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4 May 2016 update

‘Punishing And Vilifying Sick And Disabled’ Claimants Is Making DWP Staff Ill Plus Secret Plan To Charge For Appeals

Success from DLA to PIP
“After a stressful three months waiting for the results of my transfer from DLA to PIP, I have had my results - Continued mobility at the enhanced (higher) rate, and an increase in my personal care from standard to enhanced. Thank you soooo much for your help in completing the forms. I don't think I would have been able to do it without your help.”


 Dear Reader,

In this edition we learn that some DWP staff are paying a high price for ‘punishing and vilifying sick, disabled and unemployed people’. And we suggest a simple way to start feeling better.

We also discover that the threat of charging for benefits appeals has not gone away.

And, looking on the bright side, we reveal that even individuals and smaller charities can take on the DWP and win.

More DWP staff take time off sick because of depression and anxiety than for any other reason.

In this they are different from other government departments, where minor illnesses such as colds and back pain are the main reasons for staff absences.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS says that the level of mental health issues amongst DWP workers “highlights the huge pressures on staff who are forced to carry out the Government's cruel policies that have turned jobcentres from places of help and support into ones of conflict and suspicion.”

“DWP staff know that punishing and vilifying sick, disabled and unemployed people is not only morally wrong, it is counterproductive.”

Benefits and Work would like to issue an invitation to DWP staff who are being made ill by their work: talk to us.

There has been a notable lack of leaks from the DWP.

There have been very few whistle-blowers. And even fewer people prepared to leak any of the huge number of documents that the DWP fight to keep hidden from public sight, like the plan to charge for appeal tribunals below.

So, if you are morally repulsed by what you have ended up doing for a living – do something about it and drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will treat all contacts with complete confidentiality.

The Mirror has managed to unredact a document from the days of the coalition, sent to them by the DWP under the Freedom of Information Act. It deals with ways to cut the cost to the government of benefits appeals. One suggestion is that appeals could be charged for. But one of the problems with doing this, according to the document, is that:

‘When this was explored previously there was mixed views amongst the coalition’.

Now, however, there is no coalition for the Tories to worry about. And they need some new ways to reduce the benefits bill after the resignation of IDs forced a u-turn over proposed cuts to PIP.

So, the fact that the DWP say that the plans “do not represent Government policy and have never been sent to Ministers.” doesn’t mean that they won’t try to make it government policy in the future . . . be prepared for another fight.

It’s easy to end up believing that the DWP can do whatever they want to whoever they want, including forcing claimants to pay to appeal a decision To believe that all resistance is useless.

It isn’t.

And in this newsletter we have the proof.

Firstly, there’s the court of appeal decision that even though the government retrospectively changed the law to overcome a challenge to their forced labour policy, they didn’t entirely succeed. All those who appealed a sanction in connection with refusing to do workfare may now be entitled to compensation. Sadly, the hundreds of thousands who didn’t appeal at the time are unlikely to be able to get justice.

That decision was brought about by one brave woman who refused to work for Poundland for free.

And then there’s the plucky Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

They challenged the DWP’s policy of making PIP claimants with cystic fibrosis have a peak flow test to measure their lung function. The challenge came about because one claimant was not prepared to put up with being tested with potentially unsterile equipment, particularly by an assessor they felt was more interested in talking about dogs and having a fag break than in doing an accurate assessment.

So, together they forced the DWP to stop carrying out the test on claimants with cystic fibrosis.

Sometimes it only takes one person - whether a claimant or a Jobcentre Plus worker - to decide that enough is enough, for real change to happen.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison


ESA Support Group with no medical
“Thanks to B&W I have just received notice after a 5 week wait that I have been placed on to the support group without need for a face to face Thanks for the 1st class guidance”

 Benefits and Work guides covers


DLA to PIP success
“Success! Awarded high rate for both components, many thanks to all here for advice!”

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: 37383

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


DWP had plan to charge for benefits appeals
The DWP had a plan before the last election to charge for benefits appeals as a way of cutting costs, the Mirror has revealed. The plans also included reducing time limits for appeals and other measures.

DWP forced to stop PIP lung test by plucky charity
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has taken on the DWP and won in a fight to stop a risky procedure being carried out during personal independence payment (PIP) assessments.

DWP loses sanctions case . . . again
The DWP has once again been defeated in court over its decision to impose sanctions on unemployed claimants who failed to take part in forced labour schemes.

‘Punishing and vilifying’ sick and disabled people is making DWP staff ill
Staff at the DWP are more likely to go sick because of depression and anxiety than any other health condition, the Independent has revealed.


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 successBenefits and Work guides covers
“After nine long weeks since my Atos home visit. I finally got a decision on transfer from DLA to PIP. I have went from low rate care high rate mobility DLA. to enhanced care enhanced mobility PIP until 2027. Thanks to your wonderful guides and this Forum for all the information that is available to us all. I would also like to thank the Mods on here for the fantastic work you all do helping us fight the unfair system”

ESA success
“Just wanted to say a big thank you to this fantastic site. I have been placed in the support group for 18 months after a face to face assessment. I took all the great advice with me before I walked into that dreaded building and it paid off.”

PIP success!
“I wrote some time back on the plight of my husband making a new claim for PIP… which I was making on his behalf… using the advice given by this excellent site and the included Guidance Notes taking you through the entire process and the advice given, my husband got a positive result... Standard Rate Care... High Rate Mobility. Thank you all…”

Great news in a brown envelope
“Seven days after my ATOS PIP review assessment I have been awarded standard mobility again and wow! standard rate care something I've never had before. This extra £55.00 will make such a difference to me and peace of mind as its awarded until 2021…Following the advice on this site I gave evidence of my conditions by submitting consultants reports and I believe this has given me such a good result this time. Thank you all so much for advice and support.”

Fantastic News!
“…today received "the dreaded brown envelope", saying … I have been placed in the support group. As I was already in the support group I wasn't sure if this was just the annual letter advising of the ESA rates for the coming year, so I rang the DWP. They confirmed that the decision maker has placed me in the support group again based on my ESA50 alone without the need for a F2F assessment. This is now the second time I have been kept in the support group without a F2F, and I'm sure this is due to your advice available on your wonderful website, so many, many thanks, and let everyone know, there are still positive results out there! Once again, many thanks and good luck to all those still going through this traumatic process.”

PIP success
“Have finally heard the outcome of my PIP assessment which took place in January . ..enhanced daily living component . Until 2019. Very happy with result as was expecting nothing . Thanks to everyone for help and support.”

ESA and DLA to PIP success
“I just want to say a big big thank you for all the helpful information on this site I got my ESA awarded again and moved from high rate DLA mobility and low rate care to enhanced PIP for 3 years I am so relieved I got this big weight off me”

PIP Decision
“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 and good luck…”

Got my PIP award
“I have now received my award for PIP. I was worried that I would not have my award renewed… I have been given a 5 year award both components at the enhanced rate. I am so relieved ….I would not have got the award if it wasn't for B/W and the sites help in understanding the complex forms I had to fill out. Many thanks for the support I had from B/W”

“benefits and work, you are amazing”
I do not have the words to describe how thankful I am to your site. I received my dreaded brown envelope today and I have been awarded both enhanced care and mobility until 2026 and I don't believe I could have done this without your help and downloads which have been invaluable to me. It means so much more than a few extra quid each week, it means we can continue to pay the mortgage, it means we don't have to choose between heating and eating and it means I can keep my car on the road so I won't become even more isolated, none of which would have been possible without your assistance. You have guided me along the whole process from receiving the letter telling me that I had to claim PIP as my DLA was ending, filling in the form and attending the assessment. Thank you all at benefits and work, you are amazing.

“worth its weight in gold for advice and help”
Just writing to say a “big thank you” to Benefits and Work for invaluable help in completing the PIP forms. Took 3 days to complete the form using the guides for help, my son then had his home interview from a very nice nurse from Atos, who seemed genuinely sympathetic. The dreaded brown envelope arrived 4 weeks later and to my utter relief my son has been awarded the enhanced mobility and living allowance.
I feel I could not have completed the form, and achieved this outcome for him without the help and guidance from your site.
I would recommend anyone who has to deal with ESA or PIP applications to invest in becoming a member the small outlay is worth its weight in gold for advice and help. Wishing everyone going through this procedure the very best of luck with your claims.

“Thank you for starting this site”
Thank you for this wonderful site. I was DLA lifetime award high rate mobility and low rate care. Although I got worse over 20 years I was too scared to ask for review and risk my motability. When I was eventually forced to apply for pip I used your (updated) guides, as have been an early member. I asked for and received a home assessment. Result. Full PIP ongoing. I could not have got through this without the hope and encouragement of other members' stories of success and detailed advice. Thank you for starting this site and please please, everyone out there, join up so the funding continues and the fight for justice continues. Good luck to those still fighting. You CAN WIN.

“I am very, very grateful”
I received the brown envelope today and thanks to all the help and notes on B&W I have been awarded PIP for the next 10 years at the highest rate. I couldn't have done this without the help of B&W. The subscription is worth every penny and does not disappoint at all. I am very, very grateful. Thank you so much.

“a wonderful service and worth every penny”
I just wanted to add to all the great feedback about your site. I joined last Autumn before making my first claim for PIP. I found the guide so clear and helpful and after completing the form I took it to CAB to ask for feedback -the benefits adviser said she had nothing to add as it could be used as a template for others! This was only because I followed the guide to the letter. The guide helped me prepare for the F2f assessment and I was awarded standard care and enhanced mobility.
In January I applied for ESA and once again used your guide. I expected another F2F assessment as this was a first claim but was relieved to receive a letter advising me I have been placed in the Support Group without a medical.
Thank you so much for providing this information- it is a wonderful service and worth every penny.

“such an enormous relief”
Received the great news that my ESA reassessment was successful. It was such an enormous relief. Once again I can't thank you enough for your invaluable guide. I couldn't have done it without it. Subscribing to your site makes me feel supported dealing with the stress of claiming benefits.

“Your advice and help has been invaluable”
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, the day after my Birthday, I got the best present ever. PIP Enhanced rate care and mobility for "an ongoing period".
I'm not sure what "ongoing period" means, I guess that's their decision but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Benefits and Work. Your advice and help has been invaluable. The PIP claim has such a totally different focus to DLA.

“delighted and astonished to receive a backdated lump sum”
I just wanted to share the wonderful news, that I had checked my bank and was delighted and astonished to receive a backdated lump sum owed from ESA. I also was amazed and thrilled to find out later that day by way of letter that I had been put in the Support Group. I can't describe the relief and delight I felt when I found out.
I also recently and thankfully managed with all your help and invaluable tips and guides to get awarded standard care and mobility in PIP. Although the lovely lady who did my ESA assessment was cross and amazed why I didn't get enhanced mobility and care in PIP. I will leave that fight for another time when needed as I am extremely grateful for what I have received already.
Many many thanks from the bottom of my heart.

“I can't tell you how relieved I am”
Hi - I just wanted to add my positive feedback to that of other people.
Thanks to your excellent guidance on how to fill in the ESA form I have been placed in the Contributions Support Group without even needing to have an assessment! Having gone through a lot of stress up to this point I can't tell you how relieved I am, and how grateful for your help.
Thank you for being there.

“this life changing decision”
I followed your advice to the absolute letter.
By doing this I was awarded from DLA, PIP at the ENHANCED RATE MOBILITY and the ENHANCED RATE DAILY LIVING, for TEN YEARS ONGOING, or ie, INDEFINITELY, with a RECOMMENDATION that I am NOT CONTACTED UNTIL AFTER MARCH 2026. My award was made without them contacting my GP/Hospital Consultant, because I took your advice and provided my Evidence/Documents with my form. In other words, I did their job for them. I was also granted a Home Visit after following your advice also.
I honestly and truly believe that this life changing decision would not have been awarded to me if I had not found your site. I am totally indebted to you.
With kindest regards, recommending your advice to anyone who has to survive on benefits.

“wish I had these guides 6 years earlier”
I just received a letter from DWP and have been awarded Enhanced rate for Motability and care components for PIP, thanks to your guides. I am so glad and wish I had these guides 6 years earlier when my full disability was reduced to middle rates but any way won’t be without these guides in future. Keep up the good work and thank you a lot..lot...lot.

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: 37383

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