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22 April 2015 newsletter

PIP success without a face to face medical!!Image of Benefits and Work guides covers “Received the brown envelope today with a decision on my son's PIP application and (after shaking whilst opening) I am over the moon as he has been awarded the enhanced for both daily living and mobility and for 10 years!. I followed the guides when completing the application as I am his appointee and completed a comprehensive description of his difficulties so they were able to assess the paper application without the need for a medical.”

Missing ESA Forms, Missing PIP Qualifications And Missing Any Humanity Plus 49 New PIP Areas

Dear reader,

In this edition we have won undertakings to behave better from Capita and Maximus.

Plus, we have the latest on the election battle, where Cameron is disdainful about the death of a claimant, the disability minister dodges a debate and the SNP show that you can care about claimants and still win votes.

And there’s dates for the roll-out of PIP to most of the rest of the UK.

Missing PIP qualifications
Regular readers will know about PIP reports by Capita which don’t list the health professional’s qualification. Instead, in the box for ‘Type of professional’ it simply states ‘Health professional’.

Clearly, if you have a severe mental health condition, for example, and your assessment is carried out by a physiotherapist, you may want to raise this if you have to appeal the decision. But you can’t if Capita staff won’t reveal their qualification.

We contacted Capita, who have since spoken to the DWP. For once the DWP agreed with us. Capita tells us that all professionals “are now required to share their specific professional background on the PIP report form.”

So, if your PIP report doesn’t tell you what sort of health professional wrote it, tell Capita and tell us too.

Missing ESA forms
We’ve also been hearing from members who have not received an ESA50 form to complete before having a face-to-face assessment. This is something that we think puts claimants at a real disadvantage, because they lose an early opportunity to explain how their condition affects them.

Maximus have now told us that everyone should be sent an ESA50 form and that call centre staff are not authorised to tell claimants things like:

“Not everyone will get a form.”

“One isn’t needed in your case.”

So, if you’re summoned to a work capability assessment without first getting an ESA50, complain to Maximus and tell them you want one before you are examined - and contact us too.

As we were writing this, however, a member has posted a comment that they had a face-to-face assessment but had not completed an ESA50 for over two years . . . we’ll be getting back to Maximus about out-of-date ESA50s too.

Andrew Marr interviewing David CameronMissing any humanity – the latest on the election
Interviewed on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show, a disdainful David Cameron showed no humanity when quizzed about diabetic former soldier David Clapson, who died after his benefits were sanctioned. Instead, Cameron insisted that hardship funds are available for all such problems – in spite of the fact that David Clapson was dead before he would have been eligible to apply for a hardship payment.

It may have been Cameron’s experience on Andrew Marr that prompted Tory minister for disabled people Mark Harper to cancel an appearance on Newsnight last night. He had been due to take part in a three party debate on benefits.

Because Harper turned tail just two hours before the programme was due to be broadcast live, the BBC cancelled the two other politicians in the interests of impartiality. As a result the BBC had to draft in non-politicians to talk on the same subject.

It remains to be seen if IDS will appear for a debate on benefits due to take place on Andrew Neil’s daily politics show at 2pm on Tuesday, 5th May.

SNP present
The SNP, on the other hand, have proved themselves fearless in packing a list of pro-claimant policies into their manifesto. Amongst other things, their pledges include:

  • increases of at least the cost of living in welfare benefits
  • urgently reviewing the conditionality and sanctions regime
  • Increasing Carers' Allowance so that it matches Jobseekers' Allowance.
  • people already supported by the Independent Living Fund will continue to be supported.
  • halting the roll out of both PIP and Universal Credit
  • reversing the replacement of DLA with PIP

Map of latest PIP roll-outDLA soon to be gone
Sadly, the SNP’s good intentions are unlikely to prevent the remorseless replacement of DLA with PIP in the immediate future.

The DWP have now announced the roll-out of PIP to 49 new areas between May and July.

This means that by the summer, PIP will have replaced DLA across most of the UK for new and repeat claims. The transfer of claimants with indefinite DLA awards is due to begin in October as well.

We’ll be back next Wednesday with another ‘election special’ newsletter, then we’re back to our usual fortnightly routine.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

After Harper no-show on Newsnight, will IDS duck his benefits debate too?
Andrew Marr’s interview with David Cameron on Sunday, in which the death of a claimant was raised, appears to have got the Conservative party spooked when it comes to talking about their record on benefits.

DWP tells Capita that PIP assessors must reveal qualifications
Last month we revealed that we had heard from three members whose PIP report carried out by Capita doesn’t give the type of qualification held by the health professional.

SNP manifesto not afraid of supporting claimants
The SNP manifesto, published yesterday, proposes a number of pro-claimant policies that set it apart from any of the main parties at Westminster.

Unapologetic Cameron challenged by Andrew Marr over benefits deaths and ILF closure
David Cameron was challenged over the death of diabetic benefits claimant James Clapson and over the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show.

Years of ESA suffering and deaths for just 3% drop in awardsGraph showing number of ESA claimants over time
Years of misery for claimants, and millions of pounds spent on rushed assessments, have reduced the number of claimants receiving ESA or IB by just 3%.

Election special: who can you vote for to prevent “life-changing” benefits cuts?
This is the most important, and the closest, election in a generation for claimants.

UKIP manifesto supports Osborne’s £12 billion cuts to benefits
The UKIP manifesto published today contains policies which will appeal to many claimants, but also fully endorses George Osborne’s economic plans for the next parliament, which include £12 billion in cuts to benefits.

Tory manifesto: no clues on benefits cuts but threats of compulsory treatment
The Conservative manifesto launched today gives no further clues about which benefits they intend to slash in order to cut £12 billion from the social security budget.

Labour manifesto holds little comfort for sick and disabled claimants
As expected, the Labour party manifesto holds little comfort for sick and disabled claimants.

PIP to be rolled out to 49 new areas
The DWP have announced that 49 new postcode areas will be subject to personal independence payment (PIP) for renewals as well as new claims beginning in May, June and July 2015.

Food bank use linked to sanctions and benefit cuts, British Medical Journal reports
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has this week published a report by Oxford academics claiming to demonstrate a link between food bank use and benefits sanctions and cuts.

“Everyone is sent a form” claims Maximus
Maximus, the company carrying out employment and support allowance (ESA) assessments, insist that they send out ESA50 forms to “everyone”.

Please keep your feedback coming, it’s very much appreciated by other readers.

PIP success
“Brown envelope arrived today with excellent news, awarded high rate for both Mobility and Care for 4 years. The guides on this site have been invaluable when filing in his application for PIP. We only waited eleven days for the decision (after his assessment) Thank you all so much for this wonderful site. Good luck everyone waiting..”

Images of Benefits and work guides coversESA – support group success
“Hi, I have just received confirmation that I have been put in the Support Group and I am stunned but over the moon. It is a huge relief as they had stopped my ESA on stamp contributions ..I will admit I spent a long time reading and re-reading the information you provided regarding completing documents and the face to face meetings but it was really worthwhile as I would never been able to do it by myself as I had no idea what information to put down… but your advice got me there and I cannot thank you enough.”

ESA support group success
“Hi again. I know I would never have achieved this without your guides and advice as to how to explain how my conditions affect my life. Having your help got my recent pip award and have just received notification that I have been put in support group for ESA just from the form sent into maximus without f2f in just 3weeks !!!.still on assessment rate until June. I can't thank you enough.”

PIP award
“HI…I've been awarded the enhanced rate of PIP for both Daily Living component and Mobility. Thank you for all the great advice on here you helped me through this”

PIP success!
“I just wanted to share my good news that, with the help of the guides on this site my husband has been awarded enhanced living and mobility PIP just as a date was being set for a tribunal!
thank you Benefitsandwork, keep up the great support and help for everyone”

SDA & IS to ESA success
“SDA with IS for 27 years, placed in ESA support group for 3 years without medical. Reading your guidance and the supportive community spirit of the Benefits And Work forum helped immensely. Thank you so much to all who contribute”

DLA Renewal success!!!
“I received the brown envelope today and didn't think it could be the decision as I only posted it back to DWP (by special delivery) on Saturday 4th April 2015. Low and behold it was the decision and I have been awarded Higher Rate Mobility and Care INDEFINITELY!!!!! I honestly thought I would have to go through the whole reconsideration request, medical and appeal process again …I only wished I had subscribed to your website when I was completing the first claim form in 2012!!!
Thank you to all administrators and subscribers for their contributions towards this fantastic website - you have no idea how relieved I am feeling at this precise moment …Rest assured I will be recommending your website to everyone I know who are going through the stress and worry about completing these forms. Not sure how many times I can say it but THANK YOU again”

ESA result
“Just wanted to say a big thank you to this group for all the help and guidance over past few years in sorting out the dreaded forms that we have to fill in. I have been waiting a long time for my decision for transferring on to ESA from the old IB benefit…. And now today had the dreaded brown envelope, well it was good news for me as I been put in support group ..at least for now can heave a sigh of relief! Maybe I will start sleeping better & dreading the mail arriving”

ESA Support Group success
“Today I was stunned to receive the news that I have been granted ESA and placed in the support group. I have also been awarded an "enhanced disability premium" …It comes a year since I won an appeal for DLA. My Mum has been a rock throughout the last two years of navigating the DLA and ESA business and I can't thank her enough for her support but equally important is the help and advice you have given us on this fine site. We used your guides, templates and help and it worked. Many times it felt futile but we got there in the end…Thank you once again.”

ESA Support Group success
“I have been placed in the support group after 14 months…I am glad that I asked for a doctor to do the test and that I asked for a recording of the assessment. I was a little worried as I filled in the ESA 50 before I searched for any help. I am glad everything has worked out OK and I can now concentrate in taking the new treatment for MS that was recommended for me. Thank you Benefits and Work for being there.”

PIP claim success
“Hi, I took on board all the advice that this site has to offer me. I sent off my claim for PIP…had a letter within 2 weeks informing me that there was an Assessor coming out to see me …Just over 3 weeks later I received my PIP award, I had been awarded enhanced care and enhanced mobility for an indefinite period. I am so happy that I will never have to go through this ever again, and its all thanks to the invaluable advice that I have received on this site. I have been a member of this site for almost 4 years now, the best money I have ever spent. Thank you so much... keep up the good work...and Good Luck to everyone who is going through the process of claiming PIP”

ESA success
“I had my letter through today, I'm in the support group. Not even a medical this time around. Thanks so much for all the material and advice, I'm quite sure it helped. A big worry gone!”

ESA (Support Group) and DLA
“I have… successfully claimed both ESA (phone call after medical, Support group unfit to work) and DLA through this wonderful site.”

Wow ESA today
“having been getting SDA for many years i worried last month when told that i would have to apply for ESA… so i signed up for help on how to word my problems in a way that would help while at no time over-stating my problems…so imagine my surprise today when i got a phone call from DWP stating that i had been placed in the WRG for 2 years… an hour later they phoned back once again, i expected it to be an error…but no same lady, apologising every so much, as the information she had given me was wrong! and that i have been placed in the support group!!! i can't thank you enough, you guides are great, and really made me think and be honest with myself and the form about problems i have..”

Good luck,

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