This is a story about Capita’s abject failure to adjust its PIP assessment procedures for people who need adjustments.
Here’s a Personal Independence Payment decision letter received last week by Sean (named changed), a man in his 50s who has Asperger’s and severe depression and anxiety:
You’ll see the letter says that Sean – a long-term Disability Living Allowance recipient – has been denied PIP altogether. He has been denied PIP, because, the letter says, Sean “failed to comply at the assessment centre,” (Sean was assessed for PIP at a Capita assessment centre in earlier this year). That would appear to be that.
Except that it is not. I think this is a significant decision. It is significant because it suggests that Sean’s PIP assessors made no allowances or adjustments for Sean’s mental health and problems dealing with stress at his assessment. Sean says that he got angry and upset at his PIP assessment and that the assessor cut the meeting short, because Sean was clearly not able to cope. Now, Sean has been told that the official interpretation of this event is that he failed to comply at his PIP assessment. He won’t get PIP as a result.
This makes me wonder. It certainly makes me wonder how things pan out for other PIP applicants who have complex spectrum diagnoses and mental health conditions, and who exhibit so-called challenging behaviour in stressful situations such as PIP assessments. Is it One Strike And You’re Out for everybody? Does Capita actually have processes in place to make sure that people who clearly struggle with assessments have other assessment options? Sean says that the Capita assessor suggested a home assessment when his face-to-face meeting was ended – but the home assessment never happened. It turned out that Sean and his GP were responsible for organising a home meeting themselves. (I rang the DWP to try and get to the bottom of all of this and the officer I spoke to said that was how the “system” worked). Sean didn’t realise this. The upshot was that a home visit never took place.