Claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - Going to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) medical assessment

A guide for claiming Personal Independence Payment, the different stages of the claim process and what to expect

Going to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) medical assessment

Most people have to have a medical assessment to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Your medical assessment is done by Independent Assessment Services (IAS) or Capita, depending on where you live. IAS and Capita are private companies which have been contracted by the government to do the medical assessments.

Your appointment might be in person or over the phone.

Be ready for a phone assessment

The appointment can take a long time. Make sure you have handy:

  • Your phone charger
  • A glass of water
  • A notebook and pen (if you want to take notes).

Be ready for an assessment at an assessment centre

Take with you:

  • Your appointment letter
  • Medical evidence – see the Get documents section of this guide to read about which papers would be helpful
  • Two proofs of identity – you have to take two from this list:
    • Passport
    • Foreign national ID card
    • UK driving licence
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Council tenancy agreement
    • Housing association tenancy agreement
    • Letter saying you are entitled to a benefit
    • Council Tax bill.

If you are running late, you can’t go to the assessment or you can’t find the assessment centre, call IAS or Capita using the phone number on the appointment letter.

Keep your tickets and receipts from the bus or train and ask for a travel expenses claim form at the assessment centre.

What happens at the assessment

You will be seen by a health professional. Appointments usually last for about one hour but may be longer or shorter.


The health professional will ask you questions about how your health affects your everyday life. The Health Professional should have read your completed form and any other papers you sent with it. Make sure you tell them if anything has changed since you sent in the form.


The Health Professional may ask you to do simple things such as:

  • Remember three items in the room just from the health professional saying their names (and not pointing at them)
  • Say how much change you would get from £1 when you buy something that is 75p
  • Count back from 100, taking away 3 each time.

The health professional may do a physical examination. They will only ask you to do simple movements like:

  • Put your finger in your hand
  • Push against the health professional’s hand with your hand or foot

If you force yourself to do the movements in the assessment, you may be treated as if you can do them all of the time. Make sure you do not strain yourself and tell the health professional if you are in any pain.

If you refuse to do the movement, tell the health professional why you can’t do it. For example, tell them if it is too painful now or it will cause you problems later.

Keep a record

The health professional will type their observations in the appointment. You can ask them to tell you what they have typed and ask them to correct it if it is wrong.

You can take your own notes in the assessment or ask the person who is with you to take notes.

Missed the assessment

If you don’t go to the medical assessment, the DWP may refuse your claim unless you have a good reason for not going.

If you miss your medical assessment, the DWP will contact you to ask you to give a reason. Tell them why you could not attend. If you have any documents to show why you could not attend, give the DWP a copy. If the DWP thinks you have a good reason, they will rearrange your medical assessment.

If you miss your medical assessment and you don’t give a reason, or the DWP decides that you don’t have a good reason, they will refuse your claim. If the DWP refuses your claim, you can challenge their decision or start again with a new claim (or you can do both).

If you make a new claim, you will need to fill in another form. However, you can use your previous form as a guide for what to put. You can read more about challenging a PIP decision in our Challenging a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision guide.

Recording the assessment

If you want to record the assessment, you will need to get permission in advance from IAS or Capita. Phone the number on your appointment letter and explain that you want the assessment to be recorded. Your assessment provider should be able to make a recording of the assessment. If they refuse, make a complaint to the assessment provider and tell your MP.

Reviewed: February 2023


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