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Free ESA, PIP and DLA Updates

With over 140,000 subscribers our fortnightly updates bulletin is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Get the facts about what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare.   Get your free benefits updates now.

DLA to PIP success for mental health
“Just thought i would pop a message here to thank everyone involved for this site and the PIP guides. I was really dreading the change over from DLA for my daughter as i have read lots of horror stories especially on mental health grounds, although she has quite severe issues, i didnt know how it was going to go. Yesterday the brown letter arrived and thanks to the guide lines i followed to fill in the form she was awarded ENHANCED for both parts for an ONGOING period! this is more than we ever could have hoped for and is going to help immensely in trying to help her become a little more independant in the future, (hopefully) thankyou so much for the help”

 

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER

 

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to the first newsletter following our summer break.

We hope you had a peaceful, if possibly rather damp, summer.

Sadly, it’s clear that peace is the last thing that the DWP has in mind. More so now than ever before, the DWP is determined to fight every attempt to challenge its decisions or to get it to disclose information.

It is an agency remorselessly at war with the people it is supposed to support.

 

APPEALS UNLAWFULLY BLOCKED
So, in this update, we have news of the fight the DWP have put up to prevent claimants who are late asking for a mandatory reconsideration from getting to an appeal.

Entirely unlawfully, the DWP has been blocking people from appealing if they miss the one month deadline for asking for a mandatory reconsideration. In truth, the deadline can be extended by a further year where the claimant has good cause for being late. But the DWP had decided that it was up to them to be the judge of whether the claimant had a good reason for missing the deadline and that tribunals shouldn’t be allowed any say in whether they could hear the case.

Happily, a panel of three upper tribunal judges have now said that the DWP must stop preventing claimants from exercising their lawful right to appeal. The case involved ESA, but will apply to all other benefits too.

 

MILLIONS SPENT ON ESA APPEALS
The Independent, meanwhile, has managed to get the DWP to hand over details of how much they have spent on trying to stop people getting ESA. And, in particular, on fighting appeals against sanctions of sick and disabled claimants ESA.

The cost to the taxpayer has been a staggering £39 million. And that’s just the DWP’s costs. It doesn’t include to cost of the tribunals themselves.

The fact that the DWP has been losing over two thirds of these cases doesn’t discourage them in the slightest.

Far from it. According to the Independent, spending on ESA appeals has increased by 77% in 2017.

 

WCA REPORT BLOCKED
We also have news of the DWP refusing to accept the ruling of the Information Commissioner that they must publish a report that shows how well Maximus, and Atos before them, carry out work capability assessments.

The reason the DWP have given for the refusal?

Publication of the report could‘give a perception of under-performance’ which could ‘damage the reputation and standing of the companies involved’.

In other words, they don’t want anyone to know how bad things are, so they are trying to use commercial confidentiality as a reason for withholding the truth.

The matter will now be decided by an information tribunal.

 

PIP GUIDANCE WITHHELD
Then there’s the fight that Benefits and Work is having with the DWP, which is currently on its way to the Information Commissioner.

We’ve asked to see guidance and training materials used by Atos in relation to PIP assessments.

One of the things we want to discover is whether Atos and Capita are following the same procedures or whether the outcome of your assessment depends in part on what area of the country you are living in.

The DWP are fighting to withhold the documents, however.

Their reason?

You’ve probably guessed it: the information is, in some unexplained way, commercially confidential.

The matter is now going to the Information Commissioner and then, quite possibly, to an information tribunal.

 

PIP QUIZZES
Finally, if you are in the mood for a benefits challenge that is less likely to end up in court , we’d love to have your feedback on the 12 short PIP quizzes we’ve published over the summer.

It’s not that we imagine that anyone’s idea of a fun time is answering questions about PIP. But the quizzes are the first step on a long road towards creating an effective training resource, as an alternative to face-to-face training courses.

They are very basic at the moment, but we’d like to get people’s opinion on them at the earliest possible stage.

And if you find that you are actually a bit of a PIP expert, you might even feel moved to offer your services as a forum moderator. Gordon and Mrs H would certainly appreciate the help.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

 Benefits and Work guides covers

ESA Support Group awarded without medical
“I would like to say thank you for your help and support. I've just recieved the news that I have been placed in the support group for my ESA on mental health grounds without attending a face-to-face assessment. This wouldn't have been possible without the guides which were very accurate. Your help and support are eliminating distress and suffering for many, so I'm very grateful and extremely happy for this great news.”

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER
ESA & PIP success
“A big thank you first of all - help from your guides etc and advice on the forum were invaluable - Ive just been awarded PIP standard care high rate mobility and my ESA has been awarded to carry on too. Such a relief.”
 
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: 55482

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, 8 September

 

LATEST NEWS
DWP spends £39 million a year trying to stop ESA payments
The Independent has reported that the DWP has spent £39 million on trying to prevent sick and disabled claimants from receiving ESA in 2016.

Test your PIP knowledge
Whether you are a support worker, carer or claimant you might be interested in our online PIP quizzes.

DWP fights to cover up differences between Atos and Capita PIP assessments
The DWP is refusing to release training materials which would potentially highlight difference between the way that Atos and Capita carry out PIP assessments, Benefits and Work can reveal.

One in three DLA to PIP claimants with MS lose higher rate mobility
Almost one in three claimants with multiple sclerosis (MS) who were getting the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) have had their award reduced after being forced to claim personal independence payment (PIP).

DWP loses fight to stop claimants appealing
The DWP has lost its fight at the upper tribunal to prevent employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants going to appeal where the claimant is late applying for a mandatory reconsideration. The decision will also apply to all other social security benefits.

DWP fights to withhold details of WCA ‘under-performance’
The DWP is fighting to prevent disclosure of a report that shows how well Maximus is managing to carry out its work capability assessment contract, for fear it would damage the company’s reputation.

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 most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

Benefits and Work guides coversPIP result
“This is my first time posting, although I have been an avid reader of the forum! I just wanted to express my thanks for the work that the team here do. My husband made a claim for PIP at the end of April. He had a Face to Face assessment at home exactly a month ago today. We received the decision letter today and he has been awarded standard daily living and enhanced mobility until 2020. This will, quite honestly, be life changing for us. I'm 100% sure that it's thanks to all the advice and guidance I found on this website that we had such a great result. So, thank you so very very much”

Thank you so much everyone – I’ve been awarded PIP
“Having my F2F 2 weeks ago my son phoned yesterday to ask about something and the lady told him she's got enhanced mobility and enhanced care but she couldn't say for how long but couldn't say how long I have to wait for the letter . Another good thing I was on middle care and low disability on DLA now I'm better off on PIP so a thank you everyone until the next time .”

Awarded PIP
“I got the dreaded brown envelope and I've been awarded PIP !!!!! Awarded Enhanced rate for motability and Standard rate for daily living. There are some things I don't agree on but I don't want to rock the boat at this stage and I'm happy with what I've got as I can keep my nearly new motability car plus the standard rate is higher than my old care award !! Thanks for the advice...”

B&W – You did it again
“I wanted to let you know that I have had my reassessment and have been moved from WRAg to SG. It is because I have had the use of B&W's excellent Guides. They have helped me fill out my claim form and choose relevant supporting documentation, helped me go through the assessment process, and I have had solid factual support from Mods in the forum and members encouragement.
This is the fifth time I have been reassessed, each time I have used the Member's Guides, and each time I have received a favourable decision of award. I cannot recommend B&W and their Guides more highly to new and returning claimants. Thank you all very very much.”

Support Group success
“Received decision letter after ESA reassessment on 25th July. Thanks to help from this site I am still in support group. Thanks for the helpful information.”

Awarded PIP at the Higher rate!
“Just a quick thank you to BW for the help I received in completing my PIP forms. The guidance in the guides helped me get PIP at the higher rates for 2 years, I'm convinced without the help I would have failed as I had no idea how to fill in the complex forms. I have Menieres disease which is difficult to explain to people, if there's anyone else with Menieres about to complete the PIP forms and need any help, please message me. Again thanks BW for the help”

PIP appeal success
“We have just had our PIP appeal gone from 0 points to MC [mandatory reconsideration] got 12 now after appeal have 27 points! Please don't give up I know it is stressful but worth it in the end. I can't even begin to explain my feelings towards our Capita assessor apart from the fact that I hope one day she finds herself in our position and goes through the terrible stress we have. Thank you Benefits and work could not have done it without you all.”

Successful PIP award mental health
“I have been meaning to write … to say a big thank you to you and all who operate this site, also give some hope to people like myself who are applying for or having reassessments for mental health issues.”

ESA success: I’ve been placed in Support Group!
“I just wanted to let you know that I followed your guides for ESA on mental health grounds and after a WCA that got delayed time and again I was placed in the support group! Thank you ever so much for helping me get through an incredibly distressing time in my life and for your support. Now I can finally focus on trying to get better. I wish everyone the very best of luck. Stick with it as it can be done”

PIP award
“Hi just phoned DWP for pip decision and been awarded enhanced on care and mobility gone I was on low care and high mobility before it has took 4weeks since my assessment can I thank this great site for all the guides and information on here will keep on here for the future thanks again all the moderators”

Wow won PIP Tribunal
“Hello Guys I would just like to say a huge thank you to every one on B&W site my wife one her tribunal today it has been one big uphill struggle since February she received standard daily living allowance which was reinstated and 12 points for mobility which the DWP was not going to give once again thank you so much, good luck to everyone else it is worth fighting for please do not give up”

Thank you
“I just want to thank you. I have been put in the support group for esa. Following your guidance on filling ESA50. Then my gp being sent a 113 form. I have been placed in the support group.
I feel so relieved and as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I cannot thank you enough”

 

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER
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: 55482

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, 8 September

Good luck,

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