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What are Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments?

Photo: Your child should tell the assessor about difficulties due to their deafness and any help that they need

What is an assessment for?

The assessment is a chance for the person dealing with your child’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim to find out more about them and their needs, and to check that all the information they have is correct.

What will happen at the assessment?

The assessment will be at an assessment centre or your home – the appointment letter will explain where and when it is. If your child can’t go they’ll need to arrange a different time – the letter will explain how to do this.

If your child misses the assessment they may not get any Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If your child needs a sign language interpreter, they should use the contact details on the letter to arrange for one to be at the assessment.

It’s a good idea to write some notes before the assessment to remind your child how their deafness affects them and what support they need (keeping it relevant to the PIP activities and descriptors).

If possible go with your child to the assessment, or encourage them to take another family member, friend or teacher with them to help explain how their deafness affects their life. You might want to take notes about what happens in the assessment in case your child needs to ask the PIP office to look at their claim again or appeal.

If your child normally wears hearing aids or cochlear implants, they should wear these for the assessment. When they’re talking to the assessor it’s very important to be honest. Your child doesn’t need to pretend that they find things any easier or harder than they actually do – just explain exactly how they are.

Make sure they tell the assessor about everything that they find difficult because of their deafness and any help that they need.

Possible problems at assessments

Sometimes, signers or interpreters aren’t booked, despite the assessor agreeing to do so. It’s a good idea to call the assessment centre at least two or three days before the assessment to confirm that an interpreter has been booked.

Assessment centres should be set up to be very good for hearing, with very little background noise, and this can give a misleading impression of how well your child can communicate in the real world.

It’s important that your child makes it clear to the assessor that they can’t always hear as well as they can in the ideal conditions of the assessment room.

Complaining about assessments

Your child can complain about any aspect of the assessment process where they feel they’ve been treated unfairly. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for these assessments even though they’re privatised.

If your child is unhappy they can complain to the assessment provider. It's a good idea to copy the complaint to the DWP as well.