Consultation Process - Frequently Asked Questions
You may have questions about Consultation Process. Here are a selection of some commonly asked questions and answers to help you. Simply click on a question to see the answer.
I have received a face-to-face appointment. Can I have a telephone consultation instead?
We have asked you to attend a face-to-face consultation because we think it will help us fully assess your claim. While telephone and paper-based consultations are appropriate for some individuals, for others it might be more appropriate to conduct a face-to-face consultation in order to fully understand how your health condition or disability impacts you.
Face-to-face consultations for PIP will initially only be for those who we have been unable to assess by other means.
If you have any concerns about attending your face-to-face consultation, please contact us straightaway.
Can I have a home appointment instead of coming to a consultation centre?
No, at this time we are only resuming face-to-face appointments at our consultation centres. This is so we can ensure consultations are carried out in a controlled environment.
What happens if I don't attend/don't want to attend?
It is important that you attend your consultation so that DfC can determine as quickly as possible whether you are eligible for PIP. If you cannot attend the appointment at the arranged time, please contact us straightaway.
I am worried about travelling on public transport to attend a face-to-face appointment. What should I do?
If you have any concerns about travelling to the consultation centre, please contact us straightaway. This is so we can discuss what support may be available.
You can also click here for more information on how to stay safe when travelling on public transport, such as wearing a face covering, regularly sanitising your hands, and maintaining social distancing.
If I think I have Covid symptoms, should I still attend my face-to-face consultation?
If you, or anybody within your household, is experiencing one or more of the symptoms for Covid-19, you must not attend your face-to-face consultation. Please contact us as soon as possible so that we can rearrange your appointment. This will not affect your PIP claim.
Will the consultation centres be Covid secure?
A range of measures have been put in place to ensure face-to-face consultations can take place safely, following government guidelines.
To reduce the risk of anyone spreading or getting COVID-19, you must:
- 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
- use the hand sanitisers provided
- make sure you stay at least 2 metres apart from others at all times
- follow any signs and instructions displayed within the consultation centre, for instance there may be one-way systems in place
There will be additional cleaning of high touch areas and consultation rooms.
Face coverings must be worn at all times by staff and visitors to the consultation centre.
Do I need to wear a face covering when I come for my face-to-face consultation?
You, and anyone who comes with you to your consultation, must wear a suitable face covering. By face covering, we mean something which safely covers the nose and mouth in line with government guidance.
If you do not already have a face covering, a disposable face mask can be provided when you arrive at the consultation centre. Consultation centre staff will also be required to wear a face covering at all times.
Please contact us straightaway if you, or anyone attending with you, have a reason for not wearing a suitable face covering.
Will the disability assessor completing the consultation be tested for Covid-19? If so, how often?
Our disability assessors will be tested for Covid-19 in line with public health advice. This means that they are instructed to stay at home and get tested if they are displaying symptoms, have been in close contact with a confirmed case, or have been told by Coronavirus contact tracing to isolate.
Unlike other appointments with health professionals, our disability assessors do not provide treatment or hands-on care, so they will be able to social distance throughout the consultation.
If I arrive early for my consultation, will I have to wait outside the consultation centre?
To reduce the amount of time you will have to wait and to help with social distancing, we would strongly encourage you not to arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment start time.
Will people visiting consultations centres need to provide details for coronavirus contact tracing?
Yes, you, and anyone you bring with you, will be asked to provide your details for Coronavirus contact tracing.
Will the lifts in consultation centres still be in use?
Yes, but the number of people allowed to use lifts will be reduced.
Will toilets remain open in the consultation centres?
Yes, there will be disabled toilets, which will be cleaned more frequently. We cannot help you to use these.
Can I bring a support worker or companion to my face-to-face consultation?
If possible, to help maintain social distancing, please come to your consultation alone. If you need to have someone with you to support you, you can bring one adult from your household or support bubble.
If you need to bring someone who is not from your household or support bubble, or you need an interpreter or support worker, please contact us straightaway. This is so we can make sure there is enough space to socially distance during your consultation.
Can I bring children along to my consultation?
Please do not bring children with you. If you cannot make childcare arrangements, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can discuss the best way to carry out your consultation.
I am an appointee; can I attend the face-to-face consultation on behalf of the customer?
No, the appointee and the customer must both be present to allow the consultation to go ahead.
I need a translator/interpreter. Can they still come along to my consultation?
If you have any special communication needs, such as needing an interpreter, please contact us straightaway. We provide interpreters in a wide range of languages, including British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language.
What identification do I need to bring with me to my consultation?
Please refer to the ID section on the Consultation Process page.
How do I claim travel expenses?
We will refund your and your companion's travel expenses if you travel to the appointment by public transport, or pay for your mileage and parking if you drive there. Please fill in the claim form you received with your appointment letter and return it to us with all tickets and receipts for the public transport or parking. Use the envelope provided in your appointment letter – it does not need a stamp.
If you need to travel to your consultation by private taxi, it is important for this request to be made in advance. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in line with the current Covid guidance.
Will I be able to audio record my face-to-face consultation?
Yes, please refer to the audio recording guidelines here.