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11 March 2015 newsletter

Just 18 Days Left To Reclaim ESA Plus Sanctioned For Spending Night With Newborn In Intensive Care

PIP success!
“After applying for PIP in September 2014 and having a medical on 19th February. I've been awarded enhanced daily living until February 2019. I'm so relieved that I can finally relax a little now knowing that I can just get on with my life with a bit of security. I was very sceptical about paying for my membership as I did not think I'd stand a chance of getting it. All I can say is thank you to BW for the excellent guides which without I'd never have even contemplated applying for PIP. It's a long and difficult road but don't give up!”

20% off membership – offer ends Friday

 

You can read this newsletter online

Dear Reader,

In this edition we reveal that on 30 March a change in the law makes it much harder for people to reclaim employment and support allowance (ESA) after being turned down.

In addition, we learn about the claimant sanctioned again because his first sanction had left him starving and the claimant sanctioned for spending the night in intensive care with his newborn baby.

And we ask for your views in our survey on claimant sanctions and deaths.

esa physical cover New reclaim rules
In just 18 days’ time the rule which allows you to reclaim ESA at the assessment phase rate 6 months after a refusal will be abolished for most claimants, though there are some important exceptions.  For example, if your condition has got worse or you have developed a new condition, then you may be able to get the assessment rate again - provided the DWP accept that this is the case.

The change is particularly likely to hit people who are too ill or unsupported when they first make a claim to make a proper job of it and who try to claim again later.

We’ve included details of the new rules in our claiming ESA guides, updated yesterday.

New ESA50 form
Our updated guides also take into account the new ESA50 claim form issued at the end of February. The new form coincides with Maximus taking over the work capability assessment from Atos.

The main changes to the form are questions being arranged in a different order. But many of the boxes for claimants to give information in have also been made much smaller. It is also no longer possible to reduce the font size in the .pdf version to get more evidence text into the boxes.

It almost looks like Maximus are being paid twice as much money to process half as much information.

PIP alerts
We’ve also added ‘PIP alerts’ to the ESA guides. These warn you about which ESA activities overlap with personal independence payment (PIP) activities. This is important because, as we revealed recently, ESA medical reports are now being used to make PIP decisions. So, a poorly completed ESA50 form can threaten not only your ESA award but also your PIP award.

In addition, we’ve included brief information about the change from Atos to Maximus and an update on when ESA reassessments are likely to start again under Maximus.

You can find a list of all the changes we've made to our guides to claiming ESA on physical health grounds and on mental health grounds just after the index at the front of each guide in the ESA section of the Benefits and Work members area.

Missing forms and missing medicals
Not everyone will have to deal with the new ESA50, it seems.

We’ve been hearing from members in the forum that they have been summoned for ESA medicals without ever having received an ESA50 to complete. We’d like to know if this issue is widespread.

In relation to PIP, we have heard from one reader who was initially asked to do a six hour round trip for his face-to-face assessment . He was then given a series of inappropriate appointments before a paper-based assessment was used to deny him any award at all

Again, we’d like to get an idea of how widespread this practice is.

Sanctioned for starving
In other news, a claimant who was starving as a result of being sanctioned was "sanctioned for another three months for not looking for work properly” according to a report produced by a national coalition of churches last week.

In the same week a homeless charity revealed that a claimant sanctioned for being late for a Jobcentre appointment had spent the previous night watching over his newborn baby in intensive care.

The latter revelation prompted a Tory minister to brand the sanctions regime as ‘inhuman’ – a claim he very, very quickly withdrew when it was reported in the media.

Hunger as a threat and a punishment
Image from sanctions report videoThe report by a coalition of churches mentioned above revealed that an astonishing 7 million weeks of sanctions were imposed on claimants in just one year. And that over 100,000 children have been hit by the sanctioning of a parent.

The document makes the point that hunger is now being used as both a threat and a punishment by the DWP. Yet no court in the land has the power to inflict hunger on a convicted criminal, no matter how awful the crime.

It is only claimants, whose ‘offence’ may be as small as being 10 minutes late for an appointment, who can be sentenced to starve.

Claimant death cover-up
The DWP continues to try to keep secret the details of deaths linked to benefits and what action has been taken as a result.

Campaigning journalist John Pring was the first to prove that the DWP had carried out secret reviews into at least 60 claimant deaths.

Now a further Freedom of Information request by Channel 4’s Despatches has revealed that of 49 secret reviews carried out since February 2012, 33 contained recommendations for improvements in DWP procedures.

Yet the DWP continues to insist that the public have no right to know what the findings of the reviews were, what changes were recommended and whether they were carried out.

If these deaths were associated with hospitals, the police or the prison service, for example, it is hard to imagine that there would not be enormous disquiet and demands for a public enquiry.

Benefits sanctions and deaths survey
So, this week, we are asking readers to take part in a very quick survey which asks just 8 questions about how the DWP treats claimants, whether they are trying to cover up claimants suffering and deaths and which political party you think is likely to treat claimants most harshly.

The survey is completely anonymous and results will appear online as they come in.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

BOOST YOUR ESA, PIP OR DLA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
esa mental cover PIP awarded
“Posted my forms for PIP last week got my letter today i got enhanced rate Daily Living very happy i didn't expect to hear anything for weeks. I am very grateful to this site for explaining things thank you”

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right ESA, PIP or DLA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal. Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 2545

Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.
Offer ends midnight Friday

BENEFITS NEWS
Benefits sanctions and deaths survey
This survey is entirely anonymous, we do not collect any information about you. You can see the results so far when you have completed the survey.

Missing forms and missing medicals
Benefits and Work is receiving disturbing reports that assessments for both PIP and ESA are not being carried out in the way that the DWP claims they should be.

Tory minister calls benefits sanctions 'inhuman' – then changes his mind
Conservative business minister Nick Boles told charity volunteers that some benefits sanctions were ‘inhuman’ and that the system needed to be changed.

3,000% increase in cash saved by making claimants starve under coalition
The amount of money taken from claimants has risen by 3,000% under the coalition, the Public and Commercial Services Union(PCS) has claimed today.

Secret DWP reviews called for improvements after benefit deaths (External link)
The government has admitted that more than 30 secret reviews carried out following the deaths of benefit claimants called for improvements in how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) operates locally and nationally.

Day of action against Maximus begins
Protests are taking place across the UK and online today as part of a national day of action against the involvement of Maximus in the work capability assessment (WCA).

Church report condemn sanctions that hit 100,000 children
Church Action on Poverty has published a report condemning sanctions, which they say affect not only claimants but also 100,000 dependent children.

Full Fact raises more than 30% over target
Fundraising for fact checking the election by Full Fact ended on Friday, with Benefits and Work readers contributing a significant amount of the £33,094 raised.

7 million weeks of benefits sanctions in one year
A new report from a coalition of major UK Churches has revealed that around 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions in 2013/14.

FEEDBACK FROM THE FORUM
Please keep your feedback coming, we know that it’s a source of encouragement and hope to an awful lot of our visitors.

PIP mandatory reconsideration success! Thanks!
“Received brown envelope Saturday and thought it must be uprating info so left it. Just opened it to find out that they have changed award from standard to enhanced mobility. So relieved as much needed. So glad I had joined B&W as the guides and advice has been the reason I managed to explain the way my conditions affect me for them to award the rates applicable. Good luck to others and thanks again”

PIP success after home visit by Atos
“Ive just been awarded Standard rate of Daily living and enhanced rate of Mobility back dated 6 months…All in all it took 6 months from applying to get a home visit and less than 2 weeks to get my decision letter. Thats pretty quick from what i have been reading… Thank you very much for your helpful guides”

PIP success
“After 9 months I have now been awarded PIP for six years both enhanced rates…I have used this site for many years and it is down to the up to date information on the site that I have been able to complete forms in confidence. I have read of many who have been turned down for PIP but i would say do not give up, keep up to date with all the new information on this site as it really helps…I hope this offers some hope to others who are applying or still waiting for an answer/ medical”

DLA to PIP success
“Hi everyone, just a summary of DLA to PIP transfer journey which may be helpful to others regarding difficulties with Autism. My son was in receipt of DLA and turned 16 so received invitation to claim for PIP in late 2014. As his appointee, I signed up here and used guides (invaluable!) , returning forms which were delivered 17 Dec… MP's caseworker was fantastic, phoning DWP on my behalf on Friday 6 March and told me that Capita report had been 'fast tracked', ensuring decision within 2 weeks and assuring me that claim would not be erroneously closed. Phone call today (Sunday!!!!!!!) from DWP decision maker who advised that he made decision this morning - 5 years Enhanced on both daily living and mobility!!!!!!! So, despite a slightly bumpy journey, a superb outcome for my son …I think 5 years is fair, because although my son's autism is lifelong… He will always have autism, and in some ways this award is heartbreaking, but hopefully it will also open some doors for us to find more support for him as demands increase in the 'adult' world! So thank you for your guides!”

DLA renewal success
“Hi, just won my 3rd term of DLA, using your guides over the 3 months slog it took me with poor sight and mental confusion disabilities to complete the forms…Your guides gave me real hope towards a possible success. So, many, many thanks. And thanks for having the courage to tackle the thorny issues of politics…”

Success with PIP claim
“I would like to thank this site ..I filled out my husbands forms for ESA,PIP,BLUE BADGE, NHS COSTS...
so far we have got full help with NHS costs for both of us, and received a letter last week saying he has been awarded standard rate pip.. just waiting to hear back from esa as to when/if he has to have a medical to decide which group he will be put in ..thank you so much for the help in filling in a forest of forms”


PIP awarded & backdated
“Hi PIP awarded after 3 mths with no medical, so many many thanks for all your help, its such a relief…Many thanks to all you lovely people”

It’s finally over! DLA Appeal success
“1. The appeal is allowed.
2. The decision made by the Secretary of State is set aside.

Words can't describe the sense of relief I've felt ever since reading the decision notice after my DLA tribunal hearing on Monday. I wouldn't have found the energy and resolve to see this through without you at B&W, so special thanks go [the mods] and everyone else who has helped answer my questions since 2013. It's been a long journey, including a trip to the Upper Tribunal and back, to get to this stage…The tribunal found that I should have been entitled to HRC and HRM… So, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thanks to everybody on this wonderful website for all of your help. The two words "thank you" really don't seem enough, as words cannot express the extent of my gratitude to you all. To anybody else in a similar situation: please don't give up. Fight for what you are entitled to. The truth will prevail.”

PIP success
“I received my letter for PIP for Bipolar today and have been awarded Enhanced rate for Daily Living with 15 points until 2017 with no medical assessment needed. Thanks very much for this site for helping me include a daily living Diary as I think this was a big factor in their decision.”

PIP reconsideration success
“I have been helping my 64 year old brother claim PIP, and after applying for Appeal to be heard by Independent Tribunal, today we heard that PIP had re-considered and awarded him PIP on Personal Care and Mobility until 2018. So no need for Tribunal. Couldn't have done it without the help from your site. Thank You.”

BOOST YOUR ESA, PIP OR DLA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
Good news – PIP awarded
“I filled in my wife's PIP application with the help of your benefits and work members guide... The letter went off on the 27th February, And happy to say received an award today 7th march, standard mobility standard care. I must say I was very surprised at the speed the PIP application was turned around… Thanks again to Benefits and Work”

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right ESA, PIP or DLA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal. Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 2545

Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.
Offer ends midnight Friday

Good luck,

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