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DLA to PIP new award
“Thank you so very much once again!!! I first used this WONDERFUL site 9 years ago and was awarded both care and mobility at the higher rate. Just been re-assessed for PIP and have been awarded enhanced on both for 4 years. This was a very very stressful period and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your invaluable information.”
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Dear Reader,

In this update we have the extraordinary news that the DWP is searching for claimants to whom they can award a higher rate of personal independence payment (PIP). Though we also reveal that they are going to be doing their best to find as few as possible

We also learn that 1 in 5 DLA to PIP claimants gets no award at all.

And we hear from the most senior tribunal judge in the country that 6 out of 10 social security appeals are ‘no-brainers’ that the DWP has no hope whatsoever of winning.

Plus some feedback from members that proves his point.

 

SEARCH FOR PIP CLAIMANTS ENTITLED TO MORE
A shameful 7 months after it lost a PIP court case, the DWP has finally backed down and changed the way it makes decisions about PIP.

It has also begun searching for thousands of claimants who have lost out as a result of the delay.

Until last week, the DWP had argued that a claimant could only score points for being unsafe if harm was likely to occur on more than 50% of the occasions on which they attempted an activity.

But, in back March a panel of upper tribunal judges 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.

It has taken the DWP an almost criminal seven months to update their guidance to health professionals and decision makers

The DWP believes that an extra 10,000 claimants will benefit by £70 - £90 a month as a result of the change.

Penny Mordaunt, former minister for disabled people, told the Commons earlier this month:

“In the case of existing claimants the Department for Work and Pensions will undertake an exercise to go through all existing cases and identify anyone who may be entitled to more. We will then write to those people affected and all payments will be backdated to the date of the change in case law.”

However, few claimants would trust the DWP to identify all those who should receive a higher award, or any award at all if you got nothing. It would definitely be worth getting advice if you believe your case should be looked at again, especially as the DWP seem to be focussing almost exclusively on claimants with epilepsy.

 

AS FEW PIP SAFETY AWARDS AS POSSIBLE
Whilst the DWP have no choice but to change the way they assess PIP claimants on safety grounds, new guidance to decision makers issued following Mordaunt’s statement show that they aim to change as little as possible.

The new guidance gives five imaginary examples of claimants who will need their claims reconsidering in the light of the upper tribunal ruling.

As a result, the number of claimants who get an increased award is . . . can you guess?

Yes, it’s zero.

Not one of the claimants in the guidance is better-off because their safety has been properly taken into account.

Tribunals, however, may take a very different view.

Especially in light of the utterly scornful ‘no-brainer’ opinion of DWP appeals voiced by the senior president of tribunals below.

 

TRIBUNAL NO-BRAINERS
Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, has condemned the the DWP for forcing so many claimants to go to appeal when it is a ‘no-brainer’ that the DWP will lose.

According to Ryder, the percentage of appeals that the DWP lose has risen from 44% in 2007 to 61% now.

He told a barristers meeting that the quality of evidence put forward by the DWP was so bad it wouldn’t be accepted in any other court.

In relation to PIP and ESA medical assessments, Ryder said that often the tribunal didn’t “even know what the professional qualification or registration number was of the author” and that “in expert evidence terms in any other organisation you and I know of, it would be wholly inadmissible.”

Ryder added that judges had done a spot check on outstanding cases and found that “60% of it is a no-brainer” that the DWP are going to lose.

The Tribunals Service are now considering either sending cases back to the DWP where there is no reasonable defence to the appeal or charging the DWP for defending such cases.

 

MASSIVE DROP IN LEGAL AID CASES
It may be no coincidence that the standard of appeal submissions has plummeted at a time when only a tiny number of claimants are fortunate enough to have a representative.

The number of claimants getting legal aid to help with social security appeals has plummeted by 99.5% as a result of massive cuts to the legal aid budget.

Figures produced by the government show that the 83,000 claimants received legal help in 2012-13, before the cuts came in. This plummeted to a tiny 440 claimants in the last financial year.

 

FEEDBACK PROVES THE POINT
We normally try to keep the Good News From The Forum extracts we publish in this newsletter brief, But this time there are some very large chunks of feedback, because they prove a point.

Thank you Benefits and Work illustrates the extraordinarily complex appeals which some of our members manage to undertake, even though there is now virtually no legal aid. And in this case won on the papers only.

Meanwhile, DLA to PIP via Tribunal and Unexpected ESA Tribunal success are appeals that illustrate the ‘no-brainer’ principle above.

In both cases, the claimants won their appeal their oral hearing before they had a chance to utter a single syllable.

Which is not for a moment to say that our members didn’t provide excellent evidence at claim and appeal stage. We’re sure they did.

But it does prove the point that it is often overwhelmingly clear to a tribunal what their decision is going to be, based solely on the written evidence provided by the claimant, before a word is spoken.

 

DLA TO PIP CLAIMS
Finally, the latest DWP figures show that almost one in five claimants who are forced to move from DLA to PIP get no award whatsoever.

Up to July 2017, 649,480 DLA claimants were reassessed for PIP by IAS, formerly known as Atos. Of these, 125,680 (19%) received no award at all.

We very much hope, especially given the ‘no-brainer’ insight above, that any Benefits and Work readers who have found themselves with no award will have no hesitation in going to appeal.

And we also hope we’ll be publishing your Good News in this newsletter before very long.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

 Benefits and Work guides covers

DLA to PIP success
“Just received the brown envelope and thanks to your wonderful guidelines I have transferred from dla to pip enhanced rates on both components until 2023. All the stress of waiting now gone.”

 

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER
PIP success
“…I would like to Thank you for all your help 're my pip journey. I received my pip decision on Saturday and was awarded high on both. So thank you”
 
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.

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Offer ends midnight Friday, 17 November

 

LATEST NEWS
DWP already trying to get round PIP safety ruling
The DWP is yet again showing its contempt for the law by issuing guidance aimed at ensuring that as few claimants as possible benefit from a court decision on safety and supervision.

Most benefits cases are ‘no brainers’ that the DWP can’t win, says most senior tribunal judge
Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, has told a gathering of barristers that most of the decisions that the DWP tries to defend at tribunals are so bad that they have no case at all and cannot hope to win.

Seven ministers for disabled people in seven years
The Conservatives today proved once again how unimportant the post of minister for disabled people is by removing yet another incumbent before they have been in post long enough to achieve anything.

DWP starts search for PIP claimants entitled to more
Seven months after it lost a PIP court case, the DWP has begun searching for claimants who should be getting a higher award.

Almost 1 in 5 DLA to PIP claimants get no award at all
Figures released by the DWP show that almost one in five claimants who are forced to move from DLA to PIP get no award whatsoever.

99.5% cut in benefits legal aid cases
The number of claimants getting legal aid to help with social security appeals has plummeted by 99.5%.

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL
As always, many thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to post in the forum or email us with news of your success. (Names have been changed where we received feedback by email). We know it’s many readers favourite, and most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

Benefits and Work guides coversThank You – PIP success thanks to the guide
“I want to say a huge thank you to the Benefits and Work team who write the excellent guides for members. I’ve been awarded PIP with enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility “for an ongoing period”, which I’m guessing is the same as the old indefinite award. I couldn’t have completed the forms myself without the guide.”

PIP awarded
“Just like to thank Benefits and work for the advice given to help fill in the PIP form and assessment mmy husband and I went to the assessment on the 21 September today we have been notified that he has been given the standard daily living and the enhanced mobility . We were also stressed out about this pip form but perhaps we were fortunate to have a nice lady and caring lady who carried out the assessment… all the very best to any one worrying, try not to.. thank you moderators”

Thank you Benefits and Work
“I just wanted to thank everyone at Benefits and Work for your fantastic guides and advice on the forum, which enabled me to give really full and clear information, backed up by medical evidence, on the ESA and PIP application forms. As a result, my daughter was put into the ESA support group in January without needing a F2F assessment, which would have been hugely stressful. She was also awarded the standard rate for daily living for PIP 3 years without a F2F. She wasn't awarded anything for mobility (she has a mental health problem and is unable to go out without support). As her decision was made in January 2017, the 'window' between the upper tribunal decision on going out for people in psychological distress (reference CPIP/1347/2015) in November 2106 and the government changing the descriptors in March, we decided to appeal. Your advice was crucial in helping us lay out her case fully, clearly and succinctly. Even though we didn't go to the hearing, we won our case on the papers only. The court not only awarded her the enhanced rate for mobility for 5 years, they increased the award for the daily living component to 5 years. We had to wait in trepidation for 7 weeks to find out if the DWP would appeal but we have just received a letter from them confirming that they have accepted the court's decision. This will make such a difference to her over the next few years. We could not have managed to put together such a strong case without your help. I haven't posted to thank you before, as I wanted to wait until we knew the final outcome, but thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

DLA to PIP via Tribunal
“after getting a home visit for my move from dla to pip. the report came back with blatant lies in the report.. to say I was angry and disgusted is a understatement .I went from top mobility and top care to the standard rates I lost my mobility car I lodged my appeal after getting nowhere with the mandatory reconsideration process. my tribunal was lodged back in February and I had it heard today. on getting took in too see the panel they never asked me 1 question just said we are so sorry about this we have looked at your medical file and have already decided to award you high rate for both parts of pip we are so sorry you have had to come up here today its so wrong. To say I was gob smacked but very happy with the outcome. My rep said she had never seen this before. What I would like too advise others on benefit and works is record your assessments either advise dwp or do it covertly I cant stress this enough all my benefits have been life time awards for many years and in the space of 30 mins 1 bare faced liar from atos has given me a hell of a year physically mentally and financially. I had my carer present at the assessment as a witness but that never stopped the callousness from this young atos lady. keep up the good work benefits and work”

Thank you – ESA success
“Hello… I contacted you 3 months ago for advice. Have been successful with ESA application. Maybe I’m one of the few as it all went straight forward, but that ESAform50 you need to complete is a piece of work! Thank you for original advice”

PIP success – eventually
“I had the PIP assessment in June and nothing until this week, I have just been sent a letter saying received EH Rate for both till 2027. but the decision was made in July but the letters had not been sent out. All this time we have been waiting and every post was a nightmare it's been a good result but all I can say is CHECK CHECK CHECK and proof of postage and photocopy everything is an expense but its worth it. The guides on here are amazing more details on forms the better Thank you to your guides and keep going dont give up”

Unexpected ESA Tribunal success
“MR basically said No to absolutely everything, so I knew I had to appeal, but it was so terrifying I very nearly gave up on it. On the day of doom I got as much paperwork as I could find and got ready to leave, and I got a phone call just as I was leaving, from the clerk to the court, saying that the judge had gone over my notes in preparation for the tribunal and immediately decided I should never have been moved out of the Support Group, on the basis of rule 38 or something (haven't got the letter to hand, sorry), and therefore I didn't need to attend the tribunal at all! I nearly had heart failure on the spot! Just goes to show, the judge and tribunal doctor really ARE completely neutral. I am so relieved, I wanted to share this with you all, sometimes even when you have very little confidence that you will qualify you just never know”

DLA to PIP success
“The pain , the assesment, the mental torture is over , i have transffered from dla to pip succesfully. I was ,due to both mental and physical problems unable to fill the forms or represent myself at the assesment without a great deal of help, that help came from Citizens Advice, Mind and last but certainly not least your caring people at the wonderful "B and W"... Silly i know but you all gave me the determination to keep on going in ways you will never know, but your posts had a profound effect on my will power to " Never Surrender". I am not well educated and unable to express my gratitude to you ordinary kind, caring people, may God bless you and your loved ones, eventually the tears will stop, but my heart will never forget how you supported me most when my life was in such termoil.”

ESA Support Group Review success
“Hi everyone, just wanted to say big thank you to all on this site helped me with the back of GP and SW to get my ESA review with not even having to attend a f2f and still in support group. Took DWP from May 2nd until yesterday to inform of this fab news. Once again thanks for helping this year with both Pip and ESA to fab results.”


BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER
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: 63858

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, 17 November

Good luck,

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