We’ve been doing our best to accommodate people who needed to change their training dates, with the result that we now have 2 places available in Bristol, one in Leeds and one in London for PIP training in March.  Otherwise there’s availability on all our April dates.

More about PIP training here.

Although we don’t cover universal credit on the site, we’ve had a number of request for universal credit training, so we’re running our first course in Bristol in June, to be followed by more in the Autumn.

More about universal credit training here.

Dear [fname],

Employment and support allowance (ESA) is to be stopped when a claimant challenges a decision that they are fit for work, the government has confirmed.  Instead, claimants will be forced to declare themselves fit for work in order to try to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) whilst still asking their GP for sick notes (now called fit notes) to maintain their ESA claim.

Only when a mandatory reconsideration has been carried out will the claimant be able to lodge an appeal and once again receive ESA at the assessment rate, until the appeal is decided.  There is no limit on how long the DWP can take to carry out a mandatory reconsideration.  

You can read more about this nightmare ESA scenario here  (open access)

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community   (open access)

before midnight on Thursday and you can get £3.50 off the cost of your annual subscription. Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay:


to get an annual subscription for £15.95, down from £19.45.

If you haven’t yet checked how you think you would score in the latest version of the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance or the personal independence payment (PIP) medical test, then now is your chance.

We have now updated our online ESA test and our online PIP test (open access)

to reflect the most recent changes.  Both are free and both are entirely confidential, though you can give  your email address if you wish to be emailed a copy of your scores as well as seeing them online.

We’ve also now updated all our guides to claiming ESA.  The appeals guide is still current, but we will be updating it as soon as the compulsory reconsideration before appeal system is introduced for ESA.

We hope that we manage to do a better job of passing on accurate information about PIP than the DWP.  The department has sent out millions of letters to disability living allowance (DLA) claimants telling them about the introduction of PIP and including a helpline number.

Helpline advisers, however,  have been causing confusion and distress by  telling callers that they will begin assessing all DLA claimants this year, regardless of whether they have an indefinite (lifetime) or time-limited award of DLA.  In fact, claimants with an indefinite award will not be assessed for PIP before 2015.  

Members can read more and comment here.

Jobcentre Plus staff have also been misleading claimants, this time about their right to appeal if they have had their benefits sanctioned for failure to take part in forced work placements.  

The Court of Appeal recently found many such schemes to be unlawful, but Jobcentre Plus staff are telling claimants that they cannot appeal their sanction in the light of this decision, because the DWP are now taking the case to the Supreme Court.  In fact, according to CPAG, claimants not only have a right to appeal now, but may lose that right if they do not do so within the time limits.  There’s more information on the CPAG website.

Finally, Just a quick plug for the WoW Petition which has been submitted by actress and award winning comedian Francesca Martinez, who has cerebal palsy and often describes herself as ‘wobbly’.

The petition calls for a Cumulative Impact Assessment on all government cuts and changes affecting sick and disabled people and a stop to the Work Capability Assessment.  It already has over 23,000 signatures.

You can sign the petition here and read more about WoW here  (external links)

With the current updating deluge, there hasn’t been much time for news gathering.  But thanks to the Disability News Service, there’s lots more news in the members area,

 including:  Atos nurses were told: ‘You’re too nice to work here’; DWP disability report is ‘mine of information’ for campaigners; Jobcentre ‘harassed’ woman as she received emergency blood transfusion.

We know how much feedback from other members means to people who get this newsletter, so please do keep your good luck stories coming.

0 points to support group on appeal
“Like so many subscribers, i would wish to tender a very warm and super-sincere 'thank you' to this site, its staff and moderators, for all your help and information.”

WRAG to support group on appeal
“Thank you to you all on the site for your patience and commitment to everyone.”

WRAG on appeal
“I would also like to express my sincere thanks for all the in valuable advice and support I have received from this forum”

IB to support group
“I want to express my sincere thanks for the excellent guides on this site. I followed the advice on this site to the letter.”

IB to ESA support group
“Thank you again at Benefits and Work - I would recommend your website and Guides to anyone undergoing the Benefits process.”

IB to support group
“A massive thank you to B&W - your guides to ESA helped so much with what to include on the ESA50.”

Support group on appeal after two years
“thank you all at B&W for all your hepl and advice the guids, the moderators and everybody out there for sharing their stories.”

WRAG to support group on appeal
“The guides are so detailed and accurate and utterly invaluable.”

WRAG to support group on appeal
“Thank you all for your advice and support over these many long months (if not years), and though it’s now a well-worn cliché, I really couldn’t have done it without you.”

Support group on renewal
“The guides have been a great resource for me and have helped me every step of the way.”

Support group for ME/CFS
“I'd just like to say a huge thanks for all the help available on this site.”

IB to ESA Support Group
“Just to say a massive THANK YOU to the B&W website”

High rate mobility and low rate care on renewal
“Just to thank you for your Guides“

Support group on renewal
“I have been a member of the site for about 2 years and can honestly say its money well spent.“

IB to ESA support group after 21 months
“THANK you so much for all the really useful info on this site, it was very helpful, and gave me the heart to carry on.”

Son’s DLA reinstated
“thanks for everyones help please dont give in”

Support group without a medical
“thanks your help I was moved straight to the ESA Support Group without a medical.”

Join the Benefits and Work community now  (open access) and discover what a difference we can make.

You can also read this newsletter online  (open access).

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666


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