle is far from alone.

We are seeing an increasing number of posts in the Benefits and Work forum from claimants who have had a similar experience.

One poster told us that they had waited in for an assessment with a friend present, but no-one turned up. Our member informed Capita by phone after 15 minutes and was told that the assessor’s phone was switched off.

But Capita subsequently claimed that the assessor had arrived on time, knocked repeatedly and waited 15 minutes before leaving. The assessor also claimed to have phoned the claimants landline twice but had been unable to leave a message, though our member says they have an answerphone. The assessor was able to say what colour the window sills and the front door were.

However, our member was able to obtain CCTV footage from a neighbour which they say shows that no-one knocked on their door at the stated time.

After three months the DWP sent our member’s file back to Capita and an assessment took place at a Capita centre instead.

Another member had a similar experience of an assessor not appearing, but was told by Capita that the assessor had turned up and was able to describe the car on their drive and the colour of their front door.

This member has CCTV footage of the outside their house which they say showed someone driving into their cul-de-sac at the time of the assessment and then reversing straight out again.

These may be isolated incidents based on genuine misunderstandings and mix-ups about times or addresses. Or they may be evidence of something more disturbing: assessors under time pressure doing a drive-by of a claimant’s home and then claiming to have called.

At this point we have no way of knowing, but we would be interested to hear of other readers’ experiences using the comments section below.

Comments  

#10 Jennie 2018-04-19 22:02
I would like to add to the above I was due a home visit for my PIP today the time was between 10 & 12. At 12.15 still no one arrived. I do live in an area difficult to find so I called who used to be ATOS the day I got my appointment and explained my concerns . I gave them clear directions how to find me plus checked they had both phone numbers to contact me. When I called them they said the assessor had been at my house and described the colour of my house and door. I have a large doorbell in the middle of my door and when touched even lightly makes a loud noise I also have 2 small yappy dogs who go nuts when anyone comes into the drive way far less ring the bell. To come to my front door you have too pass my living room window there is no way me or my carer could have missed anyone today. Now I feel totally powerless I have made an official complaint to ATOS and to the DWP but still been left with no idea what they intend to do about it so if any newspaper wish to pick up the comment and assist with this I would be delighted
#9 fil501 2018-04-13 13:38
Quoting mrfibrospondodysthmatic:
How can one take photos and get a gps/ timestamp ? i'd like to know how to do it on my mobile phone.

Quoting jace:
I wrote this some few years ago now
I've heard of two reports in the past where ATOS assessors haven't turned up, but have said they did and that the person wasn't at home. So, if they're late, get on the phone to ATOS or Capita and ask where they are. Just to cover you in the unlikely situation that happens to you. Follow it up with a confirmatory email -
PIP-customerservice@atos.net
contactus@capita-pip.co.uk
Include your full name and NI number and the details - time, date, name of person you speak to and what was said - in the body of the email.


Also record the phone call if your phone allows you to. It's almost essential for anything DWP related, as they aren't the most honest bunch of people :cry:
#8 jace 2018-04-13 09:20
I wrote this some few years ago now
I've heard of two reports in the past where ATOS assessors haven't turned up, but have said they did and that the person wasn't at home. So, if they're late, get on the phone to ATOS or Capita and ask where they are. Just to cover you in the unlikely situation that happens to you. Follow it up with a confirmatory email -
PIP-customerservice@atos.net
contactus@capita-pip.co.uk
Include your full name and NI number and the details - time, date, name of person you speak to and what was said - in the body of the email.
#7 fil501 2018-04-12 22:10
Quoting mrfibrospondodysthmatic:
How can one take photos and get a gps/ timestamp ? i'd like to know how to do it on my mobile phone.


The option is usually in the camera's settings :-)
#6 mrfibrospondodysthmatic 2018-04-12 19:22
How can one take photos and get a gps/ timestamp ? i'd like to know how to do it on my mobile phone.
+2 #5 Crazydiamond 2018-04-12 10:39
Quote:
Michelle complained to Capita. But they responded that as the assessor was able to give a description of her house....
All the assessor has to do to give a description of a house, is to use Google Street Maps, so the contention by Capita that he/she can give a description of the house is far from compelling evidence of a visit!
+1 #4 Lisa 2018-04-12 01:00
After thinking this 'reporting no one in' had happened only at my daughters Esa home assessment, I feel it is an absolute outrageous example of how low the Dwp will go to deny benefit to the ones that truly deserve it. Im sure this is considered a great way to get rid of the claims that would never score low enough to be given nothing, due to the nature of the condition the claimant is presenting with. My daughter has so much evidence from specialists, mri scans, ct scans, hospital records, doctors records and amongst other things an actual real, measurable abnormality of the brain itself...presen t from birth with no hope whatsoever of the brain part thats missing growing back or the brain part that is there allbeit underdeveloped, suddenly growing to the size it would be in someone without her condition...Ive often said to the various depts that have so many times tried to stop my daughters benefits by saying that she is cured now.....that statement isnt one that worries me, on the contrary its s statement I used to dream of being told. Unfortunately I really would have to insist on scan results being done and the results presented with such a statement....on ly then would I be able to celebrate my daughters miraculous recovery...with out a thought given to the benefits she would lose...do they really believe a diagnosis of nothing wrong would be anything but the most joyous words Id ever heard?
+2 #3 Windy days 2018-04-11 12:58
I put in for an MR sent in 9th feb rang dwp 2 weeks ago they said they are looking into it and would get in touch by phone and letter by thr 9th april still not heard anything so thats 9weeks they said it should only take 6 weeks there are just a joke but any overpayment made by them they are on your case straight away
+2 #2 AngieB 2018-04-11 12:35
This is not new. During my ESA assessment in 2013 the same ATOS assessor twice claimed to have called to do a home assessment and I was out. ATOS never explained how, on the first occasion, the letter stating that the assessor had called arrived via the post 2 hours before she was due to arrive and the second time how she had allegedly got in to a secure building and not only had we not seen her knock on our door we had also not heard the landline, my mobile or my son's mobile.
#1 fil501 2018-04-11 09:44
This happened last year to someone I knew, who was having an ESA home assessment. Thankfully when no-one arrived he had the sense to take photos of the inside of his home with the GPS/time stamp activated on his smartphone.

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