PIP hope, frustration, result
“I will always remember this day! I had a phone conversation with the DWP today and was informed my claim for PIPs has been:-.................................. GRANTED!!!!!!... thank you for your support and advice through this long and worrisome process!
And a huge thanks to B+W for all your literature and support it made the difference!”


You can read this newsletter online.

Dear Reader,

They’re figures you won’t hear the DWP press office crowing about, unlike the massive drop in employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals. Nor will you see them splashed across the tabloids.{jcomments on}

The latest ESA outcomes statistics were released quietly last week, covering the period July to September 2013.

They show that 27% of new ESA claimants were found fit for work.

In the quarter immediately before the coalition came to power, on the other hand, the proportion of claimants being found fit for work was 61%.

So the percentage being found fit for work under IDS has more than halved.

But it’s the increase in the proportion of claimants being put in the support group that has been the most astonishing. When IDS became a minister it stood at 10%.

It is now an extraordinary 57%.

That’s right: almost six times as many people are getting into the support group under the coalition compared to when Labour was in power.

It’s true that there is such a massive backlog of ESA claims now that these figures may change when all the assessments have been done: there has been a particularly big rise in support group percentages in the last three quarters that statistics are available for.

But this isn’t just a blip: the proportion going into the support group has risen every single quarter since IDS took over. It had more than trebled by the beginning of 2012.

Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll see:

  • that the DWP now privately believe universal credit, with its fewer than 6,000 claimants, is dead;
  • that there is a massive backlog of 700,000 ESA medicals, leading a top judge to declare that the WCA process has virtually collapsed – we have an update on which groups are currently having assessments and which will be left in relative peace;
  • that three quarters of PIP claims are still undecided, but that PIP success rates are now higher than under DLA;
  • that the DWP is overturning more than half of its own DLA decisions under mandatory reconsideration;
  • that an IDS aide bullied the Trussell Trust foodbank into toning down its criticism of benefit cuts.

IDS likes to portray himself as a great reformer, weaning millions of sick and disabled claimants off their supposed benefits dependency.

The reality is that he is a startlingly incompetent failure protected by a discriminatory and unprofessional press office.

And, one day soon, even the hate-mongering tabloids he feeds will grow tired of covering up his catastrophes and turn on him.

Improve your chances of getting the benefits you’re entitled to and, at the same time, help us to carry on discovering the truth about what the DWP are up to.

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There has been a massive fall in the number of employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals according to official figures released today. ESA appeals lodged in the January to March 2014 quarter were down by 89% on the same period last year.

As well as the introduction of the mandatory reconsideration before appeal system, another cause of the unprecedented fall is likely to be the huge slowdown and resultant backlog in dealing with ESA claims. The number of ESA claims awaiting a decision is now over 700,000.

The result is that IB to ESA reassessments are now down to 5,000 a month and very few claimants with existing awards are likely to be re-referred. There’s more details on which groups are likely to have an assessment here.

It is not surprising then that Judge Robert Martin, the outgoing president of the social entitlement chamber which deals with benefits tribunals, has claimed that the work capability assessment (WCA) process has virtually collapsed as the DWP goes into a welfare reform induced meltdown.

It’s a claim which has led DWP minister Mike Penning to – somewhat bizarrely - accuse the Judge of being paid by the session and therefore having a conflict of interest.

Finally, the fifth and final independent review of the work capability assessment is now taking place and Dr Paul Litchfield has invited individuals and organisations to give their views.

Fewer than a quarter of the of personal independence payment (PIP) claims submitted between April 2013 and March 2014 have been decided, the DWP has revealed in its first official statistical report on PIP.

However, the award rate for people who are not terminally ill has increased to 50% - up from 36% according to earlier experimental statistics. This is something which the DWP are likely to be extremely worried about, given that disability living allowance awards were only made to around 45% of new claimants.

Meanwhile, the DWP is overturning a huge 55.9% of its own DLA decisions under the new mandatory reconsideration before appeal system, it has been revealed by the same Judge Robert Martin we mentioned above. The rates for other benefits have also been disclosed.


It appears that the DWP believes that universal credit (UC) is dead. Officially the department insists that ‘the vast majority’ of around 7 million recipients will move onto the benefit during 2016-17. Privately, however, the department is no longer predicting that there will be any universal credit appeals between now and 2019.

Yet only last year the DWP estimated there would be 77,926 UC appeals in 2014-15.

Their lack of faith is perhaps explained by the fact that the DWP have so far succeeded in getting just 5,610 claimants onto universal credit (UC). This means they would have to transfer more claimants to UC every single day than they have managed in the whole of the last year in order to meet their target of 7 million UC claimants by April 2017.

Either that or, at the present rate, it will take until the year 3262 to complete the transfer process.

Though perhaps we should be careful about how openly we criticise the DWP. The chair of the Trussell Trust has said that the charity made a decision to tone down its criticisms of the benefit system after someone in power warned them that they could get shut down.

Since the revelation was made, the Independent has revealed that the DWP has also made changes to food bank vouchers issued by Jobcentre Plus with the aim of preventing links being made between problems with the benefits system and use of food banks. The newspaper also identified the IDS aide they claim is responsible for threats to the Trussell Trust.


We came across this blog via twitter. Em has ME and writes about her latest medical with Atos for ESA and demonstrates some exemplary assertiveness skills.

There’s also Em’s twitter page, for more regular musings.

A shocking report published last week by Mind has found that the back to work support provided through the Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus is causing severe anxiety for people with disabilities and pushing them further from the job market.

Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work Related Activity Group’ is based on data from over 500 people with a range of physical and mental health problems. Following on from the report, Mind has launched a new campaign: People need support, not sanctions.

Nearly 60,000 people have pledged to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness on Time to Change’s pledge wall. The campaign is led jointly by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Members might want to add their name to this campaign, which aims to educate others and raise awareness of the discrimination that those with mental illness face in society.


The volunteer moderators of our Facebook page tell us:

'It has been really nice to see people on the page making supportive comments to others: "Hang on in there", "Don't let it get you down", "Find some local support to help you". We have also observed the level of disappointment (to say the least) with coverage of welfare reform on national media. It seems that even when the opportunity is there, it is often missed. One example being Question Time last week, which had two welfare ministers on the panel and it looked like no-one had submitted a serious welfare reform question.’

This week in particular, we have more news on the site than we have room to publish here, including:

‘Benefit Cap’ Judicial Review issued for disabled Grandmother and her carer

'Benefit sanctions can lead to a spiral of decline and potentially destitution', says Welfare Reform Committee

A fine problem for Atos

Atos was 'lightning rod' for anger over benefit changes

DWP embarrassment over misread date caused tribunal chaos and claimant hardship

Second court case to challenge Independent Living Fund closure

In this edition we’ve got good news from the forum plus some extracts from emails that we hardly ever manage to publish.

Finally - PIP awarded
“I have received the brown envelope today and finally contains good news, I have been awarded the daily living component, and the mobility component of personal independence payment .I am soo happyyy Thank you sooo much BW for all your support and help and good luck to everyone.”

DLA success
“I went from LRC and LRM to MRC and HRM! Thank you Ben and Work for your invaluable guides, which are a must for any kind of benefits form filling!”

ESA support group
“… I have been put in the ESA Support group without an ATOS medical - so wanted to say huge thanks for the info on this site and in the downloadable booklets. Helped enormously.”

DLA renewal success
“I was not due for my DLA renewal until end of september. I got a invite to renew beginning of may so filled it in and sent it back with the help of your wonderful site and have had a reply saying they have awarded me high rate care from middle rate and high mobility…Thank you for all the help this forum give all the people who help do a fantastic job god bless you all”

PIP Success
“… i have just come of the phone to the dwp decision maker who rang me …to inform me i had been awarded enhanced pip and mobility and i would receive backpay to the date i originally applied and he also apologised for the long wait…thanks to B & W for all the guides and help”

ESA Support group
“Just a quick message to let you know that …I have been put in the Support Group of ESA and had my claim backdated to November 2013. I would like to thank you for the help and support that you have given me during this difficult time. If it was not for the excellent guides that my husband used to complete all the forms that the DWP and ATOS had sent then I would not have been award the correct decision.”

“Yesterday, I went to the hearing for my Appeal against inclusion into the Work-Related Activity Group and for inclusion into the Support Group and I won. I do not want to detract in the least from the integrity and fairness of the Tribunal Panel Members but it is to you all that I owe the most thanks. At its most simple; I could not have done it without you. The ineptitude of the ESA50, the attitude of the D.W.P. and the complexity of some truly appalling legislation would have defeated me (and I have a degree in Law.) The beacon of light that you all held up to guide me through the maze, the advice on tactics and, to be painfully honest, the sheer relief I got from knowing that I was not alone and that there was a way through were invaluable. Thank you so much.”
Gerry via email

“ I would just like to say a thank you for the help on your site in filling in my ESA form, I wasn't sure what the outcome was going to be when I sent my form in, but I followed all the help and advice I found on your site, and within 2 weeks I had a phone call saying that I had been put on esa without a medical and that they had all the information they needed to come to the conclusion, which was I am now on esa for 3 yrs.. This was great news as I am a tetraplegc and also suffer from severe depression and this wasn't helping… I thought I would let you know of the outcome …Thank you”
Simon via email

“I was phoned yesterday by the Court clerk to say I did not have to attend my ESA appeal in the afternoon because the panel upheld my appeal. I am overjoyed! Now in the support group after having visited my MP who persuaded Jobcentre Plus to send audio versions of everything written to me. Had late appeal allowed. 'Read' your member guides thoroughly, acted on your advice. Can't thank you enough. I hope this inspires others not to give up. I know I nearly did on several occasions. However, the injustice of the reform and anger at being given the run around by the DWP made me continue. Hugely encouraged and aided by your website.”
Andrea via email

“Benefits and work has played a huge part in guiding me through all the pitfalls etc of making the transition from Incapacity Benefit to ESA (including the appeal I had to do), and I'm now looking to the website for advice with the transition from DLA to PIP.”
Terry via email

“I received letter yesterday advising that I have been awarded enhanced rates of PIP, so happy it will make a massive difference to my quality of life. The whole process took eight months, I waited six months for a medical, was advised DWP had all relevant information after seven months and received notification of award after eight months. Your site has not only been informative it also gave me great support during this process. Many thanks for your help”
Joanne via email

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Good luck,

Steve Donnison, Sangeeta Enright and Karen Sharpe

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


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