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1 June 2016 update

DWP Coroner Cover-Up Continues Plus Thousands Of ESA Medicals Cancelled

DLA to PIP, tears of fear soon turned to tears of joy
"Thank you so much for your guidance. My partner had a DLA to PIP home assessment by Capita in March. We followed your guidance in completing the form and at the visit, the assessor commented that she didn't need to ask for a lot of detail as the form was completed so well. We've waited over 2 months for the DWP letter. It arrived this morning and after some upset and tears, it was opened.
What a result: enhanced mobility and enhanced care awarded until 2026. That means a cash increase of over £100 per month. The tears of fear soon turned to tears of joy. It's such a relief and thanks to Guidance from the forum and particularly your guide. The understanding and insight they provide is priceless. Thank you for lifting a weight."

 

Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we reveal that the DWP cover-up over a coroner’s future deaths warning continues, with the DWP claiming to have destroyed the relevant documents. We also reveal that in spite of the hundreds of millions of pounds being spent on employment and support allowance (ESA) assessments, thousands are being cancelled because there are too few dual audio recorders available. And finally, we highlight the case of the partially paralysed claimant with one third of his skull removed who was still found fit for work.

DWP documents allegedly destroyed
In the last newsletter we highlighted the link between some of the 49 peer reviewed claimant deaths and the DWP’s failure to follow its own six point plan for claimants at risk of suicide.

In 2014 the DWP gave an undertaking to the coroner in the Michael O’Sullivan case that they would “issue a reminder to staff about the guidance related to suicidal ideation that has been described in this report.” This was a reference to the six point plan.

We are concerned that the DWP may not have actually carried through on that promise and that some of the 49 deaths might have been prevented if they had. We have repeatedly asked the DWP via the Freedom of Information Act for proof that they issued a reminder.

The DWP have now claimed that their policy is to destroy memos after one year, so no records exist of the reminder they issued. But as evidence that they do remind assessors about the plan, they provided this extract from a memo sent out 18 months after their pledge to the coroner:

“The current filework guidelines are available in the knowledge library. Current version is 10 and it states: “Where there is evidence of a previous suicide attempt, suicidal ideation or self-harm expressed in the ESA50/ESA50A, the HCP [healthcare professional] must request FME [further medical evidence].”

We don’t think this is a good enough response and we don’t believe that all trace of, and reference to, a memo allegedly issued electronically in 2014 would have disappeared.

The DWP seem to believe that when it comes to claimants losing their lives, they can get away with anything.

Establishing the truth is the first step in proving that they can’t - and we aren’t giving up now.

ESA medicals cancelled
With the DWP paying hundreds of millions of pounds a year to Maximus for ESA assessments, you’d think that between them they could find the cash for a few dozen dual audio recorders. Especially as the DWP insist dual recorders, which produce two identical CDs have to be used if a claimant wants a recording of their medical.

But it seems not.

According to Frank Field, over the last five years medical contractors, formerly Atos and now Maximus, have been responsible for 940,000 cancellations – over 1,500 a week on average.

The main reasons for those cancellations are staff shortages and a lack of recording equipment. Frank Field has protested to Stephen Crabb, the secretary of state for work and pensions, saying:

“It’s unbearable for people at the bottom to be left in the lurch at such short notice.

“To have so few pieces of recording equipment available has bestowed on them the status of a holy relic, upon which the well-being of so many vulnerable and disabled people hinges.”

We’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has had their appointment cancelled because no recording equipment was available.

A genuinely shocking case
The image of Kenny Bailey, 50, with one third of his skull removed is a truly shocking one.

The surgery was necessary after a massive stroke caused his brain to swell. He was left with severe memory loss, limited mobility, paralysis down one side and awaiting an operation to insert a metal plate to reshape his skull.

In spite of this, he was found fit for work in April and lost his ESA award. It was only after national publicity and intervention by his MP that his award was reinstated.

Bizarrely, the DWP claimed that the decision was changed because Mr Bailey provided more evidence.

Not it seems, because it should have been absolutely, overwhelmingly obvious to anyone taking one look at his medical details, let alone examining him in person, that he could not possibly be fit for work.

Those hundreds of millions paid to Maximus are clearly being well spent.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

 Benefits and Work guides covers

PIP appeal won, enhanced rate for both
"Just like to say a massive thank you got letter today. I was originally awarded standard rate for both care and mobility component. I appealed this decision and won now awarded enhanced rate for both.
I do not think I would have appealed if it was not for all the posts and advice on here. Really glad I subscribed to access members only guides, well worth it."

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
Support group without medical
"I've just been told that I'm staying in the Support Group for ESA without a medical! I'm so thankful to everyone here. I burst into tears when I read the letter, as I've been dreading the brown envelope since March."

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.

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Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 95287

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Offer ends midnight Friday

 

BENEFITS NEWS
DWP still trying to cover up ignoring pledge to coroner
The DWP are still trying to cover up their failure to honour a pledge to a coroner that they would send out a reminder to staff about how to deal with claimants who were at risk of suicide. Their latest response to our Freedom of Information request claims the document we asked for has been destroyed and ignores the rest of our request.

Partially paralysed man with one third of head missing overturns fit for work decision
A partially paralysed man who had one third of his skull removed has had the finding that he is fit for work overturned.

Benefits sanctions lead to suicide, crime and being “bullied off the books”
A report published this week by Salford City Council has found that DWP sanctions, far from encouraging claimants into work, lead to lead to suicide, crime and being “bullied off the books”.

Thousands of WCAs cancelled because of staff and recording equipment shortages
An average of 3,500 work capability assessments (WCAs) for employment and support allowance (ESA) have been cancelled by medical assessors every week for the last five years, Labour MP Frank Field has revealed. The two main reasons for cancellations are staff shortages and a lack of recording equipment.

Labour call for inquiry into benefits deaths
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow disabilities minister, has called for an independent inquiry into the deaths of claimants to be set up, following the recent publication of heavily redacted copies of peer reviews of claimant deaths.

 

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.

DLA to PIP: Thank you, thank you, thank youBenefits and Work guides covers!
When we came across this website it seemed like the answer to our prayers. IT WAS! With the help of the detailed instructions offered we filled out the application and sent it off together with lots of supporting letters from very qualified professionals who were involved with my wife's condition and care. The guide was comprehensive and enlightening. Still though, we dreaded the next stage - the medical. Imagine our relief when we were contacted by the company who carry out the medicals and told that they would not need to see my wife! The application form was so detailed and the supporting evidence so comprehensive that they did not see the need to put my wife through the trauma of the formal assessment.
The end result is that she has been granted PIP at the higher level for ten years! We cannot thank this site and those involved in it's running enough! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Keep up the good work!

Staying in support group
"Today I received the brown envelope with the result from my recent reassessment for ESA. I have been kept in the support group, without the need for a face to face! The whole process from posting the ESA50 has been 11 weeks. I cannot thank B&W enough, as I could never had done this without their help."

Attendance allowance awarded at higher rate
"I recently used your magnificant guides to claim attendance allowance for my father-in- law and he has been awarded higher rate attendance allowance indfinitely just based on the form i filled out.
If it was not for your superb guides he probably would not got a award at all.
Once again thank you for your wonderful guides."

Thank you
"I would just like to say thanks again to this little gem off a site. I used all the guides and information on this site to fill in my PIP claim. I got enhanced daily living and enhanced mobility... The assessor was skimming over the questions on each descriptor, and my support worker and I would stay on the same question until we were satisfied we had said all we wanted to say.
The assessor noticed my support worker reading from the document and asked what it was, we showed it to the assessor, they asked where we got it from. I told the assessor Benefits and Work, well the assessor whole attitude then changed after that. There was a wry smile on the assessor face.
They are aware off this site and the great work it does. The know that it does not give out duff advice, and the information it supplies it spot on.
Thanks all again, you moderators are worth your weight in gold."

Support group
"Thank you so much for your brilliant guides, just been awarded ESA Support Group again, was really expecting to fail after all the folk who had been unfortuntate in not receiving it, worth the subscription thats for sure."

ESA Support Group Success!
"I just wanted to thank you guys for the guide - having been awarded esa sincd 2010 but always in WRAG i was surprised when i called today to find out ive been put in SG this time!
Its only for 18 months but im glad its sorted."

ESA support group with no medical
"Thanks to B&H 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"

Support group without medical
"Thank you Benefits and Work.....I have had my second reassessment for ESA and after what seemed a lifetime of waiting!(11 weeks) ,I have been once again put in the support group with no F2F.
Your guide are invaluable. I included loads of extra info on type written sheets about my condition and how it effects my work. Hopefully will have a bit of a breathing space ......at least until PIP rears it head."

Low rates DLA to enhanced rates PIP on change of circumstances
"Just wanted to share some good news. I phoned the DWP up this afternoon as I had not heard anything apart from a letter saying sorry for the delay, had my f2f on the 15th April 2016. I had applied for PIP as was receiving DLA low rates for both since 2004. I rang with a change of circumstance and I had to claim PIP. I read a few stories off this site and decided to become a member as was really worried I would be turned down. The information and guides on Benefits & Work have been amazing, I followed the members guides and downloaded all the information I needed to help my claim. The young man on the phone said on the 18th May I was awarded Enhanced Rates for both Mobility and Care, such a big relief. Think he said for two years, will have to wait for letter. Going to stay a member as I'm sure I will need to use this fantastic site again"

PIP medical assessment
"Hi Gordon after many months of anxiety my switch from DLA to PIP came through with enhanced rate for both. Many thanks to this wonderful site your advise and ongoing support which has been invaluable."

Success
"thanks to this wonderful site I have successfully transferred from DLA to PIP.
A very stressful time, however without the B&W knowledge, members only guides and help I would not be so relieved."

Appeal success, DLA to PIP mobility regained
"Hi, just to thank you for all your help getting back my 24 year old son's enhanced mobility. He was receiving higher rate DLA but after his PIP assesment he went down to 0 points. He had his hearing yesterday and this morning we heard the good news that he had gone back up to the higher rate. We are obviously delighted with the ruling but it has caused an unbelievable amount of stress. How can a trained assessor get it so badly wrong?"

Heart failure appeal
"It has been a very stressful time for myself and family as I am fighting to get threw this system while getting treatment for heart failure! I have been told that my treatment isn't working and we have to try something new again. I just feel so angry at having to go through this system to prove I am not a benefit scrounger! As I feel the treatment may have worked if I hadn't been so stressed worrying about not having any money to survive on.
But good news, I finally won my appeal at the tribunal hearing.
A Huge Thank You to B & W and everyone who posts on the site"

PIP award
"Hi Just to let you know I got my PIP decision yesterday. I got standard care 8 points and enhanced mobility 12 points until 6 april 2019. I do know they start it again a year earlier. Thank you for all your wonderful help I really don't think I could have done it without you all."

DLA to PIP
"I would like to thank everybody at b&w for all the help in filling in the forms. Couldn't have done without it.
Received award letter 8 weeks after assessment
Went from lower care and highest mobility on DLA to Standard care and Enhanced mobility till 2020 on PIP."

Just received the brown envelope
"Had my reassessment on April 6th for my continuation of PIP. Received the brown envelope in this mornings post and have had standard rate for both criteria extended for five years. Thanks so much for all your help from the guides. Was dreading being turned down as I thought the assessment didn't go too well. But I was as clear and honest about my condition as I could be, as advised in your guides. Thanks again."

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: 95287

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