New face-to-face assessment update for people on disability and health-related benefits from DWP – Daily Record

The new Health Transformation Programme is set to change the current assessment format.
The Department for work and Pensions (DWP) recently published details on how the proposed new Health Transformation Programme will change the entire Personal Independence Payment (PIP) service, from finding out about benefits and eligibility, through to assessments, decision-making and payments. One of the key planned changes is around the frequency of face-to-face assessments.
At present, PIP claimants may be invited to attend a consultation in-person, by video call or over the phone. The document states that claimants “will only have a face-to-face assessment if this is the most appropriate method and it may be unnecessary for the customer to have an assessment at all”.
However, on Monday, DWP Minister for Disabled People Tom Pursglove MP, told the House of Commons that “anybody who wants to have a face-to-face appointment is able to have one”. He added: “They can request one and that will be facilitated, and I think that is important.”
The Minister’s response came after Theresa Villiers MP asked: “What action are the Government taking to deal with the difficulties that many disabled people face with accessing the support they need? In particular, has there been a move back to making face-to-face contacts part of the assessments and decisions in the benefit system?”
Mr Pursglove also said: “Jobcentres will be at the leading edge of delivering on our new supported employment programme – universal support – and we have WorkWell coming on stream as well. We do not want to write anybody off. Where people want to work or to try to work, we should be supporting that wherever we can, and that is precisely what we are all about.”
The new Health Transformation Programme will also see the DWP implement improved evidence gathering to enable the Programme to “better tailor the service to the customer’s circumstances”.
The strategy also said that “simplifying and automating the PIP journey and tailoring how the customer is assessed will mean many customers get a decision on their claim much quicker”. Claimants will be able to apply, upload evidence, track progress and see payment details online.
It added: “Communications and notifications will be simpler and easier to understand (and for those on the digital journey, they will be available to receive and submit electronically) so that customers understand their claim decision and how the evidence they provided supported it.”
The Programme is procuring new assessment provider contracts, which will start operating from 2024, five years before the new Health Assessment Service rolls out nationwide from 2029.
You can read the ‘Health Transformation Programme evaluation strategy’ online at GOV.UK here.
New claims for PIP have been replaced in Scotland by Adult Disability Payment since August, 2022. Existing PIP claimants living in Scotland are being transferred to the new payment in stages, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 – read more about Adult Disability Payment here.
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