PIP Tribunal success
“well today was the day, I was very nervous about the tribunal hearing but I had read your fantastic guides and used your equally fantastic submissions to state my reasons. After the required move from DLA to PIP I was awarded 0 points at all. I won, 10 points and standard rate awarded for daily living component and 14 points/enhanced rate for mobility. Both backdated to 31st may and indefinite. I'm so grateful for all the advice I managed to get from here so a big thank you from me, a very happy chap.”
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Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we ask whether you were intimidated into giving a PIP or ESA assessor good feedback.

We discover that presenting officers for the DWP are being used to prevent awards of enhanced PIP and ESA support group.

We learn that disabled claimants forced onto JSA are much more likely to be sanctioned than claimants who are not disabled.

We also reveal that the DWP have broken pretty much all the promises they made to an influential government committee about sanctions. This includes a promise to introduce a system of issuing a warning instead of a sanction for a first ‘offence’.

And we learn that another influential government committee can’t believe that the DWP still haven’t introduced audio recording of all PIP and ESA assessments.

Are private sector assessment providers scaring people into giving good feedback?

The Commons Work and Pensions committee have been very scathing of PIP and ESA assessments.

However, they do believe that the system functions ‘satisfactorily for the majority of claimants’.

This belief is based on statistics provided by the DWP which show that Atos, Capita and Maximus “consistently exceed” their customer satisfaction targets of 90% for PIP and 91% for ESA.

But one member contacted us to describe how they had been asked to complete a feedback form by the face-to-face assessor in a way that we can only describe as intimidatory:

“She leaned over the front of my buggy so that she could see what I was writing and my signature. She hadn't yet processed my report so I was a very good girl and gave the nice lady the top score!”

Benefits and Work would very much like to know whether you were asked for feedback after your PIP or ESA assessment – we suspect most people aren’t.

And, if you were, was it done in such a way that you were fearful that your assessor might exact revenge if you wrote anything critical?

The DWP is aiming to have presenting officers appear at half of all PIP appeal tribunals.

They are supposed to work as ‘friends of the court’, helping the panel to reach an informed and fair decision.

They are paid for out of our taxes.

So, it is particularly disturbing that Disability News Service have uncovered proof that presenting officers are actually expected by their DWP bosses to prevent as many awards as possible of enhanced rates of PIP or the support group of ESA.

So, if you do attend an appeal tribunal at which a presenting officer turns up, have no doubt about whose side they are on or what they hope to achieve.

Something else that can hardly be in doubt is the fact that the DWP are particularly targeting sick and disabled claimants in their efforts to cut the benefits bill

The Demos think tank has produced a report in which it reveals that disabled claimants have been hit with over a million benefits sanctions since 2010.

The majority of these have been against disabled people on JSA.

Demos has calculated that disabled JSA claimants are up to 53% more likely to be sanctioned than JSA claimants who are not disabled.

Meanwhile the DWP have proved once again their utter contempt for any government body which tries to prevent them attacking claimants with the blunt instrument of benefit sanctions.

Last year the DWP made a number of promises to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) about how they would improve the sanctions regime and at last start doing some research into how sanctions affect claimants.

Now, however, the PAC has revealed that the DWP have broken virtually every promise they made.

The most important was the undertaking they gave that they would try out issuing a warning instead of a sanction for a first offence.

The DWP have subsequently refused to do this.

Their excuse:

“Competing priorities in the Parliamentary timetable mean that the legislative change that would be necessary to introduce a trial of this type cannot be secured within reasonable timescales.”

In other words, parliament is clogged up with Brexit and there’s no room for anything else.

Contrast this with the incredible speed with which they rushed through legislation last March to snatch PIP mobility from hundreds of thousands of claimants with mental health conditions and you can immediately see just how big a lie this is.

In reality, the DWP could undoubtedly introduce a warning system without the need for any legislation at all.

But as long as MPs let the DWP walk away from their promises, why would they bother?

Another commons committee, this time the work and pensions committee, has expressed in blunt terms its astonishment that PIP and ESA assessments aren’t recorded.

In a report this month looking at claimants’ complete lack of trust in assessment providers, the committee says that:

“Recording the face-to-face assessment would go so far toward increasing transparency and restoring trust it beggars belief that this is not already a routine element of the process.”

Unfortunately, with the degree of copying and pasting from one report to another that appears to be taking place, with sometimes bizarre results, the last thing the DWP will want is for claimants to be able to prove in large numbers that they never said what was attributed to them.

Expect more untruths and broken promises from the DWP in response to this report.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work guides covers

PIP success at Tribunal
“Johns journey from full DLA for 10+years to pip started in November 2016 and after all the usual fuss and pointless mandatory reconsideration he was only given standard rates for both so with help from your guides we appealed with detailed information we finally got the tribunal date for today 12th Feb we walked into the office they asked John 8 very simple questions then said they needed to discuss something legal amongst themselves would we wait in the next room we did and within 10 mins the clerk of court presented us with a notice of allowing the appeal and the tribunal awarded full pip on both parts and the DWP need to back pay it . Thank you very much”

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: 29576

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 presenting officers have target to nobble top PIP and ESA awards
Disability News Service (DNS) has uncovered evidence that DWP presenting officers are required by their bosses to try to nobble as many enhanced PIP awards and ESA support group awards as possible.

Were you intimidated into giving good feedback to a PIP or ESA assessor?
In recent reports on PIP and ESA assessments, the Commons Work and Pensions committee have been highly critical of private sector providers, but have also noted that ‘The PIP and ESA assessment processes function satisfactorily for the majority of claimants’.

MPs say it ‘beggars belief’ that PIP and ESA assessments aren’t recorded
In a detailed report this month, the Commons Work and Pensions committee has said that it ‘beggars belief’ that PIP and ESA assessments are not routinely recorded.

DWP unfairly target disabled claimants for sanctions
The Demos think tank has released a report in which it demonstrates that disabled claimants are more likely to be sanctioned than non-disabled claimants and that things may get even worse.

DWP blames Brexit for going back on promise to issue warnings instead of sanctions
The DWP has broken, or kicked into the long grass, a series of promises it made to the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

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.

Benefits and Work guides coversTribunal decision for Autistic Spectrum Disorder
“Just to thank Benefits and Work for their invaluable guides. I assisted my great nephew who is on the autistic spectrum disorder aged 21yrs at his tribunal. The DWP decision was overturned. They had awarded him 4 points for daily living and 0 points for mobility. He is now awarded standard rate daily and mobility award. Autism is a hidden disability often with comorbidity of anxiety and depression, this is not fully understood by the Atos/Capitas health assessors or DWP Case managers, they do not fully understand the impact this has on their independence and quality of life, frequently with limiting employment prospects. I would advise any family who are supporting a member of their family with autism to use these guides to challenge the DWP.”

Successful DLA to PIP
“I have been a member here for quite a few years and thankfully I have always received good help from this site. I had been on DLA high rate indefinitely & like everyone was absolutely dreading the changes. They finally came to me last December, had a face to face at home. It took about an hour, mostly going through more explanation about my answers in the form . . . I have just received notice that I've been awarded standard care & enhanced mobility. So relieved about the mobility, that was my greatest concern, I had literally worried myself sick about it. I am ok with the standard care . . . I know when I was reading up on it I always felt some relief when I read a positive experience & it gave me hope so that's why I'm writing this. The system can sometimes work, eventually ! so anyone in the midst of this keep perseverance & hope going !”

A success! DLA to PIP indefinitely!
“Thankyou so much benefits and work for all your advice and information on your site! Without this I am sure that I would have not got the rates that I have. I moved from DLA to pip and the assessment was so stressful, but it took from Dec 27th - interview on 15 th of January and result today on the 14th of Feb, I got lower rate for both living and mobility indefinitely. Your guides and suggestions and advice made the whole traumatic experience better and we're like a holding hand throughout the process.”

Finally got a result…
“Firstly, I want to thank the site for the amazing information that was used to get my husband the PIP after he had to re-apply from DLA. I have used this site now for about 5 years and we have always been successful. However, this year was a nightmare. The application went in in January and we were not given an appointment for a face-to-face till August 17! . . . in the end we had to get our MP on the case and he contacted Westminster. Amazing!! we got an appointment to suit us within a week and the award - high rate on both, within 2 weeks after the health assessors visit . . . So, don't give in! Follow what this site tells you and stick to your guns!!!”

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration success
“Woo Hoo! My daughter (now 29) has had a serious health problem since birth and we have claimed DLA/PIP for her since she was about ten years old. Every claim has been rejected and every claim won on appeal. I found this site a few years ago and used the guides to help ne to make the claims each time. The last time we had to apply she was given the lower rate for care and the lower rate for mobility. This was a reduction from the previous award when she was given the higher rate for care.
We got the papers to re-apply again last year and I filled out the claim for her - as usual using the guide on this site. She was given the lower rate for care but only needed one more point to get the higher rate. She was given the lower rate for mobility because they considered that her main problem with mobility stemmed from her mental issues. My daughter moved away to be with her boyfriend three years ago but I still fill in her forms. She registered with a new GP who has been absolutely supportive and wrote a very good supporting letter for us. The application I sent was backed up on every point with a reference to the GP's letter. We asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration of the decision and enclosed a copy of the GP's letter. We emphasised that everything in the original form was backed up by the GP's letter. I think that this landed on the desk of a Decision Maker at about the same time that the Government did a U-turn on the issue of Mental Health and Mobility points.
My daughter got a letter last Saturday to say that she has been awarded the higher rates for Care and Mobility until November 2021. This is the highest award we have managed to get for her since she was a baby and it will make an enormous difference to her. Just being believed is a good feeling instead of being told that the DM has decided that we are lying. Thank you”

PIP Success, thank you so much!
“Thank you so much! I just heard that my DLA mobility component (indefinite) will continue as PIP Mobility (enhanced, till 2022)! I can't believe it. I'd been gearing up for appeal in advance, assuming I'd have to go the distance! I have to say I put huge amounts of effort into my whole application for PIP, and your website was a very valuable source for my research. For anyone else out there facing the ordeal, if you can or have anyone who can do it for you, I'd recommend learning the exact legal meaning of all the descriptors (your site very useful for that), especially 'reliably', collecting a lot of letters of support/medical reports, and giving very full answers on the PIP2 form, always, always using their terminology in full. Make sure you keep photocopies of it all. For the face to face assessment, I notified them in advance and took 2 identical cassette players (not easy to get but still around at argos and similar) and recorded the session, which I'd also researched exhaustively in advance, using the documents on your site, as to what they'd ask, and do, and what the DWP guidelines for assessors are. It's been horribly stressful as most of you will know. So thanks again! And good luck going forward to you and all who face the same ordeal.”

ESA Review – good news
“..good news my ESA review- just rang them up to see if there was any new on my medical which I had in Mid December and they told me I’m to stay in the support group for again for two years, thank you benefit and works for all your help.”


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: 29576

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


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