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18 November 2015 newsletter

DLA to PIP Amazing Success!
“Hi, I would just like to send many, many thanks to this Forum / Website, as we have just received the infamous 'Brown Envelope'. We have been awarded ENHANCED for both Daily Care and Mobility!
My partner had been on an indefinite award of DLA, and was then invited to apply for PIP. We used all the resources available on this site, in particular the guides from the members area, which we know for sure was a huge part of our successful application…Without the resources here, we firmly believe that we would not have been successful, so thanks for all that you do and provide.”

 590 Deaths Linked To ESA Plus Will Online PIP Claim Form Be Compulsory?


Dear Reader,

In this edition, newly published research into ESA claimant suicides and the discovery of another coroner’s ‘prevention of future death report’ offer final proof that the DWP does not care whether its policies are killing many hundreds of claimants.

It only cares that it can still get away with denying it.

We also have news of the testing of a cost-cutting, online PIP claim form and details of our updated guide to successfully challenging PIP medical reports.

Website of medical journal590 CLAIMANT DEATHS
Just yesterday, respected academics from Oxford and Liverpool universities published an article in an international, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Their research shows that the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants for ESA is linked to an additional 590 suicides in England.

It is also implicated in an additional 279,000 people developing mental health conditions and 725,000 more antidepressant prescriptions being issued.

The relationship between the use of the work capability assessment (WCA) and the rise in deaths was clear and the researchers were at pains to rule out other causes.

Any responsible body, even if they were doubtful of the findings, would have responded with concern and given an undertaking to look closely into the matter.

The DWP, however, instantly dismissed the research out-of-hand.

They know that they are the only people who could provide the data to prove beyond any possible doubt that the WCA is a killer. And they are never going to do that.

Instead, just as the tobacco companies argued for so many years that no causal link between smoking and cancer had been proved, the DWP argue that suicide is complex and you can’t definitively prove that the WCA causes any deaths.

And so the entirely avoidable deaths will continue.

And there’s more proof of the DWP’s callous disregard for claimants’ lives. Once again, it is campaigning journalist John Pring who has brought it to light.

In 2010, a coroner sent a ‘prevention of future deaths’ letter to the DWP in relation to a claimant with a mental health condition who had committed suicide after scoring zero points at his WCA. The claimant, Stephen Carre, had a community psychiatric nurse and a psychiatrist but they were never contacted by the DWP.

On receiving such a letter from the coroner, the law requires the recipient to respond within 56 days saying what they are going to do to prevent future deaths.

It now seems that the DWP simply wrote acknowledging receipt of the letter and then did absolutely nothing more, in flagrant breach of the la50 ways to challenge a PIP medical report coverw.

Not only that, they also withheld the fact of the coroner’s letter from Professor Harrington, the independent reviewer of the WCA. If the matter had been brought to his attention, it might have prevented the DWP from pushing ahead with the mass reassessment of all incapacity benefit claimants using the WCA.

And almost 600 people might not have taken their own lives.

Moving on to another flawed assessment process, we have now updated our guide to the Best Possible Ways To Challenge A PIP Medical Report.

The guide includes more than 50 different ways to challenge the contents of your PA4 PIP Consultation Report Form. Many of the challenges include sample texts and just one of them may be enough to persuade a tribunal to attach little or no weight to the health professional’s evidence in your case. The guide has been updated to take account of changes since the last edition, both to the medical report form and to the way that health professionals collect evidence.

Used alongside our sample PA4 report form – released with the last newsletter - we think this is the best tool available anywhere for dissecting and disproving any inaccurate claims that the health professional has used to cast doubt on your claim.

Benefits and Work members can download the updated guide from the PIP page in the members only area of the site.

The DWP have a team of people working to produce an online PIP claim form which will have an entirely different set of questions to the paper claim form.

Online claim forms are much cheaper for the DWP to process and Iain Duncan Smith has just agreed to cut his department’s running costs yet again, probably by over 20%.

PIP digital claim team photoIt’s left us wondering if the DWP are planning to make claiming online mandatory for almost all PIP claimants. Especially as support is to be made available for claimants who could not complete an online claim without help. Might claimants even be forced to go to their local Jobcentre to claim if they don’t have access to a computer at home?

The DWP are currently looking for people to test their online claim system – though not to make an actual claim, just to try it out. If anyone gets onto the trial programme we’d be fascinated to hear more and see screenshots.

The Benefits and Work Facebook page has now passed 14,000 likes. Our Facebook page gives supporters a chance to discuss in detail issues that don’t always appear on the main site, as well as some that do.

As always, a big thank you to the volunteers at studiopookini.co.uk who run our Facebook page for us.

We also have over 7,000 followers on Twitter and we’re always happy to have more.

In our next edition we hope to have a response from the Information Commissioner about our challenge to the DWP’s refusal to give us information about the secret reviews into the deaths of 49 claimants.

We want to know how many of the reviews were into the deaths of ESA claimants who were on the work programme and who also had mental health conditions.

The DWP, unsurprisingly, don’t want to tell us.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison


Benefits and Work guides covers

Successful first time PIP
“Thank you for the clear, concise information to assist with PIP applications. I work full time despite my serious disabilities …. Without my Motability car, I would not be able to work. Motability stepped in and paid for my car whilst my application for PIP was processed... I was awarded the enhanced rate for personal care and mobility...Your information made sure I presented the facts in a way that could guarantee a clear assessment result. Thank you and good luck to everyone else!”


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: 2687

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


Will claiming PIP online soon become compulsory?
Will claimants soon be forced to claim personal independence payment online as part of the DWP’s cost cutting measures?

IB to ESA work capability assessment linked to almost 600 additional suicides
The reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants for employment and support allowance using the work capability assessment is linked to an additional 590 suicides in England, according to new research by academics from Oxford and Liverpool universities.

Housing benefit now in the firing line
There are widespread reports in the media that George Osborne is now considering cuts to housing benefit as an alternative to big cuts in tax credits.

ESA sanction heart attack death
A shocked employment and support allowance (ESA) claimant collapsed after receiving a letter telling him his benefits were to be sanctioned and died within an hour, Disability News Service has reported.

Shocking 668% rise in ESA mental health sanctions
The number of employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants with mental health conditions who receive a sanction has risen by a shocking 668% in the space of just three years, a joint investigation by Mind and the Independent has revealed.

Another WCA coroners ‘Risk of future death’ warning uncovered
Disability News Service has uncovered another case in which a coroner issued a ‘Risk of future death’ warning to the DWP after ruling that a fit for work decision was the trigger for a claimant’s suicide.

Speak out about ESA cuts
The Spartacus Network have issued an urgent appeal for claimants to give evidence to a parliamentary review into cuts of £30 a week for new employment and support allowance claimants (ESA). The deadline for responses is midnight on Sunday 15 November.


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.

Benefits and Work guides covers
DLA to PIP award
“My husband has finally received the decision, enhanced mobility, enhanced PIP indefinite. We could not have gone through the process without B&W & all your subscribers…. Good luck to everyone making a claim or an appeal & thank you so much to B&W.”

Thank you B & W
“A HUGE THANK YOU B & W! for all the hard work, that each and every one of you, put into this amazing site. I have been placed into the support group for another 2 years without a medical! (last time around I had to go to tribunal ) I really can not put into words how grateful I am to you all, for the support ,advice and information you give us. Well worth every penny of the subscription fee!”

PIP result
“Just a quick post to thank everyone at B&W for your fantastic guides and help. I had been on DLA, but that claim ended in May and the DWP claimed not to have received my renewal application, so was forced to apply for PIP… I received the dreaded brown envelope this morning and, after overcoming some hesitation and anxiety, I finally opened it to discover that I've been awarded the enhanced rate for daily living and mobility, from July 2015 to April 2018. Couldn't have got to this point without the information and advice this site provides. So, thanks again”

PIP decision
“Got decision today enhanced rate for both, thank you so much for your good advice, having to prove you are disabled is a degrading experience GOOD LUCK to you all”

ESA result
“I've been placed in the SG for ESA, no medical and they didn't write to GP… Thank you very much for your much needed and used notes on this whole process!”

Fast PIP result
“Hi Guys! I’ve received my PIP award letter in less than two weeks…Daily Living and Mobility enhanced ongoing award. Thank you mods for your help especially Gordon,Bro58 and Mrs Hurtyback being able to get advice from you guys when you need it is an enormous support. Thank you all! I would like to say that the PIP guide and the PIP assessment guide helped us a great deal.”

PIP awarded
“I have been a member for a few months, and found this site invaluable in my successful claim for PIP.”

PIP success
“I was awarded Higher Rate Mobility DLA in April 2013 However no Care, I reported a change off address and asked has anything changed I said Yes I need some Care help now Immediately I was sent a claim Pack for PIP on 14 August 2015 Today I have received news I have been awarded Enhanced Mobility and Care until October 2019 after a home visit from ATOS Many Thanks to this Group who Provide Excellent advice”

Happy with PIP award
“Thank you B@W just received brown envelope mobility put up to enhanced and care put down to standard but happy after stressful time… my award is only for 1year greatfull but stressed to go through this once a year. Thank you once again.”

PIP awarded
“Finally, after over 10 years and 2 failed attempts of applying for the old DLA I put in application for PIP. .. eventually the letter came and I had been awarded standard rate mobility and standard rate daily living, both backdated 16 weeks and awarded for 5 years..”

PIP success
“Thanks for all the advice on the site. My partner has just been awarded PIP at the enhanced rate for care and standard rate for mobility. This has been awarded until 2025! She has mental health issues and I had been dreading the medical but we actually had a qualified mental health nurse for the medical. A heartfelt thanks again. Without this site it would have been impossible to achieve this result.”

Thank you – DLA to PIP success
“Hi all, Just wanted to thank you all at B & W for the great advice and guidance provided on your site. I returned from holiday in August to the dreaded brown envelope advising I needed to apply to change from DLA to PIP…Your site prepared me so well that when the form arrived I knew just how to complete it to get my symptoms and daily struggle across in a way that would help with my claim… I was…hugely relieved to get the letter this week confirming I had a ten year award of standard daily care and enhanced mobility meaning I can keep my motobility car which has made such a difference to my ability to stay mobile. Thanks again a real success story for me!”

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: 2687

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