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The Face-to-Face Assessment 

As part of the assessment processes for PIP and ESA, most people will be invited to a face to face assessment after completing the PIP2, ESA50 or UC50 form. These are carried out at independent assessment centres. At the assessment you will be asked about how your condition affects you.

Face to face assessments have been suspended due to Coronavirus. You will now be assessed over the phone.


Physical examination


You may be asked for your consent for the assessor to carry out a physical examination to look at your strength and range of motion. You shouldn't force yourself to do any movements, and if you are in pain you should explain this to the assessor. If you know that doing any part of the physical examination will cause you significant discomfort you can tell the assessor that you would prefer not to do that part and explain why. 

The assessor may also ask you to do a memory task such as counting backwards from 100 to assess your cognitive ability.  

Informal observations

The assessor will make informal observations about how you seem physically and mentally. If you're in any physical pain, or if you're feeling anxious, you should tell the assessor. If you're feeling better than you usually do on the day of the assessment, you should tell the assessor and explain how you are most of the time. 


You shouldn't force yourself to do anything which causes you pain or discomfort. For example, if walking from the waiting area to the assessment room is causing you pain, you should explain this to the assessor and take breaks as you need.  Otherwise, the assessor may take this as evidence that you can walk without difficulty. 

Special adjustments for your assessment

At the end of your PIP2 form you will be asked if there are any adjustments you will need to be able to attend your face-to-face assessment. For example, if you use a wheelchair, you should ask for your assessment to take place in a wheelchair accessible room. If you can’t leave the house because of either a physical or mental health condition, you can request that your assessment takes place in your home. For example, if your GP usually visits your home, this would be a good reason for you to request a home assessment. If your assessment is more than 90 minutes away, and you have difficulty travelling long distances, you can request an alternative location or a home assessment.

If you are having a telephone assessment and you want a family member, friend or representative to be present, you can give the assessment centre their details and phone number to be included in the call. 

Travel expenses

You can claim travel expenses for getting to and from your medical assessment. If someone goes with you to and from the assessment they can also claim expenses. You should ask the receptionist at the assessment centre for an expenses claim form on the day, and include all your receipts. If you need to get a taxi to and from the assessment, you need to first get the approval of the assessment centre.

Recording face-to-face assessments

The DWP will allow you to make an audio recording of your PIP medical assessment. However, you will need to provide your own audio recording equipment. You should tell the DWP as soon as possible if you want to record your assessment. You should check the DWP’s rules on audio recording in section 1.6 Face to Face Consultation. Although it is not illegal to record your assessment without permission, if the assessor finds out you recording they can stop the assessment. Audio recordings can be submitted to tribunals as evidence, however it is up to the tribunal service whether they accept it.

For more information, or for help claiming benefits, please get in touch with our benefits team. We provide initial information and advice to everyone. We provide members of the Sheffield ME and Fibromyalgia Group with more detailed advice, casework and representation. 


Tel: +44 114 253 6700

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