The video they didn’t want you to see

Here’s an opportunity for you to help make a minister wish he hadn’t interfered.

Back in March we wrote about the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) employment and support allowance appeals video (external link) on Youtube.  The video was pulled after less than a week, on the orders of senior officials.

Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman (external link), discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:

that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;

that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;

to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.

Yesterday, three months later, the video reappeared and, to their credit, after their initial panic MoJ officials seem to have left it unaltered.  The video is actually reasonably informative and reassuring for people who have no previous experience of appeal tribunals.

Normally, however, MoJ videos get very little attention – one has had just two views and few of the 120 videos on the MoJ channel gets more than a few hundred views.  

If Grayling hadn’t intervened this video would probably also have remained largely unseen.  Now, however, we’re asking Benefits and Work newsletter readers to make it the most popular video the MoJ has ever produced.  The current record holder has had 4,269 views and the ESA video currently stands at 1,063.

So, please, make Grayling mad by taking a look at the video and passing the link on to anyone you think might benefit:  (external link)

Members can read more and comment here.


A new report, ‘​Reversing from Recovery’​, published by the WeareSpartacus campaign group, analyses figures supplied by the DWP and Motability, to discover what effect of the replacement of disability living allowance with personal independence payment will have on the economy.

They estimate that the losses will include:

3,583 jobs in Motability-related industries
£​342 million contribution to GDP
£​79 million in tax receipts
Up to £​324 million contribution to GDP from disabled people’​s ability to undertake paid work.

They’d like your help to make sure that every MP, local paper and Motability dealer sees a copy of the report.

Find out how you can help here.

Thank you to everyone who posted or emailed feedback about the freelance advisors website (external link) we are setting up.  

At present our biggest problem is not a lack of claimants willing to pay for help – we’ve even had emails from people wanting to engage our fictional advisor Davy Jones.

Instead, the issue at the moment is the lack of sufficiently experienced advisors willing to provide a service.  We have had a number of approaches from individual advisors, but some were not sufficiently specialist – at this stage we are looking for people whose job is or was  almost exclusively benefits advice -  and others have dropped out at various points along the way.

Whether the main problem is fear of being ostracised by other advisors, fear of the uncertainties of self-employment or some other issue is something we’re going to explore.  

We definitely don’t intend to abandon the idea, but it may be some time before we are in a position to get it up and running.  Meanwhile, if there are welfare rights workers out there who are interested in providing a service that many claimants want and increasingly desperately need, please do email us.

As always, there’s much more news in the members area than we have room for in this newsletter. Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring, Jim Allison, papasmurf, Crazydiamond, San100, toggleuk.

Finally, as always,  a selection of good news from the forum:

Transferred from IB to ESA Support Group without medical, and for 2 years
“Just want to say what a great job B&W does as I followed everything they advised within the site. Great job moderators.”

Placed in ESA Support Group and DLA high rate mobility and low rate care awarded for another 2 years on renewal
“Just want to say thanks very much for all the advice from this forum, and the ESA and DLA guides.”

ESA Support Group after Healthcare Professional suspends medical assessment
“I would like to thank this site for the help and guidance”

High rate mobility and middle rate care awarded at DLA appeal
“you do a wonderful service for everybody and thank you again could not have done it without all your help”

Placed in ESA Support Group
“Just wanted to say a "huge thank you" to all moderators and members on the site, for all the help and support.”

DLA successfully renewed, award of high rate mobility and high rate care continued
“just like to thank everyone for their help and support, and the info and tips on this site.”

ESA Support Group without medical
“Just want to say a big thank you to this site and everyone here.”

Success at DLA appeal, low rate care awarded
“Thanks for all your good advice”

ESA appeal success, moved from WRAG to Support Group
“although I had my local welfare rights team support me. The guides on here and the advice from others here was far more useful.”

Placed in Support Group for ESA
“The information on this site and advice from forum moderators and members has been invaluable.”

ESA decision revised, moved from WRAG to Support Group
“Just a quick thank you to benefits and work for their sound advice.”

Moved from ESA WRAG to Support Group for 2 years
“transferred to esa from ib without a medical, using the wonderful guides”

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provided it is properly attributed to

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666

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