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14 September 2016 update

ESA medics warned ‘We cannot defend you’ as DWP try to cover up WCA death failings

 

DLA to PIP result
“Thank you so much to everyone who helps, guides and advises on this forum and website, without your help I would have been at a loss when transferring to PIP due to a change in my health. I received my PIP award letter and was amazed that I have been awarded the enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility!! The diary really helped, the advice on filling in the form was invaluable and after 5 months I have a brilliant result…Thank you all again, I will continue visiting the forum and if I can ever lend a hand with anything please let me know. You are all wonderful!!”

 

Dear Reader,

Benefits and Work has obtained documents which show that the DWP failed to take simple, cost-free steps to prevent further claimant deaths following a coroner’s warning in January 2014. However, the department flew into a panic 20 months later when the coroner’s warning was exposed in national newspapers and later tried to stage a cover-up.

“No wriggle room here”
In October 2015, every health professional involved in the WCA had to send their boss an email saying they had read and understood instructions to always ask for further medical evidence (FME)

“Where there is evidence of a previous suicide attempt, suicidal ideation or self-harm expressed in the ESA50 . . .”.

In an email sent out by Maximus, health professionals were warned:

“This is clear and unequivocal and has been in guidance since version 6 dated December 2010. There is no wriggle room here – you must request FME.

“If you follow the guidance then we can defend you should a tragic incident occur. If you do not follow the guidance we cannot.”

The fact that this was not done when the DWP told the coroner they were going to, in February 2014, tells us exactly how little value the DWP places on claimants’ lives.

Instead, it was only when the story of Michael O’Sullivan’s death made the national press in September 2015 that the DWP panicked and sprang into action.

How many claimants’ lives were lost in those 20 months?

No surprise then, that the DWP did their best to prevent Benefits and Work getting hold of this data. Without the help of the information commissioner we’d still be trying to get them to admit that it even existed.

We very much hope that its publication is another small step towards holding those responsible for claimants deaths to account.

Updated PIP claims and reviews guide
We have now updated our guide to claiming personal independence payment (PIP) to include guidance on completing the new shortened PIP Award Review (AR1) form. The review form invites claimants to simply tick boxes to say that there has been no change in their condition and has been the cause of much concern.

Other changes to the latest version of the Benefits and Work guide include:

Case law notes removed as these have now been updated and incorporated into the text without citations – there was a danger of the guide becoming too technical with an increasing number of case references

  • Additional information about prompting and about supervision added
  • Additional information re managing medication or therapy
  • Updated Communicating definition to include people with severe mental health conditions.
  • Change to the definition of Going out to include information about anxiety.
  • Added additional information to Reliably
  • Added information re Help with washing and bathing

We’ll be publishing more updated guides over the next few weeks, including updated ESA and DLA guides.

Other news
In other news, the latest DWP statistics show that support group entry for new claims has plummeted by more than 40% in three months.

In December 2015, 56% of initial assessments resulted in the claimant being placed in the support group. By February 2016 this figure had fallen to 33%. In March of this year, the most recent for which details are available, it remained at 33%.

The DWP have offered no explanation for the sudden fall, but Benefits and Work is seeking answers.

Meanwhile, the latest ESA mandatory reconsideration figures reveal that a tiny 4% of claimants who are found fit for work get the decision changed at this stage. Almost 60% of claimants who go on to appeal a fit for work decision are successful, however.

Finally, there’s news that a new system of online appeals is being planned, in which hearings could last for weeks. Benefits and Work readers have been expressing their opinions about the idea and we’d be happy to hear yours too.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 Benefits and Work guides covers

Huge Thank you to Benefits & Work!
“I had my IB to ESA earlier this year, after reading all the member guides, I got support group with no f2f thanks to you. I have just today got my PIP result, and again, after reading all you brilliant guides, which I'm sure helped, I have got enhanced mobility and care for an "Ongoing" period. I didn't realise they did ongoing anymore? Huge thanks to you all, great site, great people.”

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
ESA Support Group without medical
“i just received my esa letter and have been placed in the support group without a medical, thank-you to this forum as the help was invaluable and without it i would have been lost trying to fill them in, thank-you again”

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BENEFITS NEWS
DWP panic and cover-up after claimant death publicity, WCA medics warned ‘We cannot defend you’
Benefits and Work has obtained documents which show that the DWP failed to take steps to prevent further claimant deaths following a coroner’s warning in January 2014, in spite of agreeing to do so.

Support group awards plummet by over 40% in three months
The proportion of new employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants getting into the support group has plummeted by more than 40% in less than three months, according to the most recent DWP statistics.

Just 4% of fit for work decisions overturned by mandatory reconsideration
Just 4% of claimants who are found fit for work succeed on having the decision overturned at mandatory reconsideration stage, DWP statistics for July 2016 show.

New PIP claims and reviews guide now available
Members can now download an updated version of the Benefits and Work guide to PIP Claims and Reviews and the September 2016 version of the DWP’s guide for PIP assessors.

Online benefits appeal hearings could last for weeks, says tribunal president
The Tribunals Service is working towards an online appeal system in which appeals hearings could last for weeks, according to Judge John Aitken, president of the social entitlement chamber which deals with benefits appeals.

Secret list of forced labour companies and charities finally published
After a four year battle, the DWP have been forced to publish the names of 534 organisations which used forced claimant labour up until January 2012.

 

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 Benefits and Work guides coversmost encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

ESA Tribunal success
“After having an excellent result on my PIP claim, which was awarded for 6 years, just had my ESA Tribunal which was WON! I'd been on ESA for several years after being dismissed on health grounds from work, then happened to have a really awful Health Assessment, with an assessor who lied outright about the assessment...despicable. The Tribunal didn't take long to see that this was pretty obvious; and so I'm now going to be back on ESA in the Support Group. What a relief, after 6 months of what can only be described as a very horrible, anxious time…My advice is to read carefully what is written on Benefits and Work, try and remain calm, and ,if you need to go to a Tribunal, write down clearly how your illness/issue or disability affects you... It's been very helpful to have Benefits and Work for all the information and advice…Anyway, a good result, so many thanks and good luck.”

ESA Support Group at appeal
“Hello all, I had my ESA tribunal, yesterday, after 13 months. I am happy to say that I have been placed in the Support Group. When I left the room, I did not think that I had won, but I had. 18 months of stress and worry finally over and done with. I have M.E., and it left me exhausted and aching. I ended up in bed for the rest of the day, hence my posting the result today, and not yesterday…I want to thank all the moderators for their patient answering of my many questions. I also want to thank the forum members for their support.”

PIP award
“Thank you all for your help, I have just recieved news that my son has sucessfully moved from DLA to PIP and it is ongoing. I read and re read your papers of what to do and after many days of checking and re checking sent the form off. I waited 2 weeks and the a letter arrived and said that a home visit would take place some 2 weeks later. Had to wait 4 weeks after the visit and then told enhanced for both and ongoing. Thank you again couldn't have done it without you.”

PIP award
“Thanks to this site i was awarded high rate care and high rate mobility at my tribunal. Thanks for the help guidence and support”

DLA to PIP
“Just to say a huge thanks to benefits and Work for their wonderful guides, such practical, relevant and professional advice. I was on higher rate for mobility and lower for care, I came out with standard for both on PIP. And that is I think where I should be, with an award until 2022. It was a scary and horrid process to go through but I must congratulate Atos on a very professional service all round for my assessment, I could not fault them, they have really worked hard to up their game! Many thanks again”

I got it! DLA to PIP success – Yay!
“Hi Guys! Just wanted share my success news with you all!! I finally got the dreaded brown envelope through the door and to my utter joy I was awarded Standard PIP in both daily living and mobility until 2020! I am beside myself with relief! I used your guides on how to fill out the form (after success with my ESA form) but had started to feel quite negative about the outcome for some reason. I'd read about so many deserving people being rejected that I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to be successful either. I could hardly read the words on the page to be honest for the tears welling up!! I am so happy and it's all down to these invaluable guides and all the information that this site gives...I have had two success' this year...My ESA and now the transfer from DLA to PIP! I have been promoting the site to all of on-line my support groups, you are just wonderful!! Thank you all so much. A very Happy Happy Bunny”

Support Group success
“Just like to thank all mods for their help over the past 6 years and the excellent guides provided by steve and co .Been placed back in support group again for the third time after face to face which went better than I thought it would be. Was examined by atos GP who I found to be very understanding and did not try to rush me in any way. Was very patient and gave me time to answer all the questions in the way I wanted. Thanks again for all your help.”

DLA to PIP success!
“Hi Everyone, just wanted to let you know I received my PIP decision in today's post…I have been awarded Enhanced Daily Living and Standard Mobility for four years. Would have liked a longer award time but am just so relieved…I'd like to thank everyone here, especially all the Moderators, for their kindness, patience, knowledge and encouragement. This Forum is a life saver for me as there are no organisations in my area to whom I can turn.”

PIP award until 2022!
“A huge thank you to Benefits and Work, and the information available here. I had to reapply for PIP as had been awarded for two years only.. Great news though, PIP has been awarded for 6 years, on this claim..! I'm almost certain the result wouldn't have been the same without the information I found here. It's a huge relief to know I won't have to go through the process in another year or so (I HOPE!),and to have the security and assistance of the extra income. Thanks Again!”

ESA Support Group success
“Having completed my ESA renewal form and sending it in on 5th May I heard nothing at all…I felt sick…Surprise, surprise today the dreaded envelope arrived. No not the appointment for the face to face but a letter telling me that a decision has been made and I continue in the support group. Such a huge relief…. Thank you, for all the wonderful advice you provide.”

PIP Award
“I got the brown envelope PIP today , I opened it and I was blown away with the result getting enhanced daily living rate 12 points ,and enhanced getting moving around rate 12…thank you benefitsandwork.co.uk and everyone supporting this site 10/10 for you guys”

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: 84645

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