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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.

PIP success for autism
“I can't believe it! They have awarded my daughter enhanced rate for both. I really cant believe I have dealt with the same company that my friends and other family members have been knocked back and had to go to tribunal…Thank you to everyone for all the advice and guides”
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Dear Reader,

Welcome back to our first newsletter following the summer recess.

In this edition, we look at the rising tide of warnings that people will suffer hardship if the government goes ahead with its forced migration of claimants from employment and support allowance (ESA) to universal credit (UC).

And, following a DWP admission that telephone waiting times for ESA are rocketing, we would like to hear about your experiences of phoning the DWP.

We also learn that the Work and Pensions Committee is growing irate because there is still no progress on the plan to start video recording PIP medical assessments.

Plus, we have the excellent news that John Pring’s Disability News Service has been saved to carry on the fight, thanks to the ‘overwhelming’ generosity of Benefits and Work readers.

 

WARNINGS GROW OVER ESA TO UC MIGRATION
The number of authorities warning against forced migration of claimants onto UC beginning in July next year is rapidly increasing.

The summer has seen fears raised by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Resolution Foundation, former chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee Paul Gray, mental health charity Mind and many others.

All of these warnings come in the wake of the damning assessment of UC by the National Audit Office at the start of the summer.

There are predictions of up to 1.8 million families being worse off as a result of the migration and of vulnerable claimants slipping through the net and ending up with nothing.

Sadly, there seems no possibility of the rollout of UC being prevented now.

But if enough voices are raised urging a delay, it is possible the government, already concerned about a post-Brexit economic slowdown, will see the political wisdom of postponing the start of the migration that could cause financial misery for millions of voters.

 

ESA TELEPHONE WAITING TIMES
The DWP have released figures showing that waiting times for ESA telephone enquiries have rocketed over the last five years.

The time taken to get to speak to a human being has risen from an average of 1 minute 25 seconds in 2013-2014 to an average of 13 minutes and one second in 2017-2018.

And that figure doesn’t include the people who give up in despair and hang-up before they get an answer.

In relation to PIP, the wait times over the same period have increased from 2 minutes and 5 seconds to 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

We don’t have any figures for UC telephone waiting times, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they are considerably worse than even ESA.

We’d like to hear from you about your experience of trying to get through to the DWP on the phone. Not just how long you had to wait but also whether you actually got an answer to your query when you finally got through, or whether you were simply placed on hold or even cut off, as some people have reported.

 

NO NEWS ON PIP VIDEO RECORDING
The Work and Pensions Committee have slammed the DWP for its failure to make any progress whatsoever on video recording all PIP assessments or making improvements in the PIP and ESA claim forms.

The promise to make the changes was made back in June of this year by Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People.

Though judging by feedback we have received. many people are much less keen on having their PIP assessment video recorded than they are on having an audio recording.

At the moment, however, the DWP seem to have simply decided to ignore the whole idea and carry on as normal.

The Work and Pensions Committee have now written to the minister yet again, asking for a firm timetable detailing when the changes will be introduced.

We’ll keep you posted.

 

OVERWHELMING RESPONSE TO JOHN PRING
We do have one bit of very good news.

In July, we made an appeal on behalf disabled journalist John Pring, who has been running Disability News Service (DNS) for the last nine years.

John Had used up almost all of his life savings keeping DNS afloat and it looked like the site would not survive. But, thanks to what John called the ‘overwhelming’ generosity of Benefits and Work readers, the site’s future is now secure until at least its tenth anniversary.

John added:

“Just as importantly, what it means for me is that I will know from now on that, when I write my news stories, as well as being based on the views of disabled people and their user-led organisations, they will also be crowdfunded to a significant extent by disabled people and their allies.

“That will make a huge difference to me in my work and I hope that that fact will also reach the government departments and other organisations that I write about”

So, many thanks to everyone who was able to send John financial support or words of encouragement. There is now a ‘Donate’ button at the bottom of every article on the DNS website for anyone who wants to help John in his ground-breaking investigations into the DWP.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

 Benefits and Work guides covers

PIP and ESA success thanks to you!
“Great news !! Got my letter today as result of PiP's face to Face Assessment. Got High Mobility and Standard Care component, was 1 point off Higher, so may appeal. Also got news last week stating that I had retained my Support Group ESA. Can honestly say I would not have received the upgrade if not for the information regarding recent High Court appeals against the DWP. THANK YOU for such a great site.” 

 

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: 86946

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
Warnings grow over ESA to UC migration
Growing fears are being voiced by a wide range of authorities over the plan to migrate millions of ESA claimants to UC, beginning in July 2019.

No progress on PIP video recording or claim form improvements
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has slammed the government for failing to make any progress on video recording PIP assessments or improving PIP and ESA claim forms, arguing that the DWP “still refuses to engage with the huge problems” connected with claiming the benefits.

As waiting times rocket, we ask ‘How long have you spent on hold?’
Waiting times for employment and support allowance (ESA) enquiries have rocketed over the last five years, and may actually be much worse than the DWP admits.

‘Overwhelming’ response by Benefits and Work readers to John Pring at DNS
Benefits and Work readers have once again demonstrated their ‘overwhelming’ generosity and willingness to support individuals and organisations fighting for the rights of claimants.

DWP surrenders on ESA backdated payments
The DWP has finally surrendered and agreed to repay ESA claimants all the money that was unlawfully withheld from them.

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 coversSuccess!!
“Today I called PIP to ask for an update on my application. They told me my letter had been sent out a week ago, but were able to tell me over the phone anyway. I was awarded Enhanced rate of Mobility and Standard rate of Daily Living! This what I was awarded when on DLA! I'm absolutely delighted! All the worrying we went through is so unfair. I just want to thank Gordon, and all the others on here, and the guides for helping me through the process. I truly felt that I wasn't alone going through the whole process and the info I got from the guides certainly helped me receive what I deserve. Thank you again to everyone!”

Thank you! DLA to PIP success!
“Thank you for the Members Guides, they have been invaluable and played a big part in my transitional claim being successful. Good home visit from Assessor, who was very understanding, was expecting a three headed Dragon, He was very kind and respectful, there are some good ones out there. Gone from middle rate care DLA to high PIP care. Mobility remains at low as expected.
Absolutely delighted. Thank You!”


PIP result – ongoing award
“After an ten week wait both I and my anxious friend received our PIP results on the same day, we'd had our face to face assessments at the same Atos centre. Enhanced Mobility and Enhanced Care, plus an 'ongoing' award with the next assessments in 2028. Many, many thanks to Gordon and everyone on this board for their kindness and support!”

PIP Result – hurrah
“I received my PIP result, with no face to face assessment - I got enhanced for both awards for 2 years, which actually I think is an increase as before I was on higher mobility but middle rate care. That does make sense as I am much more unwell and requiring more therapy and help than I was when I last applied for DLA… thank you very much for providing the guides and the forum. The guides were extremely helpful. I happen to also be applying for ESA at the same time my DLA to PIP thing came through which was a complete nightmare and this website has been my regular go-to for the past few weeks! Still waiting on the ESA result, so fingers crossed.”

ESA Support Group success
“With huge thanks to Benefits and Work, I completed the ESA form for my brother in May, and sent it off with supporting evidence. He had encephalitis as a baby and sustained long-term brain damage. A few weeks back, in mid-July, it was confirmed by letter that he would continue to be in the Support Group”

PIP MR success
“Like so many others, I joined this forum to access the excellent guides to help me prepare for my transfer from DLA to PIP.
I completed my claim forms using your guides and had my assessment about 10 days after my forms were submitted.. I had my assessment.. and I thought that it had gone well. The assessor seemed to understand the problems that I have with my various physical and mental health issues. I asked for the report a few days after the assessment and was completely shocked and dismayed at the its contents. Although there were no outright lies, the assessor had downplayed or ignored a number of areas which I felt would have scored me more points.
When the decision came.. I wasn't surprised to see that I had only been awarded standard rate for care and nothing for mobility (going from lifelong highest for both under DLA). I was incredibly downhearted particularly because the assessor had really seemed to be understanding the effects of my conditions.
Anyway, although, I initially just wanted to give up, I then submitted a MR, again using your superb appeals guides. My MR was submitted just within the deadline... Last week I received a call from the DM seeking clarification on an issue. Then today, I saw that I had an unfamiliar amount from the DWP in my bank account. On calling them I was told that my standard rate for care has remained unchanged but I have been awarded higher rate for mobility as well.
This will make an incredible difference to my day to day living so I am really happy and relieved. I know that I would not have got such a positive result on my own and so I am extremely grateful for the hard work and advice that you all give on this amazing site. Not having to worry about my finances, allows me to concentrate on trying to improve my health where possible.
Many thanks”


Great Result – thank you!
“ESA - I used your detailed advice for reapplying for my ESA and have been kept in the Support Group with no need for face to face interview. Although PTSD has physical effects too, this was based largely on mental health problems caused by Dissociative Disorder which is not well known so thanks, great result and a big relief and reduction in anxiety for me.”

Wonderful site
“Thank you to the wonderful mods and administrator s of this site. I was transferring from DLA to PIP and heard so many horror stories…I went through all the guides and PIP resources meticulously, friend filled in the lengthy form, 2 weeks after that I had assessment which was very nerve wracking, 6 weeks later, today, I get the dreaded brown envelope. 5 mins after getting it I opened it and was so relieved, enhanced mobility and standard care, I’ve fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, so I’m very relieved, it’s for 3 years, at least for 2 years I can breathe easy... This was first time and only for all the guides we would have struggled with the form, so thank you again”

ESA success
“Just wanted to say a big thank you to Benefits at work. After subscribing to you, i have now been put into the support group. I could not have done this without you. info you give is invaluable. I urged anyone to join this site”

Been awarded my PIP
“I HAVE HEARD TODAY THAT I HAVE BEEN GRANTED ENHANCED RATE FOR MOBILITY AND CARE AFTER HAVING MY PIP ASSESSMENT. BENEFITS AND WORK HELPED ME SUCH A LOT WITH THE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT”

Ongoing PIP awarded
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for advice in this website over the years. I’ve been exceptionally lucky in that i had a rare nice assesor! He told me what you see is what you get and ge’s not like the others, he said he can spot a genuine from a fake a mile off (i thought he was just playing good cop roitibe and lulling me into false sense of security). Bang on 4 weeks after home assessment got awarded ongoing PIP, review not before 2028! Speechless! I was on high rate DLA but didnt expect to get PIP first try based on others experiences. Huge, huge relief. Knowing my luck universal credit willput an end to it in a year or two instead. Thank you B&W”

Two thirds success – thank you so much
“Thank you B&W again, daughter's Tribunal this month was much more intimidating than three years ago …However we did, in the post, get back the Enhanced on both”

 

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: 86946

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