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20 April 2016 update

Secret Observations Used To Refuse PIP Plus Claimant Deaths Reviews Victory


DLA to PIP Result!
“Having been a recipient of DLA Higher Level Mobility component on an indefinite basis for many years, I was very sceptical about any success with PIP given all the publicity. But with your help I not only got the higher rate mobility component, but also the standard care component! I followed your advice on completion of the form to the letter - thank you so much.”



Dear Reader,

We now know that a PIP assessor can complete your entire assessment – and score you nothing - days before you even turn up for your medical. Or he can ignore your evidence completely and base his entire report on secret observations he claims to have made.

And allegedly rake in £20,000 a month for doing so.

We also know now that there is absolutely no question of universal credit being scrapped by Stephen Crabb, as many had hoped. He has, however, discovered lots of ‘interesting ideas’ for getting sick and disabled people into work.

And we’ve also come a good deal closer to discovering if the DWP have been ignoring the findings of their own secret death reviews - and costing more claimants their lives as a result.

Channel 4’s Dispatches sent an undercover reporter to train as a Capita PIP assessor. The resulting documentary makes grim viewing.

There was the Capita trainer who described the mental state examination as “a very, very shallow assessment”.

And Capita’s Chief Medical Officer, who explained that “we obviously need to get you to be doing as many assessments in a day as you can possibly manage”.

But star of the show by far was Alan, a Capita assessor who mocked a claimant as having a “Disability known as being fat, she asks for help to wipe her arse because she’s too f**king fat to do it herself”.

He went on to describe how he had completed an assessment on a claimant with only one leg days before the claimant actually had his medical, finding that “he does everything really don’t he?”.

He also revealed that he relied on “informal observations” rather than anything the claimant told him in order to assess them.

Informal observations are ones that are carried out in secret – the claimant is not told about them and they are not given a change to challenge the assessor’s assumptions at the time. They include things like:

  • Your appearance- whether you are tidy and clean.
  • Your skin tone.
  • Your manner.
  • Your hearing ability.
  • Your walking ability.
  • Your mood.
  • Your ability to concentrate.
  • Your ability to stand, sit, move around and use your hands.
  • Your ability to bend down to retrieve objects such as a handbag on the floor beside you, or reaching out for an object such as your medication.
  • How you stand up.
  • How you move to the examination couch and/or get on and off the couch.
  • How you use your walking aids.
  • How you remove your coat or hat.
  • What you are carrying and if it appears light or heavy.
  • Whether you show and understand the letters you have with you.
  • If you smile and appear relaxed.
  • If your breathing is laboured.

Informal observations are extremely simplistic and often deeply misleading. For example, you may be clean and tidy because someone else helped you wash and dress. You may be able to walk, but suffer extreme fatigue for days afterwards as a result.

But because informal observations do not have to be put to the claimant, they are a very easy way to deny you points.

And for carrying out these utterly fraudulent assessments, Alan claimed he could earn £20,000 a month.

Alan was dismissed by Capita who claimed that they were “appalled by and sincerely apologise for this individual’s disrespectful comments and actions”.

But many claimants will be left wondering, how many more ‘Alans’ are carrying out PIP assessments but haven’t been caught on camera?

The new secretary of state for work and pensions, Stephen Crabb, has made it crystal clear in his first major speech that he is a big fan of universal credit and that it will not be scrapped. With the treasury now dependent on UC to deliver big cuts in benefits spending, that shouldn’t come as any surprise.

However, benefits specialist Joe Halewood has come up with a very interesting theory that the benefits bill will actually rise hugely due to the introduction of UC. He suggests that because UC rolls so many benefits into one, there will be a great deal less underclaimed benefit in the future. The result could be as much as £24 billion a year added to the benefits bill.

Meanwhile, Crabb’s enthusiasm for “supporting good health” by getting sick and disabled claimants into work will alarm some victims of previous return-to-work schemes. Especially as Crabb explains that “there are lots of interesting ideas emerging”.

Interesting ideas are seldom good news for claimants.

Campaigning journalist John Pring has persuaded an information tribunal to order the DWP to reveal important aspects of their 49 secret reviews into claimants deaths.

Information that will be released will allow campaigners to look at whether the DWP followed the recommendations made in the reports in order to reduce future deaths. If the DWP ignored the findings and further deaths occurred, there is a possibility of legal action against the department.

The DWP can still, if they choose, appeal the decision further in order to try to prevent the truth emerging.

But surely, under a new secretary of state who has already allowed the release of previously unpublished UC documents, that wouldn’t happen, would it?

Good luck,

Steve Donnison


Successful ESA award
“just wanted to let benefits and work know that today that brown envelope dropped through my door. I have been awarded esa until 2018 and put in the support group. Thank you so much your guides were a godsend and gave me the right information to follow whilst filling in the form and know what to expect at the assessment. Thanks again”


Benefits and Work guide covers


DLA to PIP success
“Enhanced rate care and mobility on mandatory reconsideration until 2026. Don't give up if you don't succeed at the first hurdle! Thanks for all your invaluable help B&W.”

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: 64735

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


Foodbank use highest in areas with most sickness disability
A new report by the Trussell Trust today shows that foodbank use is highest in areas where there are the greatest numbers of people who are unable to work because of long-term illness or disability.

Benefits deaths secret reviews victory
Journalist John Pring’s Disability News Service (DNS) has won another victory in its fight to force the DWP to reveal details of 49 secret reviews into benefits deaths. An information tribunal has ruled that the DWP must release the recommendations for changes made in the reviews.

Capita assessor mocks disabled and boasts of earning £20k a month
A Capita assessor was caught on camera mocking a disabled personal independence payment (PIP) claimant as being fat and boasting of being able to earn £20,000 a month by rushing through assessments.

Crabb confirms that universal credit is here to say
Stephen Crabb has today confirmed his commitment to rolling out universal credit, dashing the hopes of activists who believed that a new secretary of state might have the courage to ditch the disastrously over budget and under-performing benefit.

Universal credit will increase benefits bill massively
A respected commentator on benefits has suggested that, far from cutting costs, universal credit (UC) could massively increase the benefits bill because the amount of benefit that goes unclaimed will be drastically reduced.


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.

DLA to PIP, Enhanced rate care and mobilityBenefits and Work guides covers
“I've been a member of Benefits and work for many years and found it invaluable for my DLA claims ( and 5 tribunals) but you surpassed yourselves this time. I missed the cut off age for having to change to PIP by just one week; had to fill in PIP forms last November; called for ATOS medical in January. Finally today, April 16th, the day after my Birthday, I got the best present ever. PIP Enhanced rate care and mobility for "an ongoing period". 13 points care and 12 points mobility.
I'm not sure what "ongoing period" means, It says it's the longest period they can allow but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Benefits and Work. Your advice and help has been invaluable.”

PIP success
“Just received decision for PIP after six months. I was awarded enhanced rate for both parts. I asked for a copy of the assessment report which gave standard award for both…This website proved invaluable when writing a full account of my medical history and disability. I say to readers spend a lot of time reading on this website and be sure to send every piece of relevant written evidence…Thanks to everyone at Benefits and Work website.”

PIP Award
“First of all I would like to the Moderators and everyone else who has supported me through this process. I am pleased to tell you that my letter arrived on Friday morning and have been awarded the enhanced rate for both components are until 2022…. Keep up your subscription because you never know when you will need the fantastic support of the B&W team again. Once again a big thank you...”

PIP Tribunal won!
“I went for my PIP Tribunal yesterday and won! Previously I had been getting higher rate care and mobility, (for 15 years). I had just renewed my Blue Badge and was given lower rate care and mobility. I had to return my Motability car. I decided to pursue just the mobility component… The result was I will now receive Higher Rate Mobility AND Care - what a result, I was flabbergasted to say the least - at last, I was listened to by people who knew what I was talking about! So, thank you, thank you, thank you for all help and knowledge you gave me...”

PIP Award
“After applying for P.I.P and receiving a letter stating I was not entitled with zero points on both the daily and living components. I am thrilled to say after having a mandatory reconsideration I now have been awarded P.I.P on both. Thank you for your guidance it has taken 6 years to get to this I wish I had discovered your site earlier. A big thank you.”

PIP result
“Confirmation letter arrived this morning, PIP awarded standard daily living and standard mobility while 2021. So now in receipt of both esa and pip. Have done everything this site advised me to do and its paid off. Can`t thank you enough.”

PIP success
“I have just been awarded PIP. I do not know what level yet, but the fact that my disabilities have been acknowledged is as much a part of it as the financial help. This site was instrumental in my achievement and I thank the people who have put this amazing site together. Thank you”0

DLA to PIP success
“Hi Guys. from DLA to PIP. Brown envelope arrived today. I was awarded full enhanced allowance. Many thanks for your help and guidance.”

Thank you – invaluable help & advice
“A massive thanks I did not feel so alone after receiving a renewal for esa and then dla/to pip transfer, both within two weeks of each other…Used the guides ESA first , support group award for three years no face to face. Four weeks from completion to decision. PIP from dla two weeks later had a lifetime award..The fact that I had such support from the guides meant I was able to do my best without fear distracting me so Thank you so so much”

PIP award
“The dreaded brown envelope arrived today..........with great news, I have been awarded enhanced daily living and mobility until 2022.I just wanted to say a very BIG THANK YOU to you all. This would not have been possible without your guides. Without their invaluable information I would not have known where to start filling in the forms. My advice to anyone is to take your time and tell them every detail about your disability ,( if you don't tell them then how are they to know). Keep up the good work!!”

ESA success
“I received my decision from my WCA into the WRAG group end of last week. As a subscriber I used the guide provided. so first off thanks for this guide was invaluable, really was.. recommend it to anyone filling in that terrible form ESA50”

ESA Support Group success
“Thanks all at b&w from receiving the dreaded ESA forms it's taken four weeks and today I opened the brown envelope I've been put back in the support group with no medical, I must stress to everyone doing these forms put extra information about how your daily life is a struggle and give examples”

PIP Award success
“A huge thanks to you all. I heard today that I have been awarded both daily living and mobility at the enhanced rate…I couldn't have done it without the manuals and I have saved myself the stress of MR and appeal. So big thanks to benefits&Work team”

ESA renewal success
“I would like to thank B and W for their guide…”

DLA to PIP success
“Hi, I am writing to thank you for all the information that you have available on your site.
This is such a useful site to help claimants with understanding what is happening during these change-overs. I am not sure how I found your site but know that I am very pleased that I did. I read everything to help with my Granddaughters appointment for PIP assessment in February, and although I didn't hold out a lot of hope, as over the years she seems to have slipped through so many nets. My Granddaughter has now been awarded enhanced rate for two modules. Thank you so much.”

PIP success
“My PIP award was successful. I received enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility.
I am very relieved and am just recovering from a flare-up of my symptoms due to the extra
stress. I am very grateful and wish to express my sincere thanks to the B&W website.”

PIP Success story
“I am writing to thank the B&W team. I was turned down for PIP, when I was eventually interviewed in August 2015. I had initially applied in the March of that year. I immediately asked for a mandatory reconsideration, and signed up for your guides - and provided the decision makers with further information, based on your advice. I was very relieved to find out that the incomprehensible decision was overturned, and I was then awarded PIP at daily standard rate for 10 years. I was also subsequently put into the ESA support group without an interview (apparently to be reviewed in around 1 year.). Again, this happened after I followed the advice in your guides. Thank you so much. I couldn't have got this far without 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.

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: 64735

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