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Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and DLA Updates

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. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

DLA to PIP success
“Just called to get up-date on my claim from dla to pip and got enhanced rate for both !! I had middle/low on dla, thanks to this great site which I only came across and joined a few short months ago. I didnt exaggerate about my condition but because of this membership I was able to put into words the finer details required with confidence and educated myself as to how much detail I had to give ,,,as you just plod along and get on with it in life without thinking deeply how much your disability really affect you..so a big fat THANKYOU for all the guidance and wish everyone the same results,,stick with it”
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Dear Reader,

In this update, we reveal that the DWP have said that they will make recording of PIP medicals standard practice. But do we believe them?

We applaud Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for launching a court battle on behalf of shamelessly ripped-off ESA claimants.

We discover that universal credit (UC) has caused a huge rise in food bank use.

And we encourage you to have your say about benefit sanctions.

 

PIP ASSESSMENTS TO BE RECORDED
The DWP have said that they “intend to make recording the PIP assessment a standard part of the process”.

They also claim that they will make the PIP claim form more user-friendly.

The agency has been forced onto the defensive after an unprecedented response by claimants to a call for evidence last year by the Work and Pensions committee.

However, the DWP also has form for making promises to government committees and then shamelessly breaking them a few months later.

For example, they promised to trial issuing a warning before a first sanction. Then they decided not to do it because of an alleged lack of parliamentary time to pass new laws.

And there is no timetable as yet for introducing recordings. Nor is there any word on whether this will apply only to assessment centres or to home visits too.

So, we applaud the claimed intentions, but we will definitely not be buying any party poppers until we have evidence that the DWP’s promises are actually going to be kept on this occasion.

 

CPAG GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE
CPAG has begun a court battle to stop the DWP pocketing £150 million it has stolen from ESA claimants.

As we have reported in past updates, thousands of claimants were underpaid for years after being transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA.

The DWP have now agreed to repay some underpayments.

But they claim that the law prevents them paying back money owed from before a court ruling was made on 21 October 2014, even though the underpayments date back to 2011 in some cases.

However, CPAG is arguing that the date of the hearing is not relevant because the DWP had issued guidance from 2011 onwards telling decision makers the correct way to calculate ESA for IB transfer claimants.

So this was not a question of a misunderstanding of the law which a court had to correct, it was simply decision makers failing to follow their own official guidance.

If CPAG win, the DWP will have to put £150 million more back in the pockets of claimants it ripped-off up to seven years ago.

We’ll let you know how the case progresses.

 

UC CAUSES HUGE RISE IN FOODBANK USE
Figures released by the Trussell Trust show that there has been a massive increase in food bank use in areas where UC has been rolled-out.

Food bank use has increased by 13% over the last year across the country.

However, in areas where UC has been fully rolled-out for at least 12 months, there has been a staggering 52% increase in food bank use.

The findings have once again been dismissed by the DWP as anecdotal and based on too small a sample.

However, the claim that people on UC are being particularly hard hit is supported by entirely separate research obtained from the National Housing Federation by Sky News. This shows that a huge 73% of housing association tenants on UC are in arrears, compared to 29% of those not on UC.

 

BENEFITS SANCTIONS INQUIRY
Benefits and Work readers definitely contributed in their thousand to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments.

Now the same committee want to hear from you about your experience of, and opinions about, benefits sanctions.

For example, is the currently abandoned plan to introduce warnings before sanctions a good one?

The deadline for submissions is 25 May.

The massive response from claimants to a commons inquiry forced the DWP to act, or at least claim they are going to act, in relation to problems with PIP.

Another big response from claimants might oblige them to begin to soften the sanctions regime as well.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

Benefits and Work guides covers


DLA to PIP
“Thankyou all at B&W for the very good guides for help with the 56 page book! i filled in as suggested and finally got results yesteday, std help and full mobility.”

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
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: 48673

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

 

BENEFITS NEWS
Food bank use soars in universal credit areas
Food bank use has soared in areas where full rollout of universal credit has taken place, according to figures released by the Trussell Trust today.

All PIP assessments to be recorded and forms made more friendly, DWP claims
The DWP has said this week that it intends to make audio recording of all PIP assessments standard practice.

Disabled Scottish claimants to get right to independent advocacy
A right to independent advocacy services is to be extended to more people under Scotland’s new social security service.

99% drop in legal aid for disability benefit cases
The government has admitted that legal aid for disability benefits cases has plummeted by 99% since George Osborne imposed massive cuts on the legal aid system in 2013.

CPAG launches court battle on behalf of ripped-off ESA claimants
Benefits charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has launched a court battle to stop the DWP pocketing £150 million pounds unlawfully taken from ESA claimants pockets.

Have your say about benefits sanctions
The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into benefits sanctions and they’d like to hear from you.

Are charities working for the DWP being gagged?
Disability News Service (DNS) is reporting that charities that sign up to help deliver the government’s new Work and Health Programme must promise to “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.

 

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. We know it’s many readers favourite, and most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

Benefits and Work guides coversThanks for all your help
“Thank you for all your help, Finally awarded the Enhanced Rate of Mobility and lower care rate after sending in appeal forms. Originally I was assessed at home by Capita to be awarded the lower rate of the care component and lower rate of mobility component (loosing my life award of DLA Mobility higher rate) … I sent my appeal off and it was accepted, low and behold 2 weeks later I received a phone call from DWP stating they had made a mistake and I should have been awarded the Enhanced Rate of Mobility and lower rate of care component the paperwork arrived today confirming this. So many thanks for all your help which I am sure without I would have lost my car.”

Successful PIP appeal
“I would just like to thank everyone who helped me get the correct decision for my appeal ,I received my appeal last week stating that due to there assessor falsifying her assessment , the decision was reversed on my behalf , so now I receive enhanced for both living allowance and mobility .........Thank you so much Benefit & Works for you help and guidance”

PIP awarded
“I've had the assessors report and according to it I've got standard care and enhanced mobility… it's indefinite and no more reviews unless the DM alters it. Thanks to all the admin and staff that make this website and guides which are invaluable as well as other members input. Thank you so much to you for your hard work and the brilliant guides…Thank you”

PIP success (well, partly)
“Well I started my Dla to Pip transfer in January 2017. Zero points on assessment and no change on my MR. However, last Friday I went to appeal and was awarded Low Mobility but sadly I missed out on Daily living by 2points!. Although It was not quite the result I expected (I thought I would get standard award for both parts) I am pleased that I won my case and in effect left with the knowledge that I have nearly £1000 back payments owing and ongoing £90 per month approx, which will make an enourmous difference to my income. So thanks B and Work for your guildes and please please please Never give in to the DWP.. Ps Tribunal was very robust in their questionning but also fair in my opinion.”


DLA to PIP success
“i was on DLA indefinte on care and mobility but that brown envelope came which i wasnt looking forward too but i used the guides from benefits and work. They recieevd my form and a while later got a letter saying i must have a face to face. they arrange an home visit. i wasnt looking forward to that at all. The day came of my home visit and they gentlemen came to my place. He was only here for 30 minutes and to be fair to him he was very nice and very knowledgeable about my conditions. I wait for 2 weeks then i got a letter from PIP to say I have been awarded both components of PIP at the enhanced rate for an ongoing period. Thank you benefitsand work for all the guides and help you give. with out you claiming for any benefit wouldnt be a nightmare and i would be put off doing it Thank again”

DLA to PIP success
“I filled my forms in back in November, before I sent them away I came on here and got some advice, read the guides and got them sent away on December 1st, I received a message on December 6th saying the DWP had received them, great I thought, this will be all over by January, I was wrong, I heard nothing for 2 month, I was receiving DLA so it wasn't too much of a concern… [after F2F assessment] The report came and it was very thorough, not 100% accurate … but it was balanced and fair, she gave me 15 for Living/Care and 12 for Mobility, from the descriptors I had filled my forms in expecting something around 17 for care and 8 for mobility but her observations, medical evidence etc in her opinion meant I was entitled to higher for both… 3 days later (yesterday) the brown envelope came from the DWP who almost 100% word for word went with exactly what she had said on her assessment, which of course I was delighted with because she was thorough, helpful and came to help me get what I deserved… overall I am delighted despite it taking almost 6 month… it was a 10 year award with a date of no reassessments until after 2028, lastly thanks to Gordon and the B&W team, in a perfect world you shouldn't have to give tips and inside information and every disabled person should be judged fairly but as the system isn't fair and too many disabled people fall through the net, it is so important people like you help re-balance the system”

Successfully transferred from DLA to PIP
“The dreaded brown envelope landed today. Thanks to the guides I was able to complete the form”

Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you do!
“Thanks to your excellent advice documents and guides, and to the wonderful and detailed appeal submission from the local Citizens Advice Bureau, my brother-in-law won his tribunal.
In the transfer to PIP, in April 2017, the Capita assessor gave him 2 points for living and 0 for mobility so that he became ineligible for PIP and payment stopped. He had been getting DLA (Iower-rate living and lower-rate mobility) since 2006 or so. He has epilepsy, oral cancer, and severe hearing and speech difficulties. The Tribunal, last week, awarded him 18 points for the Living component and 10 for mobility, so he will now be on the enhanced rate for living and the standard rate for mobility. He should also get 9 months back pay.
As this appeal has happened just now, we hope the very welcome change in government policy won't require him to be re-assessed! Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you do!”
Paul

You have my profound appreciation and thanks
“I just have to tell you are a fantastic organisation that I am spreading the word about to all my friends who have health issues. Due to following your guides I was awarded my DLA indefinately (in 2015) after being turned turn down at every application (3X) for the previous 3 years. I also used your guides to get myself moved into the support group, which again I was successful with thanks to you guys:). Thus far I have not yet been moved onto PIP but I know with your guides I will be okay and don't need to worry. Keep up the excellent work you are a shining beacon in a world that has turned very very dark for people suffering chronic illness. Once again you have my profound appreciation and thanks.”
Angela

I can only thank Benefits and Work from the bottom of my heart
“I joined Benefits & Work about 3 years ago as I was receiving DLA low care.high mobility for over 20 years on an indefinite award. and expected to be contacted at anytime inviting me to make a claim for PIP. I always read through the relevant guides, which are so very informative; I waited a long time to be able to use the information.
The invitation letter finally arrived in October 2017, I phoned the next day to start my claim and around two weeks later the mammoth claims pack arrived and I was finally able to put the invaluable information from the guides to good use. I have very little feeling in my right hand so my friend filled in the form with the information I gave her, and some extra bits she felt I had missed, and I popped it in the post, registered of course).
It was little over a week later that I received a letter and an SMS message with details of the face to face interview I was requested to attend. . . I was convinced that I would be refused PIP so was delighted, when 3 weeks later I received the letter advising that I had been awarded enhanced care and enhanced mobility for an ongoing period and would not be reassessed for 10 years!


I can only thank Benefits and Work from the bottom of my heart for the hard work and knowledge you provide. I have not hesitated to tell my friends about this valuable service.”
Siobhan

Amazing
“Just a quick note to you all to say you have notched up another success. I used your service a number of years ago and was so successful then that both my wife and I obtained indefinite allocations in both DLA and ESA. With DLA going and the changeover to PIP, this process eventually dropped on our doormat.
The first was ESA for my wife. I read through your guidance and found it invaluable. Her ESA application approved straight off… no appeals necessary, no face to face assessments ….. amazing.
Best advice among much, was the advice to ask doctors for supporting letters, ahead of sending the form in.
We outlined what we were seeking from the doctors and although not getting that, we did get very supportive letters which obviously helped a lot in supporting our own evidence. Now only PIP x 2 and another ESA to go for us both.”
Andrew

I am proud to be a member, for life!
“To Steve, and the rest of the b and w crew, a sincere thank you for your work and advice on DLA to PIP.
I was awarded enhanced DLA many years ago but like many on here have had to go through the PIP process, despite my Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, for which there is no treatment or drugs available, being significantly worse. Against a backdrop of significant criticism the application was extremely time consuming and stressful, not helped by a delay in receiving their decision. Nevertheless I have again been awarded enhanced benefit. I have no doubt the quality of your website contributed massively to the outcome. I am proud to be a member, for life!”
Callum

I will be recommending your website to others
“I write to thank the team at Benefits and Work for the excellent advice and support you have made available online. I followed your guidance and, with the support of my medical practitioners and other supportive evidence, I am delighted to be able to report that I have been awarded PIP and placed in the support group for ESA.
It was a very stressful time but the outcome was such a relief. I have to say that I was treated in an empathetic manner by the DWP when I had to contact them. Furthermore, I was very fortunate to have a very professional Assessor conducting my PIP interview. I didn’t have to have an interview for ESA because they accepted my medical evidence. I know that my experience is not the norm because your site illustrates the heartache that many people face. I thought that it might be helpful to highlight my experience because it may give people hope. It is however, all in the preparation and that's where your advice comes in. I will be recommending your website to others and will happily continue to pay my membership if this will help to enable your company to continue to carry out the good work you do for disabled people trying to find their way through the Benefit quagmire system.”
Holly

 

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
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: 48673

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