Assessments

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re here to help you understand the assessment process. This is a good place to start if you are looking for answers to your questions. You may also contact our Customer Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm. You can also email our Customer Relations team on customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk(link sends e-mail)

If required, a Customer Relations Manager will be happy to call you back Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

 

What if I am unhappy about the benefit decision from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)?

If you are unhappy about the decision made by DWP, you may ask them to reconsider their decision. If you want to do this, please contact the office listed on your decision letter.

What will happen to my complaint about your service?

Our aim is to deal with your complaint fairly, consistently and in a timely manner. We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days.

We aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days. Sometimes our investigation may take longer because we may need to:

– Obtain a copy of the report or questionnaire from the office dealing with your claim
– Obtain information from the Healthcare Professional or other employees involved

If we find any inaccuracies on your report, we will notify the office dealing with your claim. It is for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide whether our findings change their decision about your benefit entitlement.

The Health Assessment Advisory Service cannot change the decision of DWP on your benefit or request a new assessment.

What if I am not satisfied with your response to my complaint?

Please contact the Health Assessment Advisory Service Customer Relations team, explaining which parts of your complaint have not been addressed to your satisfaction. A senior manager will personally review the investigation into your complaint and undertake a further investigation, if appropriate.

Can I take my complaint further?

The Health Assessment Advisory Service provides assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If you continue to be dissatisfied with the complaint process, you can contact the DWP Independent Case Examiner at:

Independent Case Examiner
PO Box 209, Bootle, L20 7WA
Email: ice@dwp.gov.uk(link sends e-mail)
Telephone: 0800 169 0310

Learn more(link is external) about the Independent Case Examiner.

How long will I have to wait for my face-to-face assessment?

Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early to help us make sure there is enough space for everyone to keep a safe distance from each other.

You may have to wait to enter the Assessment Centre. Please follow any signs or markings on the pavement outside the Assessment Centre. Remember to keep 2 metres apart from anybody else and staff will be available to help you.

There are some instances, such as unusual delays or staff illness, when appointments have to be cancelled. If we have to cancel, we would always try to inform you before you travel to your appointment.

On rare occasions, an appointment is cancelled and we may not be able to notify you before you arrive at the Assessment Centre. If we cancel your appointment when you are at the Assessment Centre, we will reimburse your travel expenses. We will rearrange the appointment as soon as possible.

Can I see a copy of my Assessment Report?

You can see the report completed by the Healthcare Professional after it has been sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If you want a copy, you can call the DWP office that is looking after your claim. The telephone number for the DWP office can be found on the letters you have received from them about your benefit claim.

For Jobcentre Plus benefits, to get the correct number, please call 0800 169 0310. If you have speech or hearing difficulties, you can call Jobcentre Plus by text phone on 0800 169 0314.

For Disability and Carers’ benefits, to get the correct number, please call 0800 169 0310. If you have speech or hearing difficulties, you can call by text phone on 0800 169 0314.

How do I request an audio recorded assessment?

We will accommodate requests for an audio recorded assessments where possible and provide the equipment to do this. However, you must make a request for an audio recording before the assessment takes place.

If you would like your assessment to be audio recorded, please call our Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. Our lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. Please make your request as early as possible so it is part of the appointment booking process.

You can find more information, including an explanation of the DWP policy about the audio recording of Work Capability Assessments, on the Government’s website(link is external).

Can I have the assessment carried out in my home?

We are currently unable to offer home visits due to COVID-19 restrictions.

If you think you cannot travel because of your medical condition, please contact us as soon as possible. Our Healthcare Professionals will then consider all available information. It is likely we will ask you for supporting information, including confirmation from a medical professional who is treating you.

We may be able to offer a pre-paid taxi to the Assessment Centre or provide a telephone assessment as an alternative.

Does the Health Assessment Advisory Service decide on my benefits claim?

No. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) makes the decision on your benefits claim. Read more about our partnership with DWP.

How much time do I have to complete the questionnaire?

You will usually have up to four weeks to complete and return the questionnaire. We send a reminder after three weeks. The due date will be on the letter that comes with the questionnaire. If possible, please allow three days for the questionnaire to reach us from the date of posting.

If we do not receive the questionnaire, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) determines the next action. DWP may contact you to find out why the questionnaire wasn’t returned. If you have a mental health condition, DWP may ask us to continue the Work Capability Assessment process without the questionnaire.

What documents are sent in the questionnaire pack?

The questionnaire pack is the first thing most people will receive when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) starts the Assessment process. It is sent out after you have made a new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim or Universal Credit due to a health condition or disability. It is also sent if you are receiving Incapacity Benefit now and you are due to be reassessed for ESA.

The pack will have three things:

– The limited capability for work questionnaire (ESA50/UC50)
– A covering letter (ESA51/UC51) that explains what to do and the date by which the questionnaire needs to be returned
– A prepaid envelope to return the questionnaire

If you have any other medical information relevant to your claim, please send it with the questionnaire in the envelope provided.

What questionnaire will I have to fill in for my Work Capability Assessment?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will send you the ESA50/UC50 questionnaire when they have asked us to do a Work Capability Assessment. This will be in connection with your Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit due to a health condition or disability. DWP will reassess your claim at intervals. A questionnaire is sent each time. You may receive more than one questionnaire during your ESA/UC claim period.

You need to fill in each questionnaire sent to you. Include as much detail as possible. Explain how your disability or illness affects your everyday life, and how it affects you regarding gaining and keeping employment.

Post the completed questionnaire in the pre-paid envelope provided. Include any other medical information you want us to consider. Please allow three days for us to receive.

Our Healthcare Professional will review your questionnaire. They will review any other information you sent or which has been obtained on your behalf. The Healthcare Professional will decide whether you need to attend an assessment in person.

What happens if I cannot attend my assessment appointment?

For Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) allows you to rearrange the appointment once. If you need to rearrange your ESA appointment, please call our Enquiries line before the day of your appointment on 0800 288 8777. Our lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm

If you do not attend your face-to-face or telephone appointment, you will be sent a form (BF223). It will ask why you did not attend. You will need to complete it and send it in the pre-paid addressed envelope DWP provided. If they accept ‘good cause’ for not attending the appointment, they may refer your case back to us. We will arrange a new face-to-face or telephone appointment.

For all other allowances and benefits we aim to complete your assessment as soon as possible. This is so DWP can decide your claim. If you cannot attend your appointment, please call us as soon as possible using the number on your appointment letter.

Do you provide interpreters?

We will provide a sign language interpreter for a face-to-face assessment when required. For Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments, please contact our Customer Relations team by email: customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk(link sends e-mail) or textphone: 18001 0800 2888 777. Please give at least two days notice.

We will provide a language interpreter for a face-to-face assessment when required. For ESA assessments, please call our Enquiries line at least two days before your assessment on 0800 288 8777. For other assessments, please call the number on your appointment letter.

If you prefer, you can bring a member of your household or support bubble/extended household to interpret for you. The person must be at least 16 years old. Alternatively, contact us if you wish to bring someone who is not part of your household or support bubble/extended household so that we can ensure there is enough space to socially distance.

How long will my face-to-face assessment appointment take?

There is no set time for an assessment. How long it takes depends upon your individual case. It also depends upon the type of assessment and your medical conditions. Time with the Healthcare Professional is usually between 20 minutes and one hour. Allow up to two hours, although many assessments take much less time.

The Healthcare Professional will spend time before you arrive reviewing your questionnaire and any other available information. They will spend time after your assessment finishes completing the remainder of the medical report. Then it is sent to the Department for Work and Pensions office handling your claim.

Can I take notes during my assessment appointment?

You or your representative can take notes during an assessment. The notes will only be for your private use. We will not send them to the Department for Work and Pensions with the medical report. The Healthcare Professional will record within the medical report that notes were taken. They will also explain that the notes are not an official record of the assessment.

Can I bring a companion to my assessment?

If possible, to help maintain social distancing, please come to your assessment alone.

If you need to have someone with you to support you, you can bring one adult from your household.

If you need to bring someone who is not from your household, or you also need support from an interpreter or support worker please contact us. This is so they can make sure there is enough space to socially distance during your assessment.

Please do not bring children with you to your assessment. If you have children and cannot make childcare arrangements, please contact us straight away using the contact details in your appointment letter so they can discuss the best way to carry out your assessment.

If you have a telephone assessment you can have someone with you at your telephone assessment to offer help and support. This would usually be the person who knows you best and understands you and your needs. For example, this may be a relative, support worker or friend but they must be 16 years old or over. They may be able to speak on your behalf and can offer useful support. However, the assessment will focus on you and the answers you give.

If your support worker/friend cannot be with you in person as a result of the current Government guidelines on social distancing, we can add them to the telephone call. We will ask you for their number and they will need to be ready to answer the phone at the time of your appointment.

What should I bring to my face-to-face assessment?

Please bring:

– Your appointment letter.
– Proof of identity. This can be your passport or three other different types of identification such as a birth certificate, driving licence and a utility bill.
– Any hospital appointment or admission letters.
– Tablets or other current medication, such as inhalers.
– Any medical aids, such as walking aids, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses.
– Any letters from your General Practitioner (GP) or Specialist detailing your medical condition that you have not already sent in with your questionnaire.
– Your bank or building society details if you are claiming travel expenses.
– A face covering.

Give all documents including medical evidence and proof of identity on arrival at reception. Do not wait to give documents to the Healthcare Professional.

 

Will I need a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment?

On receipt of a completed questionnaire, a Healthcare Professional will review all available information.

We can only provide advice to DWP that an assessment is not needed if the evidence is sufficient to meet DWP requirements.

The Healthcare Professional can contact your General Practitioner (GP) if they require further evidence in order to decide whether an assessment is necessary.

If you are not required to attend a face-to-face, video or telephone assessment, DWP will write to explain what will happen with your claim. The Health Assessment Advisory Service will not write to you if you are not required to attend an assessment.

We may then ask you to attend an assessment by telephone, video or face-to-face.

What qualifications and experience do Healthcare Professionals have?

Our Healthcare Professionals must be registered with their appropriate professional governing body:

  • For doctors this is the General Medical Council (GMC). They must be on the List of Registered Medical Practitioners and have a current licence to practise, but not necessarily on the GP or Specialist Registers
  • For nurses this is the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • For physiotherapists and occupational therapists this is the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

All our Healthcare Professionals must have post-registration clinical experience and must successfully complete a rigorous, comprehensive training process to provide assessments in accordance with current legislation before they can be approved by the Department for Work and Pensions to work in this area.

Our Healthcare Professionals are specialists in disability analysis, focusing on the effects of a condition, not on the condition itself.

Are Healthcare Professionals incentivised to get customers off benefits?

No. Our Healthcare Professionals are paid for completing assessments to a high standard, not on the outcomes of these assessments.

Can I cancel my appointment if I don’t feel well on the day?

Yes, but please give us as much notice as you can if you need to cancel. We will make an alternative appointment for you. Please note that we can only re-book your appointment once.

Will I be able to claim my travel expenses?

The Health Assessment Advisory Service pays expenses for travel by public transport. We can pay towards fuel costs for private cars. We also fund the cost of parking when it is not available at the Assessment Centre.

We may also pay for fares of a companion, relative, carer, or young children who would otherwise be left unattended. If you wish to claim for an authorised companion to travel with you, you must contact our Enquiries line before your assessment on 0800 288 8777.

You should use the bus, train or private car. Buy return tickets where possible and keep all tickets and receipts. We will be able to pay you more quickly if you bring details of your bank or building society account.

In order to be paid for any expenses, you will need to fill out and submit an expense form. You may ask the receptionist at the Assessment Centre for help filling out the form. Please keep all of your receipts. You should receive payment for your expenses approximately two weeks after you submit the form.

I use a wheelchair. Is the Assessment Centre accessible?

Please let us know as soon as possible if you use a wheelchair or have other significant mobility issues by calling our Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. We want to make sure that we can send you to an Assessment Centre that you can access. If this is not possible, we may be able to conduct your assessment by telephone.

Can I bring my assistance dog to the Assessment Centre with me?

Yes, you may bring assistance dogs or other service animals with you.

My GP hasn’t provided me with any evidence to share with you. What should I do?

The most important thing is that you return the form to us by the date on the letter we sent you. Complete the form as fully as you can, giving as much information as possible.

You can send us medical evidence separately. You may provide evidence from another consultant or specialist doctor, psychiatrist, specialist nurse such as a Community Psychiatric Nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, support worker, personal assistant or carer.

Sometimes we may request evidence from the Healthcare Professional who knows you best to help us with the assessment.

I prefer dealing with people by email, can you do this?

We will send you an appointment letter for your assessment. If you also require details of your assessment by email please contact us on 0800 288 8777 or by email on customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk(link sends e-mail). You can also ask someone else to call us and let us know if you prefer to communicate on email.

I can’t get to the Assessment Centre, what can I do?

Please let us know as soon as possible by calling our Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. We may be able to arrange transport for you or conduct a telephone assessment.

My GP doesn’t know very much about me. Can another Healthcare Professional provide evidence of how my condition affects me?

Yes, you may provide evidence from another Healthcare Professional. This might be a consultant or specialist doctor, psychiatrist, specialist nurse such as a Community Psychiatric Nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, support worker, personal assistant or carer.

I’m worried that you will telephone me. I have hearing problems and don’t use the phone. What should I do?

We will send you an appointment letter for your assessment. If you also require details of your assessment by email contact us on customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk(link sends e-mail). You can also ask someone else to call us on 0800 288 8777 and let us know if you prefer to communicate on email.

I want my assessment done by a Healthcare Professional of the same gender. Can I ask for this?

Yes. For more information please call our Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. Our lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

Will I have to do movements that cause me pain?

The Healthcare Professional will not ask you to make any movements that cause you discomfort. If you are worried that certain movements may cause you pain, please tell the Healthcare Professional. 

Will the person assessing me be a doctor? Will they understand my condition?

Our Healthcare Professionals include doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. All will have training in how to carry out your assessment fairly and compassionately. All are specially trained to complete your assessment with dignity and respect. They will not carry out a medical consultation in the way that your GP does. They will assess your functional ability to work.

Will I have enough time to explain about how my condition affects me?

Yes. The Healthcare Professional will ask you questions about how your condition affects you day to day. They will give you the time you need to respond or to mention other ways your illness, disability or health condition affects you.

I’m finding all of this very difficult and it’s hard to cope. Can someone else fill the form in for me?

If you need help filling in the ESA50/UC50 form, you can ask a friend, relative, carer or representative such as a support worker to help you.

Alternatively, you can now speak to a dedicated advisor on our ESA50/UC50 helpline by calling 0800 288 8777. Select option 1 for the English language service, then option 2 for our advisory team. For the Welsh language service, please call our Customer Enquiry line and press option 2.

I’m embarrassed about my condition. Do I have to write everything on the form?

We understand that some conditions are embarrassing and difficult to talk about. Our Healthcare Professionals are trained to understand this and treat you with sensitivity and respect. It is important, however, that you give us as much information as you possibly can both on the form and at your assessment. Assessments are confidential and your information will be treated sensitively.

Can I have my appointment letter in a different format?

Appointment letters are available in a range of accessible formats. For more information, please call our Enquiries line on 0800 288 8777. Our lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

What happens if I do not send back my ESA50/UC50 questionnaire?

It is vitally important that you return your form. It provides our Healthcare Professionals with information about your condition or disability. If you don’t return your form in time, the Department for Work and Pensions may not be able to continue to pay you benefits.

If you are on Universal Credit you will continue to receive your Universal Credit payments but you will be required to attend the Jobcentre to review your Claimant Commitment and Work Related Activity with your Work Coach.

Can I reply by text if I cannot make my appointment?

No. Due to the confidential nature of your appointments we cannot accept text message replies. You can contact us to discuss rearranging your appointment on 0800 288 8777. Our Customer Enquiries lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm.

Can I travel by taxi to the Assessment Centre?

Please contact the Health Assessment Advisory Service if you can only travel by taxi. You may be able to claim taxi fares if you have a letter from a medical professional who is treating you explaining why your medical condition means that you cannot travel by public transport. The Health Assessment Advisory Service cannot help with any charges from your medical professional for providing the letter. Send the letter to the Health Assessment Advisory Service and they will contact you to tell you if they can pay your taxi fares. Please do not travel by taxi without agreement.

Do I need to wear a mask at a face-to-face assessment?

DWP needs face coverings to be worn in its buildings. This means you, and anyone who comes with you to your assessment, must wear a suitable face covering when you attend your appointment unless you have a reason for not wearing one in line with government guidance on:

If you do not already have a face covering, a disposable face mask can be provided when you arrive at the Assessment Centre.

By face covering, we mean something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

If you, or anyone attending with you, is exempt from wearing a face covering, please contact us straight away using the contact details in your appointment letter. This is to make sure we have the right safety measures in place to keep you and our staff safe during your assessment. For more information about face coverings go to the government guidance on: