One of the biggest controversies involving those applying for Personal Independence Payments is that there are often apparent discrepancies between what is actually said in the assessment interviews and what the assessor’s report later claims.
Not everyone is aware that you are allowed to record the interview either in audio cassette or CD format providing advance notice is given and two copies of the recording are made, one of which must be given to the assessor at the end of the interview. Moreover, the equipment must be supplied by the person being assessed and many people on benefits cannot afford to buy recording equipment and also the equipment must be able to produce two identical copies of the recording at the end of the consultation.
So the Sheffield branch of campaigning organisation Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has launched a crowdfunding appeal to buy tape recorders and cassettes for people to use during their assessments.
A spokesperson for DPAC Sheffield, said: “Everyone who has contacted DPAC Sheffield about their PIP assessments has said they have received inaccurate accounts of the assessment. In addition 94% of responses to a recent survey we did said they would want their PIP assessments recording so we figured why not try and start up a small bank of equipment to loan?’
“Despite the DWP’s media spin we BELIEVE people’s first hand accounts of this, indeed some of us at DPAC Sheffield have experienced the same thing. We reject recent statements to the press that claim “very few people request recordings” as evidenced in our poll, as well as personal accounts, the truth is quite the opposite.
We’ve decided not to take the excuse of “there’s no equipment available” any longer and to instead aim to provide equipment to people for their assessments. We’re aware of the criteria for providing your own recording devices. They must be identical if using two devices, and tapes must be sealed. So anything said will be on the record.
In the appeal’s first 24 hours, almost twice the original £105 target was raised but it is hoped that even more will be forthcoming so that anyone in the area who wants to record their assessment can do.
To find out more about the appeal see the crowdfunding page