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28 January 2015 newsletter

Claimants Vow To Topple Coalition; 18 New PIP Areas Announced; Disability Charity Signs Maximus Contract

Another PIP Tribunal success
“Thanks to all at B&W for the fantastic help and support. I recently attended a tribunal on behalf of my partner and had the decision overturned in our favour - from only having standard mobility, to Enhanced on both counts! . . . Could absolutely not have managed without your help so thank you to all.”

You can read this newsletter online

Dear Reader,

“I am so disheartened, ill and worn down by them, but I will vote if it is with my last breath to get this Coalition out!”
Survey respondent

Claimants are angry – not cowed - and they are planning to turn out in huge numbers to vote in May.

That’s the message from almost 6,000 readers who responded to the Benefits and Work General Election Survey, conducted over the last fortnight.

A staggering 84% of respondents said their lives had been made worse or much worse by the Coalition. 14% had seen no difference whilst fewer than 2% said it had been made better or much better.

You can read in detail what they had to say about life under the Coalition in “I’m scared” – what the Coalition have done to 84% of sick and disabled claimants.

But it’s what our readers had to say about their voting intentions that should leave politicians in a state of terror.

No fewer than 85% voted at the 2010 election.

And an extraordinary 93% of respondents plan on voting at the next election, an increase of 8%.

Although we didn’t ask, many told us who they intend to vote for as well.

You can read the words of disgusted former Tory and Lib Dem voters - “After what Ian Duncan Smith put me through I cannot ever vote Tory again . . .” - along with the sorrow of reluctant Labour supporters – “. . . at least with Labour it won't be quite as bad.” - as well as the distinctly more cheery prospective Green, SNP and UKIP voters.

Of course, this was a self-selecting group of people. It represents those who feel most strongly about the issue of voting. It may not be a representative sample of the views of all claimants.

But there are lessons that politicians should, nonetheless, take from this poll.

One is that any assumption that claimants have been beaten into weary despair and will not turn out on May 7th is almost certainly wrong – many feel that their lives depend on voting.

So, if the pollsters have not factored in enough working age claimants views, then there may be some surprises in store.

Another lesson is primarily for Labour.

It is evident that many claimants intend to vote for Labour because they believe that is the only way of preventing the Tories being the largest party. But it is just as clear that most are doing so with enormous reluctance, on the grounds that Labour are marginally the lesser of two evils.

And some just cannot bring themselves to vote for a party that still treats them with such palpable disdain.

If Labour continues to take claimants votes for granted in the mistaken belief that they have nowhere else to go, it could very easily cost them the keys to No 10.

The bizarre reality is that all three major parties choose to ignore the voting potential of millions of working age claimants.

Yet, as we demonstrate once again, this time in graphic detail with dozens of bar charts, claimants’ votes can make a massive difference to the outcome of the general election.

And if our survey is anything to go by, they are going to do just that.

Meanwhile, if you want to take part in another valuable bit of research, Simon Duffy of Learning Disability Alliance England has been in touch to ask people to Quality Check Government.

They want to know whether you think society has got better or worse over the last 5 years. They will be announcing the results in Parliament. Please complete their questionnaire before 11th February:

Elsewhere we have the news that 18 new postcodes across the UK have been selected to have PIP unleashed upon them. You can get the list of new PIP postcodes and a map here.

And, following the revelation in our last newsletter that disability activist Sue Marsh has signed up with Maximus – the company taking over the work capability assessment from Atos - we can now reveal that Disability Rights UK have signed a contract to deliver training to Maximus.

DRUK are also advertising for people to take part in what looks very much like a promotional campaign for income protection insurance – the sort of thing that Unum provide as an alternative to state support – though there is no suggestion that Unum are involved on this occasion.

Whether it’s political parties or activists, it seems it’s getting harder and harder to be sure who your friends are.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

BENEFITS NEWS
Maximus WCA blunder
Maximus have managed their first work capability assessment blunder before even starting the contract in March.

Jobs revival’ in spotlight as most of those who lose benefits fail to find work
Coalition claims that it has presided over a jobs revival have come under fresh scrutiny with research showing that as few as a fifth of the 2 million jobless people whose benefit has been taken away are known to have found work.

More than 100 people per day with mental health problems are having their benefits sanctioned
New data released today has revealed that benefits claimants judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped by sanctions than those suffering from other conditions.

Maximus to get more than double the money for WCA
Maximus, the company taking over work capability assessments (WCA) will be paid more than twice as much as Atos but plans to reduce the proportion of doctors carrying out medicals in favour of cheaper occupational therapists, the Guardian reports.

FEEDBACK
Below is a selection of recent forum feedback we’ve received from members. Please do keep your feedback coming either in the forum or by email. It really does make a difference to our readers.

PIP medical over and done with, success!
“I had my pip in Edinburgh on the 18/12/14 and received my award letter on the 3/1/15. I received enhanced in both moving from DLA Middle care High mobility. I would like to thank Benefits and work for the great work they do.”

ESA Support Group without a medical
“Thank you, thank you... This morning I was very pleased to receive letter saying I've been put straight into Support group, no medical. To others members, don't give up hope and keep trying. Thank you again for all your help.”

Awarded PIP
“Filled in Forms from DLA to Pips in Aug last year. .. medical at home Jan 6th..Trembling opening the envelope and found I had got awarded the highest Care and Mobility and to say I was shocked is understating it...I want to thank you for your brilliant site as every time my husband has scoured your website to find everything we needed to know each time we had to reapply. I hope others can take from my story that you can win, just don't give up... By the way it is awarded for 10 years... Thanks again for all your help, could not have done it without you.”

ESA Support Group without medical
“Thanks to (your) advice am in support group without a medical… one worry down just dla transfer soon thanks again for advice”

PIP finally awarded
“My daughter received her PIP award letter today - standard care and standard mobility - we are thrilled to bits as it's been a hard slog…I just wanted to write this to encourage anyone in our situation to go for it - we had nothing to lose and they were so wrong in their initial decision...
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all - advisers and other claimants - the questions and answers and guides have been so helpful to me in learning all about this and preparing to fight for my daughter.”


Successful move into Support Group following WCA
“Thank you! After waiting a year for my WCA I have now been placed into the support group for 2 years and have just received backdated ESA payment. It was your fantastic guide to claiming ESA and guidance on what to expect at the WCA that helped me through this horrendous and daunting process and I can't thank you enough... I am just so glad I found your website, I know I could not have done it without you, and reading everyone else's experiences of this nightmare benefit system I found it very reassuring to know I clearly was not alone! Thank you again”

PIP award success
“A big big thanks… as I did successfully get PIP enhanced for both mobility and daily living using your invaluable guidance for descriptors and ftf medical assessment.”

ESA Support Group success
“I have… used this web site which has helped me enormously when transferring from Incapacity Benefit to ESA. With this help I was able to get on the ESA Support Group”

Thank you B & W
“I know you amazing people on this site are volunteers and have your own health issues…. but just have to say I cannot thank you lot enough - you have helped me so much over the years.”

PIP award
“thanks have been awarded enhanced living and mobility…many thanks keep up the good work”

DLA renewed – thanks to B & W
“Just to say once again thanks to this site. Yesterday I had a letter saying that my DLA (low rate mobility) is being renewed. This has been done just on the information on the form, following your guides…Without your help and the knowledge and support of those on the forum, I would have probably given up.”

DLA renewal success
“I worked through a new …form for DLA renewal. I started immediately and read and re-read your advice for each and every question using your 4 points EACH and EVERY time. It was very painful work due to the level of degeneration in my hands now …Today, and only 3 weeks after submitting … I received the brown envelope. Due to your guide, I have received higher rate mobility and middle rate care. For an indefinite period.
THANK YOU! A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL THE MODERATORS!”


DLA renewal success
“Once again many thanks for your valuable information. I have just received the Famous brown envelope stating that I have received high rate for care and mobility for 2 years.”

DLA change of circumstances success
“Dear team just got the brown envelope .. I cannot believe my eyes! high rate care and mobility indefinitely without an atos medical. It state they had enough medical information to come to this decision…For four years I’ve received the lowest of both components despite my conditions becoming much worse, to be honest I was afraid of going under their radar for fear of losing it all…I would have been happy just to have it renewed without a medical at the same rate but really over the moon at this. I know without your guides and the members advise the outcome would have been very different.”

PIP successful claim without medical
“first off it would be remiss of me not to start off by thanking B&W for enabling me to complete the application form properly and supply the correct supporting evidence, there is no doubt I am very ill but as has been seen in the past, if you fail to apply properly that may not count for anything at the end of the day. I have been awarded enhanced rate Daily living and enhanced rate Mobility for 3 years without a medical…”

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666