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DWP Telephone Assessments

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Published: February 2021

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and Work Capability Assessments (WCA) included a face-to-face element to provide evidence towards the benefit decision. Since the introduction of the lockdown measures in March 2020 the usual face-to-face medical assessments were temporarily suspended and replaced with telephone assessments.

This research has been commissioned by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), with the aim of exploring how the new format of the telephone assessments is working, whether benefit claimants are satisfied with the service. This will allow DWP to improve the current, and help shape future, provision of assessments for health and disability benefits.

Methodology

NatCen conducted two quota surveys of benefit claimants who have recently had a telephone assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Universal Credit (UC) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The surveys took place between July and September 2020 and involved a telephone interview lasting around 20 minutes, conducted by NatCen’s Telephone Unit (TU).

For the PIP survey, 850 participants were interviewed from a sample of 6,000 PIP claimants across England, Scotland and Wales. For the WCA survey, 1146 participants were interviewed from a sample of 8,000 Universal Credit (UC) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants.

The report is due to be published in early 2021.