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17 June 2015 newsletter

ESA 8 Month Delays And Forced Psychological Testing Plus Mass DLA To PIP Migration Goes Ahead

PIP and ESA successesa physical guide cover june15
“Just to let everyone know that thanks to the guides and advice from [the moderators], I have been successful at Mandatory Reviews for my son. He has been awarded enhanced rate mobility and care for PIP, and a telephone call this morning to say he has been awarded ESA support group. I believe this is down to the detailed information we submitted for both the PIP and ESA original decisions… many thanks for all the information”


Dear Reader

Claiming benefits under the Conservatives involves waiting times that are, in some cases, literally illegal, even if not actually criminal. And there’s also a question mark over the legality of the increasingly common practice of forcing ESA claimants to undergo psychological testing and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) training.

But none of this stops the new minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, crowing about not having to pay compensation to PIP claimants waiting over a year for vital benefits.

ESA delays
The latest employment and support allowance (ESA) statistics show that one third of claimants have still not had a decision on their claim after 8-11 months. Another 40% recover or die before they have any chance of an assessment.

The figures relate to claims made between July and September 2014, before Maximus took over from Atos. Politicians and claimants alike will be watching to see whether Maximus can really make a difference to these outrageous delays.

esa sanctions coverBeing unemployed is a mental health issue
ESA claimants who do finally get an award now face the possibility of forced psychological assessments and obligatory NLP workshops if they wish to hang on to their benefits.

The idea appears to be that if only sick and disabled claimants had the right attitude they would be able to return to work. Whether it is lawful to force claimants to undergo these interventions under threat of the removal of their benefits is unclear and, with the difficulty of obtaining legal aid, the issue may never be tested.

But the forced testing and training has been condemned in an article in the British Medical Journal at the same time as the British Psychological Society (BPS) has demanded a complete overhaul of the work capability assessment (WCA).

And the continued refusal by the DWP to release the ‘ESA death statistics’, relating to claimants who died soon after a WCA, is now being challenged by a petition that has attracted over 150,000 signatures in less than a fortnight.

Updated ESA guides
We’ve now updated our guides to claiming ESA to cover the dangerous guidance issued to decision makers on how to take account of the effects of work-related activities when making submissions about the ‘substantial risk’ regulations. These regulations are one of the most important routes into the support group, especially for claimants with mental health conditions.

We’ve also updated the ESA sanctions guide to include information on the steps work programme providers must take before sanctioning vulnerable ESA claimants, such as those with mental health conditions.

esa mental health guide cover june15PIP delays
Meanwhile, the high court has ruled that delays in paying out personal independence payment (PIP) to people who are ‘amongst the most vulnerable in society’ were both ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unlawful’. However, while common law rights had been breached, the judge did not find that the claimants human rights had been.

The immediate response by Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, was not to apologise for the harm caused by delays of over a year in some cases. Instead, he crowed that the claimants ‘are not entitled to damages’ because the judge had not upheld what Tomlinson regards as their ‘absurd’ human rights claim.

Clearly, the idea that people have a right to receive the benefits they are entitled to in a timely fashion is laughable for ministers like Tomlinson and the decisions of courts are of no account.

Tomlinson himself is rapidly becoming hated and feared in equal measures by disabled claimants, as a rash of letters in today’s Guardian demonstrates.

And, in fact, the claim was not ‘absurd’ in the view of the high court judge, who awarded costs against the DWP – not something that happens if your claim has no merit.

PIP rollout not delayed
Tomlinson now claims that the average waiting time for a PIP decision is just seven weeks. As a result, in spite of pressure following the high court decision, there will be no delay to the final stage of the rollout of PIP in October. From then on, working age DLA claimants with ‘indefinite’ or ‘lifetime’ awards will begin being assessed for PIP.

The rollout will begin in postcode areas where the DWP thinks the extra volume of work can be most easily handled. DLA claimants will be chosen at random from the selected postcodes until the migration is complete in 2017.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

BENEFITS NEWS
1 in 3 ESA claimants waiting more than 8 months for a decision
The latest employment and support allowance statistics (ESA) released last week show that one third of claimants have still not had a decision on their claim after 8-11 months. http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3115-1-

British Medical Journal condemns forced psychological testing and training of claimants
An article in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal condemns the ‘coercive and punitive’ use of psychological tests and training on benefits claimants.

Completely overhaul the WCA, British Psychological Society demands
The government should commission an ‘end-to-end redesign’ of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process, says a new briefing paper from the British Psychological Society.

Tomlinson refuses to delay DLA to PIP transfers due to start in October
Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, today appeared to rule out any delay in rolling-out personal independence payment (PIP) to all other working age disability living allowance (DLA) claimants from October of this year.

Harriet Harman joins Labour’s claimant hate campaign
Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour party has joined a number of the leadership candidates in what is fast becoming a competition to see who can most blatantly encourage hatred of claimants.

Court rules PIP delays unlawful, but disability minister mocks ‘absurd’ claim disabled have human right to timely support
Two disabled claimants have today won their case against the DWP over huge delays in payment of their personal independence payment (PIP).

Petition calls for publication of ESA death statistics
A petition demanding that the DWP publish employment and support allowance (ESA) death statistics was launched on Change.org yesterday and has so far attracted over 400 signatures.

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL
As always, many thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to post in the forum or email us with news of your success. We know it’s many readers favourite, and most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

ESA Support Group success
“i just wanted to share this with you my son has been awarded another 3 years in the support group and it took 3 weeks for a result BRILLIANT once again thankyou”

Thank You
“Thank,s to this Wonderfull site I Finally Got the Enchanced Rate Of PIP in both Care And Mobility
Thank You All So Much”


ESA Support Group without medical
“Hi, thanks to your invaluable guides I've been awarded ESA and put in the SG with enhanced premium and disability element with NO medical. I was delighted but also shocked as in previous claims I've had to fight to get what I'm entitled to. Thanks again B& W.”

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration SuccessCovers of  benefits and Work guides
“A great big thank you for your helpful guides, money well spent. I asked for review as my care needs were worse so applied for PIP was awarded the same as my DLA middle rate care and high mobility. I decided to ask for reconsideration and …had phone call few days later saying I have been awarded enhanced for both care and mobility for 5 years…So a great big thanks for all your help and info on forum and in guides”

PIP and ESA Good News
“Hi everyone, I was awarded full PIP recently, and have also been through the I.B migration to ESA process, I got the dreaded brown envelope recently, I have been put into the Support Group without the need for a medical. Phew!! Thanks to this site and support from my family none of this would have been possible with out all the support guides available on this incredible site.
Best of luck to anyone going through the dreaded cold hearted benefit system at the moment, I wish you well and hope you get what you are entitled to.”


SDA to ESA Support group without medical
“Shocked and amazed, but so relieved to have received a call from DWP today, (just three weeks after I sent in my completed form with support letters) informing me I'm being put into the support group of ESA without a medical! The award is for three years.
Just wanted to send a big thank you to everyone at Benefits and Work for all the marvellous guides and support, without which I'm sure I would have struggled to get this result”


ESA Support Group with help from B&W
“Hi everyone…I just wNt to say a big THANYOU to this site for the information members can get to help them complete esa50 form. I have just been awarded esa support group and thought I might have a fight on my hands but havent thanks to the detailed guidance information you provide. Some people might say why should we join! Well money might be tight but this has saved me lots of upset and worry and has been well worth subscribing.”

DLA to PIP success
“Hello…My DLA claim has finally been reassessed for PIP - has only taken 6 months!
Thank you for your guides, they were a great help in filling out the forms”


ESA Support group success
“Hi…Thanks to your guides and advice I have been placed in the support group till Jan 2016.
I wish I had found and subscribed to the site quicker…Thanks for your help”


ESA Support Group awarded
“I received a letter from DWP confirming I will be now placed into the support group so a big thank you (for) your Publication for all the relevant information”

DLA success
“I would like to thank you for all the help I got by reading your documents on how to fill out DLA form, sent my sons application away just last week and he has been awarded higher mobality and middle for care. He got the reply back in only 7 days and he has been awarded indefinite. So THANK YOU SO MUCH”

“I can't tell you what a relief it is”
Just wanted to let you know my son has been awarded enhanced daily living and lower rate mobility (ten year award) after being diagnosed with Aspergers at 27. I can't say I was optimistic but thanks to your advice we have been successful. I can't tell you what a relief it is to know that there is now a safety net in place for when I am no longer able to meet his needs and I feel as if I can find my identity again! thank you once again!
Marie

“Thank you very much for your indispensable advice”
I used your site to help me ask for a mandatory reconsideration of a decision about my 16 year old son’s PIP decision. He was awarded the Basic rate for Daily Living. I obtained a report from my son’s school and wrote a supporting letter explaining that I thought he should be award 4 points for one descriptor instead of 0, and why. They accepted this and he was awarded 14 points taking him to the Enhanced Level. Although he lost the mobility element of his current DLA, the increase in the Daily Living payment covers the shortfall. I consider we have got a fair result, quite incredible given everything I have read about the process. Thank you very much for your indispensable advice. I am recommending your site to everyone in the same situation.
Gillian

“B&W is like having a personal assistant!”
Transferring from DLA to PIP would have proved a nightmare without this wonderful website. B&W is like having a personal assistant!
We have still had to fight every breathless step of the way, but knowing how to claim what, and using the right statements has turned a nightmare into fairly straightforward paperwork exercise.
The first hurdle was the hardest as we were called to an assessment which we couldn't get to so asked our MP to get us a home assessment. The assessor had almost no knowledge of chronic disease anorexia linked to some long term conditions. We appealed the ridiculous hypothetical scenario that was used in the assessment that led to missing the enhanced rate of care by one point and WON!
Enhanced rate for both parts, shame they don't back date it!
We feel ready to tackle Carer's Allowance now, but will tread carefully after reading the advices on B&W.
Rosie

“making such a difference to my life”
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you. Your site and advise is amazing. I applied for PIP and had been told so many stories of people not getting it and having to appeal, but thanks to your site and it's invaluable guidance, I have been offered PIP Daily living and mobility at standard level. I also scored high enough to obtain a blue badge. I applied for one of these previously and failed to get one. It all will and already is making such a difference to my life. I cannot thank you enough. I have told my physio and consultant about your site so they can suggest your guidance to others who may need it.
Isobel

“marvellously clear and comprehensive guides”
Thank you for your marvellously clear and comprehensive guides. I've successfully claimed PIP (enhanced rate + mobility) and ESA on behalf of my son who has Down's syndrome. We had no face-to-face assessments for either. It was your advice that prompted me to include all kinds of details that have been part of our daily lives for so longer we've forgotten they aren't 'normal' and enabled me to make a clear consistent case across both forms. I recommend your service to everyone I meet who's in this situation. Thanks again!
Penny

“Your help and support has been invaluable”
The best thing I did was to subscribe to your service. From ESA and ESA Appeals, to PIP and PIP Appeals, culminating in today’s result from my PIP Appeal Tribunal – which set aside the DWP award and awarded me Care and Mobility at the enhanced rate. Your help and support has been invaluable, yes it’s a long hard fight, but with you by my side – it’s been so worthwhile.
Danny

“being a member did give me the confidence to take it all the way”
I had my tribunal yesterday 2nd June having appealed my decision made from April 14. It was quite intimidating facing a judge ,doctor and another in our old magistrates courts, as well as having some sort of representation from welfare rights. The guy representing PIP , I am not sure what his position was but some sort of solicitor , just caved in and totally agreed with my appeals. Subsequently no further proceedings happened and I was awarded full benefits both enhanced rates of pip backdated to April 14. I knew I was right to appeal but I was still warned by my support worker that I could have lost all I had been awarded already.
So I am delighted and being a member did give me the confidence to take it all the way.
Damon

“thank you for your fantastic website”
Wanted to thank you for your fantastic website. I've just been awarded enhanced care and lower mobility after an appeal today. They originally after an assessment gave me lower mobility and nothing for care. After an hour of being questioned I was relieved to be awarded enhanced care back dated to Oct 2013!!!!! Thank you again I couldn't of done it without this wonderful website and your step by step guide walking me through the forms and appeal stages!!!
Alison

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
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