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13 January 2016 newsletter

PIP Appeal Success: Enhanced Care
“Thank you so very much to benefits and work, I won my PIP Appeal solely because of the wonderful advice on this site, The citizens advice shop had told me they wouldn’t represent me because I had no chance winning my appeal but i represented myself and with the great advice in these pages I’m now getting enhanced care”

ESA Appeal success!!! From 0 to 30 points!
“I will like to offer my sincerest thanks to [the mods] for the advice, support, understanding and outstanding guidance over the last 5 months throughout my appeals process, I cannot thank you all enough! I attended my appeal today and I am delighted to say that I was awarded 30 points for the descriptors that I challenged! In both instances receiving 15 points for each of them, placed in support group…Most of all follow the guides provided on this site, believe me, they are an invaluable resource.”

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition we expose the scandal of the cruel and possibly unlawful system for sending claimants to distant PIP assessment centres. Plus, we’re asking you to share your knowledge of a PIP assessment centre, if you’ve been to one. We also cover the official report on the chaotic and expensive mess that outsourced PIP and ESA assessments have become.

In addition, we warn of the plan to abolish attendance allowance for new claims.

And, if you’re a member, we highlight changes we’ve made to our guide to claiming PIP.

700 MILES FOR A PIP MEDICAL
Following queries from members we’ve looked into why so many people are being told to attend assessment centres many miles away, when there is one just down the road from them. We’ve discovered that computerised booking systems simply assign people the next available appointment within a 90 minute – though often more – travelling distance. Nobody even bothers to check if the claimant has problems with travelling.

You can ask to have your appointment changed, but if you miss the second appointment, even if it is just as unsuitable as the first, your PIP claim can be stopped altogether.

We have some extraordinary tales, including the claimant who was asked to undertake a 700 mile round trip by Atos, the person who was required to make a trip that combined a 400 metre walk, a bus, two trains and a taxi to get to their assessment and the very vulnerable claimant who was threatened with having her claim rejected because her medical was cancelled three times by Capita.

We think that penalising people who have difficulty travelling to an assessment centre is potentially unlawful, particularly as providers appear to have set up many fewer centres and many fewer health professionals than they claimed they were going to in their bids.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO AN ATOS PIP ASSESSMENT CENTRE?
We’re asking people who have been to an Atos PIP assessment centre if you could share whatever information you have about travel, parking and facilities for claimants who are being forced to attend the same centre.

Even though some of this information may be provided in letters from assessment providers, there’s probably a great deal more that you can add from a claimant’s point of view.

We’re starting with Atos assessment centres, simply because Atos at least have the courtesy to publish a list of theirs. If we get a good response we’ll move on to Capita centres.

COSTLY CHAOS OF MEDICAL ASSESSMENTS
A report by the National Audit Office has laid bare the costly chaos that has engulfed outsourced assessments for ESA and PIP.

Amongst the NAO’s findings are:

  • ESA and PIP reports between them fail to meet 87% of the quality targets set by the DWP
  • The number of health professionals needed for benefits assessments will increase by 84%, from 2,200 in May 2015 to 4,050 by November 2016. Many of these will have to be poached from the NHS.
  • The cost of ESA assessments has gone up by 65%, from £115 to £190 per assessment, since the contract was transferred from Atos to Maximus.
  • The expected savings from the introduction of ESA of £5.4 billion are not going to happen. In fact, the NAO says the cost of ESA is expected to go up in 2015-16.
  • Savings from the introduction of PIP have failed to materialise. The DWP expected to save £800 million up to April 2015. It saved nothing at all.

TORIES PLAN TO AXE ALL NEW ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCE CLAIMS
A single paragraph in the Local Government Finance Settlement published before Christmas sounded the death knell for attendance allowance (AA).

The government is to launch a consultation on abolishing AA for all new claims and handing the money over to local councils to pay for support for older people.

Benefits and Work readers will be familiar by now with the fact that the DWP consults and then does what it intended to, regardless of the outcome of the consultation.

The big question is, once attendance allowance for claimants aged 65 or over with care needs is abolished, how long will it be before PIP for older claimants also faces the axe?

PIP GUIDE UPDATED
We’ve updated the Benefits and Work guide to claiming PIP to take account of recent changes. In particular:

We’re repeatedly warning people about the importance of stating whether you still need help with activities, even if you use aids and appliances. The DWP’s plan to reduce or abolish payments of the daily living component for claimants who qualify solely based on the use of aids could potentially affect people making PIP claims now, depending on the timing and terms of any new regulations.

We’ve included some new upper tribunal decisions relating to issues such as preparing food, taking medication and dressing

We’ve added a Claim File Record Sheet and an updated Face-To-Face Assessment Record Sheet. These already feature in our DLA guides, please let us know if you find them helpful in relation to PIP.

We’ve also added information about appointments for face-to-face medical assessments.

Finally, in spite of everything on the horizon, we’d like to wish you a happy New Year.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

PIP success
“… brown envelope dropped through the door . Gone from low care to enhanced and kept my motability car until 2021, cannot thank this site enough… Thank you again could not have done it without all the input from here.”

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
ESA success
“Would like to say a huge thankyou to the moderators on this site I am so glad that I joined .I had a letter off esa today I have been put in the support group with no assessment”

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.

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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
Have you been to an Atos PIP assessment centre?
We’re asking Benefits and Work readers to help out by telling us about the PIP assessment centre you attended if you have already had a medical. That way new claimants can be better prepared for attending their medical, if they are unable to get it changed to somewhere they know.

Scandal of marathon PIP assessment journeys
Benefits and Work readers have revealed that claimants are being forced to travel sometimes for hours to personal independence payment (PIP) assessment centres, even though there may be one only minutes away from their home. The practice is widespread and may even be unlawful.

Costly chaos of PIP and ESA medical assessments
A report by the National Audit Office published last week reveals the costly chaos that has engulfed outsourced assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP).

Mystery survey asks about cutting PIP/DLA by £20 to £30 a week
An anonymous survey being promoted via the Opinion Outpost website asks contributors about how they would cope if their PIP/DLA was cut by £20 - £30 a week, a worried member has informed Benefits and Work.

Attendance allowance to be abolished by Tories
The Conservative government is about to launch a consultation on abolishing attendance allowance for all new claims and giving the money saved to local authorities instead.

DWP told woman she was not ill enough for benefit on day her life support was switched off
The Guardian has reported that a 67 year old woman was sent a letter on the day her life support was switched off, informing her that she was no longer ill enough to be eligible for attendance allowance.

Now you need a maths degree to decide if you get PIP
A recent personal independence payment (PIP) decision by an upper tribunal says that probability theory must be used to calculate eligibility for claimants who have more than one health condition. The decision even goes into great lengths about how to mathematically calculate the probability of two independent conditions.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM
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.

PIP award – thank you B&W
“Thank you so much to Benefits and Work for guiding me through the process of applying for PIP and the medical. Would never have been able to do this by myself and truly thank you for this brilliant site.”

PIP Result
“Having used this site to help me explain my difficulties for my previous Pip claim and Esa claim I have been collecting supporting letters to help with future assessments. I sent these with a few handwritten sheets to explain in more detail…Received the decision today and after a sick feeling opened it and…Enhanced care and Enhanced mobility! So relieved and uplifted…Many thanks to [the mods] and all those helping on here and of course to the site owner for it all being here to help us organise our minds and claims to get the relevant awards. Big thanks!”

ESA Tribunal – I won!
“Thank you, to everyone who has given me advice over the last few month. Been awarded for 2 years.”

PIP Award: Enhanced Care and Mobility
“I have today received my PIP award of Enhanced in both Care and Mobility, beyond expectation. the hard work of collecting documents, scanning and printing to enclose with my PIP 2 form appears to have helped during the assessment as the nurse referred to them continually. Thank you to all who gave advice and support…”

PIP Appeal Tribunal success
“Hello, Just wanted to say a huge thank you to this site for your excellent guidance and support. PIP appeal was successful this week. Thank you so much.”

PIP Award
“hi, i have just received some great news regarding my pip assessment, they sent me a favourable decision today and i am so relieved that it is all over for now... i would like to take this opportunity to thank the people behind this site for the help and support that was gained from the downloadable guides and info available and also the people who take the time to answer questions and post on this forum…many thanks”

Successfully moved to Support Group
“A big thank you to Benefits and Work for all your useful information, advice and tips. I've been in WRAG since September 2013 but finally, 2 years later, had the face to face Medical Assessment in October and with all your help, I've been put in the Support Group for 2 years. I'm so happy and relieved”

Help with PIP form
“I have to thank everyone at B&W for getting me through filling out the form, there is no way i would have got this far with out you. I eagerly await my decision i shall keep you posted”

PIP Awarded
“Thank you to everyone on this site I got my PIP award today. Standard Rate Care, Enhanced Rate Mobility…Thanks again to everyone on this site, all the advice and help is really appreciated.”

DLA to PIP success
“I would just like to wish everyone at B&W a very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year. Also to say a huge Thank You for all your support and advice in 2015 while I was going through the change over from DLA to PIP and my appeal process which thanks to your help I won.”

PIP Appeal success
“Hi All just wanted to confirm after the long and stressful process I have had my Appeal Upheld and awarded enhanced rate for both components . A genuine case deserves a fair award and that's what I feel I finally got from the Tribunal by way of points and descriptors ... I felt like giving up so many times because of the stress but would urge anyone to keep with it and state your case in person at Appeal ! Thank you to this site too for information and regular updates in order to feel more positive about the complicated process of appeals”

ESA Support Group success
“Thanks to your advice on evidence for filling in the ESA form I've been placed straight in the support group just on the strength of the form. Well worth taking all the effort…Again, many thanks. I'll be following your advice for the PIP application.”

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
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: 85734

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