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I was so relieved that I cried
“Hi. I received my PIP decision letter today and delighted to say that I've been awarded Enhanced Rate for both Care and mobility. Amazingly it's for an 'ongoing period' and won't be reviewed until 2027. I was so relieved that I cried! I wanted to acknowledge the great help I gleaned from reading the section on your website on attending a medical assessment. It was full of important guidance on both the process and the meaning that ATOS accord certain words, descriptors and timescales when conducting the face to face medical. It undoubtedly helped me prepare and contributed hugely to the outcome. Thank you!”
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Dear Reader,

In this edition we look at a new Upper Tribunal ruling that could allow thousands more people with conditions such as epilepsy to claim personal independence payment (PIP).

This might be especially welcome news, given that newly released figures show that thousands of claimants with epilepsy are currently losing everything on being transferred from disability living allowance (DLA).

We also discover that a shocking 44% of PIP claimants have their benefit cut or stopped altogether when their award is reviewed.

On the other hand, we hear from members who are having a review of their ESA deferred for another two years and wonder how widespread this might be?.

For a long time now, the DWP have argued that a claimant can only score points for being unsafe if harm is likely to occur on more than 50% of the occasions on which they attempt an activity.

This is an almost impossibly harsh test, as is shown by the thousands of claimants with epilepsy who are having their payments removed entirely on being switched from DLA to PIP.

On 9th March, however, a panel of Upper Tribunal judges rejected the DWP’s 50% rule.

Instead, the panel held that the decision maker should look at whether there is a real possibility that harm might occur and also at how great the harm might be. The greater the potential harm, the less likely it needs to be that it would happen on any specific occasion.

So, if you are deaf and wouldn’t hear a smoke alarm when bathing, then the risk of a fire is remote but the potential harm is enormous.

It means there is a much greater chance of claimants who are at risk because of epilepsy, heart disease, learning difficulties, dementia and other conditions being awarded points.

This applies not only to daily living activities, but also to the ‘Planning and following journey’ activity for the mobility component, though possibly not where ‘psychological distress’ is the only issue.

Not only that, but the tribunal also held that where a claimant is at risk all the time, even if they are doing nothing, then they may also be at risk when carrying out PIP activities that do not carry any additional likelihood of harm.

So, it may not be necessary to prove that you are placed in additional need of supervision, or at additional risk, when you carry out an activity such as washing and bathing or dressing – only that you need supervision to keep you safe - or simply that you are not safe.

There’s a detailed look at this decision in the news section of the site and we’ll have added a new ‘Safety and supervision’ section to the PIP claims and reviews guide in the members area by Friday.

The increasing viciousness of the PIP regime was made clear in figures released by the DWP in response to a parliamentary question.

It reveals that thousands of claimants with epilepsy are losing some, or all, of their disability benefit on being transferred from DLA to PIP.

In January to December 2015, 610 claimants with epilepsy had their award reduced and 1,600 got no award at all.

In January to October 2016, 1,550 had their award reduced and 4,540 got no award at all.

Their condition hasn’t changed. Their needs haven’t changed.

But the determination of the government to remove financial support from disabled people has increased massively.

The Disability News Service has uncovered shocking statistics which show that:

the proportion of claimants who had their award reduced when their PIP was reviewed rose from 10% in 2014 to nearly 20% in 2016;

the proportion of claimants who had their PIP stopped altogether after a planned review rose from 13% in 2014 to nearly 25% in 2016.

At the same time, the proportion of claimants whose award increased following a review fell from 23% in 2014 to less than 16% in 2016.

A very large proportion of PIP claimants have conditions that will either not improve or that will deteriorate over time.

And yet their awards are being cut or ended altogether

Once again, it’s all about cutting the benefits bill by any means possible.

The cruel axing of the work-related activity component for new ESA claims begins next month. We’ve updated our ESA claims guides to take account of this.

We’ll end on a cheerier note.

We’re hearing from members that, having already had a two year deferral on their ESA being reviewed, some are now getting a further two years deferral.

We’d be very interested to know how widespread this is and whether it is only claimants in the support group who are being left in peace.

If you have had your review deferred, please let us know by posting a comment – there’s a link to the article below.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison


Benefits and Work guides covers

ESA support group
“Yet again I have used your guides to do my sons ESA review and after a long wait he was re awarded support group ESA. No face to face or phone calls. Thank you so much for your guides.”


Successful PIP Mandatory Reconsideration
“Massive thanks to the brilliant guides here, I've just received the news that my MR for increasing my mobility from standard to enhanced has been successful - yay!”

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: 85462

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, 31 March

Are repeat ESA medicals being deferred for a further two years?
Back in 2014, Benefits and Work first broke the news that repeat work capability assessments were being deferred for two years because of the massive backlog built up by Atos.

Massive 44% of claimants have PIP cut or stopped on review
John Pring’s Disability News Service (DNS) has revealed that 44% of all claimants who have a planned review of their personal independence payment (PIP) lose out as a result.

Safety and supervision ruling could mean PIP for many more claimants
A panel of upper tribunal judges has made a decision relating to safety and supervision that Benefits and Work believes could allow many claimants with conditions such as epilepsy, heart disease, dementia and mental health conditions to receive the enhanced rate of the daily living component.

Thousands of claimants with epilepsy have income slashed on transfer to PIP
The DWP have revealed that thousands of claimants with epilepsy are losing some or all of their disability benefit on being transferred from disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP).


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.

PIP successBenefits and Work guides covers
“I cannot thank B&W enough for all their help, Support & info. I had my pip assessment 8wks ago followed by a visit by ATOS at my Home believe or not. surprised they even sent anyone. . . anyway, after all the stress of waiting the answer, like checking the post daily in anticipation I got the dreaded brown envelope. I opened it expecting the worse after hearing of all the terrible story's in the media. But, wow, enhanced rate of both & I scored well over the expected score on each. I was on a high for the rest of the day, whistling away whilst attending my raised bed garden.”

DLA to PIP transition
“Dear B&W, the person I care for has successfully transitioned to PIP, enhanced rate for both elements, scheduled review 2027,I want to thank you so much for your invaluable Advice Guides and the wonderful guidance from your dedicated Forum Moderators. I don't think the outcome would have been as good without your help.”

DLA to PIP success
“The dreaded brown envelope finally arrived after 5 traumatic months . . . Sheer utter relief - awarded enhanced for both for ongoing period until after March 2027 (previously had DLA for both indefinitely). Maybe now I will stop feeling sick every time I hear the post drop through the letterbox each morning. I have been a BAW member for many years and would be lost without their guides. Once again a huge thank you to everyone who works so hard on the guides, newsletters, forum and web site. It is all truly invaluable to me - thank you so much.”

Got my PIP decision
“Well after 4 weeks of waiting after my face to face meeting, the dreaded brown envelope arrived, whilst physically shaking I opened the letter to read that I have been awarded enhanced Motability for almost 5 years !!!! (Feb 2022) - I get to keep my car and can now hopefully start to relax after the months of stress. Good luck to everyone applying, and thanks to everyone for your help and support.”

ESA appeal, no points to support group
“I recently had a ESA assessment and was not awarded no points for any descriptor, but i took it to the tribunal and was put into the support group. I would just like to take the opportunity to say a massive huge thanks for the guides that B&W provided me and for all the advice and help to all the moderators here. I would also like to add, if you have scored very little points or none at all like myself at a medical, just don't let it put you off appealing. Thanks again for all you're help.”

PIP mandatory reconsideration
“My husband was recently reassessed for PIP and although it had previously been awarded until October 2017 we found after the assessment that it had been downgraded as of 3/2/17 despite not being informed until 10/2/17. We found this site and subscribed and then went for mandatory reconsideration despite being told by 'other sources' that reconsiderations were rarely successful.We heard yesterday that the decision on mobility has been reversed back into our favour which means my husband can get mobile again by re-ordering another car. Thankyou for all of the information and the members guides that I used to submit evidence to support our reconsideration. I couldn't have done it without you! If anyone else is in the same position as we were go for the reconsideration and join this forum. Brilliant site. Thankyou from us both.”

ESA tribunal ,from zero points to 27
“Hello All , just to say that after demotion from ESA to JSA , have been re-instated with ESA support group component ,for the next twenty-four months ,as was not formerly in this category.Will get back -dated monies owed for the last six months.My humble thanx to Benefits and Work for their guidance, info packs ,sample request forms , Forum for plight and courage of Members.”

ESA success thank you
“I just wanted to say thank you to B & W for all the advice and excellent guides you provide for us. I went for a medical assessment in relation to my ESA claim just over three weeks ago and today I received a letter in the post to say I have been placed in the Support Group. I'm just so thankful and relieved!”

DLA to PIP success
“My mother received the Pip form to change over from DLA. It was sent back on 3rd January and the decision was dated the 9th March. She received her home assessment on 27th Feb.She was awarded Both Enhanced rate for daily living and mobility with an ongoing award made.Absolutely delighted and without the guide on B & W could have been a very different outcome so thank-you!”

Transfer to PIP from DLA
“Just wanted to let you know that I have had the dreaded brown envelope this morning detailing my transfer from DLA to PIP. I am over the moon with the result, I have received the lower rate of care and the higher rate of mobility. This is exactly what I was on before. And they have given me this 'indefinitely' which I am really shocked (but so happy) about. Thanks to your guides on how to fill in the original form and how to deal with a face to face interview I have been able to explain in great detail how my Multiple Sclerosis affects me on a daily basis in a clear and concise way. I really feel that using the correct wording and phrase-ology made a huge difference and I am so grateful. The worry is over and I can move on with my life. Thanks again.”


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: 85462

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, 31 March

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666