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25 February 2015 newsletter

DLA to PIP success
“I followed your advice and received an award of enhanced mobility and enhanced care, this is far more then i ever expected to get, it has increased my monthly amount by £255 . . . it gives me the freedom to continue my rehabilitation and live with an even better quality of life moneywise, thankyou b and w”

20% off membership. Offer ends Friday.

 

One Million Medicals On The Way; New ESA Scores Hit Women Hardest

Dear Reader

WARNING: THERE ARE REFERENCES TO SELF-HARM AND SUICIDE IN THIS NEWSLETTER

Atos replacement Maximus say they will carry out one million work capability assessments (WCAs) in a single year – starting on Monday.

Meanwhile, a new scoring system has been created to decide if claimants with mental health issues can get into the support group because of a risk of harm to themselves or someone else. The system has been deliberately designed to make it more difficult for women to qualify than men.

There have also been important changes to the way health professionals estimate how far claimants can walk or ‘mobilise’.

SUBSTANTIAL RISK
The substantial risk regulations are now one of the most important ways of getting into the support group.

According to the independent reviewer of the WCA, Dr Paul Litchfield, 38% of all new support group entries are on substantial risk grounds . Two thirds of these are decided on the papers alone, without the need for a medical assessment.

The regulations apply where a claimant has not qualified for the support group, but where it is then decided that there would be a substantial risk to the claimant or to someone else unless they are found to be incapable of work-related activity.

HARDER FOR WOMEN
Until now there has been no difference in how men and women are assessed.esa mental health guide cover

However, Benefits and Work can reveal that a new scoring system deliberately makes it harder for women to qualify for the support group than for men.

For example, a man with a diagnosis of depression and a history of deliberate self-harm who is unemployed – generally the case for ESA claimants – will be eligible for the support group, according to the guidance.

But a woman in the same situation will not be eligible for the support group. Instead, she will have to also show that an additional factor – such as being homeless or divorced –applies to her.

The gender difference is likely to be based on the fact that more males than females commit suicide.

Indeed, figures released by the Office for National Statistics just last week showed that suicide rates are now at their highest in over a decade and most of the increase is amongst men. Organisations such as Mind are linking the rise to benefits cuts.

However, many people would question whether a difference in suicide rates is sufficient to justify different treatment for men and women in relation to claiming benefits. This is particularly the case because substantial risk is not just about deliberate self-harm or suicide, but also about issues such as unintentional self-neglect.

SCORE YOURSELF OR YOUR CLIENTS
But, as the guidance is already in use, we’ve created a step-by-step method for scoring yourself or your clients in relation to substantial risk.

Understanding how the system works may make it very much easier to present targeted evidence showing that you meet the esa physical guide cover substantial risk criteria. Conversely, if the guidance doesn’t cover your circumstances you have more information about how the decision was reached in order to challenge it.

You can find the step-by-step method in the updated ESA mental health guide in the members area of the Benefits and Work website.

MOBILITY CHANCES BOOSTED
There is better news for ESA claimants with mobility issues, however.

The new guidance has dramatically reduced the estimates of how far claimants can ‘mobilise’ based on their everyday activities. For example, claimants who can only move around at home have had their estimated mobility reduced from less than 200 metres to less than 50 metres.

This is the difference between getting into the support group or only scoring 6 points for mobility.

You can read further details in the ESA physical health guide in the members area, which also has details of improvements in assessing continence issues for people who also have mobility problems.

ONE MILLION ASSESSMENTS
In just a few days it will no longer be Atos who will be carrying out WCAs – Maximus take over at the beginning of March.

Maximus claim that they are taking on hundreds of extra staff and aim to carry out a million assessments in their first year.

However, they have made it clear that they do not intend to take on any additional doctors. Instead they are hiring extra administrators as well as health professionals such as physiotherapists.

DIRTY WAR BEGINS
Last week saw the beginning of the dirty war against sick and disabled claimants, something which is likely to feature heavily in this newspaper images of obese peopleelection.

David Cameron shifted attention away from tax avoidance by announcing a review of whether it would be possible to stop the benefits of obese claimants as well as those who are dependent on alcohol and drugs, if they refuse treatment.

It was an ugly and cynical, but effective, headline grabbing move. The number of claimants getting benefits on the grounds of obesity is in the low hundreds. But linking claimants with overeating and drug and alcohol abuse not only delights the media, it also paves the way for the even more vicious benefits cuts that the Tories plan to introduce if they regain power

TORIES TARGET WORKING AGE CLAIMANTS
And there’s no doubt who will be the target of those cuts – it will be working age claimants..

At the weekend IDS bluntly refused to tell Andrew Marr who will be hardest hit by the cuts, but he stressed that people should be in no doubt that billions will be cut from the benefits bill if the Conservatives win the election.

And with David Cameron’s announcement this week that pensioners benefits, such as cold weather payments, will be protected and not means tested, there is pretty much no-one else who could be hit.

Meanwhile, working age claimants are already being hit harder, with sanctions against ESA claimants hitting a new record high according to the latest figures.

And long overdue poverty statistics, which would help to show how much low paid workers and sick and disabled claimants have already lost, are being deliberately blocked by IDS. They will not now be released until after the election.

THE ELECTION WILL BE FACT CHECKED – BUT YOUR HELP IS STILL NEEDED
Happily, we can finish with some excellent news that neither Cameron nor IDS will welcome.

Plus a huge thank you to everyone who responded to our request to support Full Fact’s bid to fact check the election.

With your help Full Fact have now got the £25,000 they need to launch their six week election fact checking project – but it’s not over yet.

Over 120 donations flooded in to the Crowdfunder page during the 24 hours after the appeal in our last newsletter, totalling around £2,500.full fact team

The donations included £100 from Cathie Wood, whose brother Mark Wood tragically starved to death after being found fit for work. Cathie left a comment saying:

"You are doing vital work - good luck with it. This donation is in memory of my brother Mark Wood who died due to current govt. policies and lies."

But Full Fact have until Friday afternoon to carry on fundraising. Additional donations will help them extend their fact checking to more newspaper articles, TV programmes and election broadcasts.

Cameron’s ‘obese claimants’ propaganda was just a foretaste of the misleading smears that will be unleashed in the last weeks of the election. Every extra pound Full Fact get will help them challenge such attacks.

So, if you possibly can, please donate a few pounds or publicise the project on Twitter, Facebook , forums and elsewhere.

It truly will make a difference.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

BOOST YOUR ESA, PIP OR DLA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
Support Group success
“I started my claim for ESA on the 2nd Jan and have just received my letter advising that I am in the support group today with no medical. I followed the guides and read the advice given by the moderators which I have no doubt contributed to a successful outcome so many thanks to everyone at B&W.”

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: 2443

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
The election will be fact checked - but your help is still needed
Just for once, we can share some excellent news that neither Cameron nor IDS will welcome.
http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3030-the-eelection-will-be-fact-checked-but-your-help-is-still-needed

New scoring system for ESA substantial risk
A new scoring system has been created to decide if claimants with mental health issues can get into the support group because of a risk of harm to themselves or someone else.
http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3029-new-scoring-system-for-substantial-risk

Tories accused of trying to bribe pensioners with pre-election handouts
David Cameron has been accused of trying to “bribe” pensioners while saddling younger people with government debt, after he

Work capability assessments: One million disability checks planned
Maximus has told the BBC it will do one million assessments this year.

Suicides at 10 year high and linked to benefits
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show that suicide rates, which had fallen consistently since 1981, have been climbing since 2007 and are now at their highest in over a decade.

IDS hides poverty statistics until after the election
Crucial statistics on the effects of the governments welfare reforms will be deliberately delayed until after the election.

ESA sanctions hit new record high
Sanctions against employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants in the work-related activity group have hit a new record high, according to DWP figures released today.

IDS refuses to say who the victims of massive benefits cuts will be
Iain Duncan Smith continues to refuse to say where the axe will fall when massive cuts are made in welfare benefits if the Conservatives win the next election.

Fit for work death claimant’s sister backs Full Fact project
“This donation is in memory of my brother Mark Wood who died due to current govt. policies and lies”

‘Hate Sick and Disabled Claimants Week’ launched by rattled Tories. Three ways to fight back
The Conservatives have launched a week long campaign aimed at stirring up hatred against welfare benefits claimants in general, and sick and disabled claimants in particular.

 

FEEDBACK FROM THE FORUM
Please keep your feedback coming, we know that it’s a source of encouragement and hope to an awful lot of our visitors.

PIP award success
“Hi, Thank you to the people that run this website, think the advice given in filling out the claim form really helped me with getting my award. I have been awarded the daily living component (standard) …for almost two years…I am so lucky that my whole claim was sorted in just under 6weeks without the need for a face to face. Thank you to the people that write the guides.”

DLA to PIP success
“I cant believe it, with help from this website i have had my DLA successfully transferred to PIP. This time round i got enhanced rates for care and mobility for an ongoing period and wont be reviewed till 2025. What a result and thanks again to all at b + w for their great info”

ESA reassessment success!
“I just wanted to thank you guys for the excellent support offered on this site, a very worthwhile subscription… your guides and helpful forum posts has been a real help and comfort knowing I am not alone!”

ESA appeal success
“Hi I would like to thank bro 58 (moderator) for all the advice he has given me. This week I went from WRAG to SUPPORT GROUP thank you.”

ESA Support Group success
“I was very surprised when I contacted ATOS to check that the medical questionnaire had been received. I only put in my claim on the 4th february, got the form by the 8th and sent on the 9th… when I rang ATOS they had already looked at my form and supporting information, put me in the support group without need for a medical…I am very grateful I found this site as I am sure the support info must have helped. So thank you, I am so relieved”

SDA to ESA Support Group success
“Hi, I have just received my brown letter saying I am being transferred from SDA to ESA, which is excellent news…Many Thanks”

Enhanced rate PIP success! Woohoo!
“… I had my PIP decision letter this morning and have been awarded the enhanced rate for both daily living and the mobility component…I genuinely believe that my success with this claim was down to the fantastic information that you have on this site. I have been a member off and on for years as I have been re-claiming at various times, and will be recommending you to all my friends who are also facing renewal of their claims. I cannot thank you enough for the support and relief that has come with finding this site..! Your advice has never steered me anywhere but to the right place…I am forever grateful for this site and the guides that you have available. Best £20 I ever spent joining this site!”

ESA Support Group without medical
“Hi… I want to say thank you to Benefits and Work for all your good advice and guides. I have been accepted into the support group for ESA after requesting a supersession without being asked to attend a medical. Great news!”

PIP success after 11 months
“Thank you , thank you , thank you. Without this site i would not have known where to start to claim PIP on behalf of my son. I feel we are one of the very lucky ones, having only taken 11 months to get an enhanced award for the living component, and basic for mobility…It was only from following guidance from this site that we felt informed enough to challenge the decision, and requested a mandatory review.”

BOOST YOUR ESA, PIP OR DLA 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: 2443

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

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