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2 December 2015 newsletter

Enhanced PIP daily living and mobility
“I am so glad I joined and took heed of your advice when I had to apply for PIP! It was worth it! After a 'medical' interview 3 weeks ago, today the dreaded brown envelope arrived. Upon reading it, I burst into tears of relief! I have been awarded HIGH rate for both daily living and mobility until the end of 2021 - YAY!.. Your guides were invaluable and helped me concentrate on how to explain to the DWP how my disabilities affect me. I am so relieved I can retain my independence and it is very much due to the sensible and clear points you provided. I probably could not have done it without you. Thank you so much!”
Read more feedback

DLA To PIP To Take A Year Longer But One Quarter Still Expected To Get No Award

 

You can read this newsletter online

Dear [fname],

The DWP is now losing battles on all fronts, as the last fortnight has proved repeatedly.

Because whilst the big benefits news has been George Osborne’s massive u-turn over tax credits, there have been a host of smaller reverses for the DWP.

The forced transfer from DLA to PIP is already running into serious delays – though there has been no change so far in the estimate that a quarter of current working age DLA claimants will get no award of PIP; Maximus is failing to carry out enough work capability assessments, because not enough health professionals want to work for them, and support group numbers are rising as a result; the courts have ruled against the benefits cap for carers and mandatory work schemes are being axed as more and more big companies and charities bow to activist pressure.

On top of all that, Ken Loach is making a film about benefits sanctions. He says that the situation is now even worse than when he made ‘Cathy come home’.

FORCED DLA TO PIP TRANSFER IN TROUBLE
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now believes that it will take the DWP three years instead of two to reassess all current working age DLA claimants for PIP.

It blames the increase on Atos and Capita failing to carry out enough face-to-face assessments and suggests that the DLA to PIP transfer process is beginning to look as badly managed as the incapacity benefit to ESA one.

However, the OBR still believes that 26% of ‘lifetime’ DLA claimants will get no award at all when forced to claim PIP.

ESA SUPPORT GROUP KEEPS GROWING
The OBR has also revised its estimate of the proportion of claimants likely to be in the support group long-term. In July it thought there would be 30%, now it thinks that it will be 38%.

One likely cause is the fact that Maximus are failing to carry out enough medicals, meaning that two thirds of the backlog of reassessment of current claimants has still not been cleared.

MAXIMUS LOSING MILLIONS ON WCA
The reason that Maximus are not carrying out enough assessments is that they are having problems recruiting enough health professionals to do the job.

Their lack of staff means that an expected $30 million profit in the first year of the WCA contract has ended up as a $4 million loss. Maximus’ shares plummeted in value by 26% when the loss was revealed.

This is bad news for the DWP as well as Maximus. It suggests that the WCA is still tainted by the reputation it gained under Atos and even offering well above market wages is not enough to tempt health professional in sufficient numbers.

MANDATORY WORK SCHEMES TO CLOSE
The government is axing mandatory work activity and community work placements. The announcement comes after years of protests and court action by claimants forced into unpaid work with no prospect of a job at the end.

The not so good news, however, is that a new scheme called the Work and Health Programme is to be introduced.

As one commentor has already suggested, this might be the beginning of attempts to force claimants into compulsory treatment programmes such as CBT or help to combat drug or alcohol misuse.

BENEFIT CAP FOR CARERS UNLAWFUL
The High Court has ruled that the household benefit cap unlawfully discriminates against carers.

So far the DWP is still refusing to budge and has even issued an urgent bulletin to local councils warning them that the cap continues to apply. At least for single carers, however, they may have no choice but to obey the law in the end.

HOW FAR TO YOUR PIP ASSESSMENT?
Even though the PIP assessment backlog is supposedly history now, we’re still hearing from people who are being asked to attend assessment centres many miles from their home, even when there is a centre nearby.

Has this happened to you? We’d appreciate your feedback on this before we pursue it any further.

IN THE NEXT EDITION
We had hoped to have a response from the Information Commissioner about our challenge to the DWP’s refusal to give us information about the secret reviews into the deaths of 49 claimants.

The response is now overdue, however. We will be chasing it up and we’ll let you know what happened in our last edition before Christmas.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

Enhanced PIP award
“Got my PIP outcome today. Ten years enhanced on both components without an assessment. I have type 2a Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and was previously on lifetime DLA. So I am very happy and very grateful for the advice I received from this site. Thank you!!!”

BOOST YOUR ESA, PIP OR DLA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
ESA Appeal Successful!
“My appeal was successful! Points raised from 6 given in the medical to 27 in Tribunal! Thank you all so much for the help and the guides which helped me navigate through the nightmare so many of us have to go through. I couldn't have done it without 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.

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: 55642

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
Maximus losing millions on WCA contract
Maximus, the company which took over work capability assessments (WCAs) from Atos is currently losing millions of pounds on the contract, Disability News Service has reported.

How far were you asked to travel for a PIP assessment?
When there was an enormous backlog for personal independence payment (PIP) assessments, claimants were often given an appointment at a distant assessment centre, even though there was one much closer to them.

Mandatory work schemes for benefits to be scrapped – but replacement to be announced
The government is quietly abolishing mandatory work activity and community work placements.

ESA support group numbers continue to rise
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised up its estimate of the proportion of ESA claimants who will be placed in the support group.

Forced DLA to PIP transfer hits major delays, but over a quarter still set to lose out altogether
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said that it now expects the DWP to take 45% longer than planned to reassess all working age DLA claimants for PIP.

Benefit cap for carers ruled unlawful – but DWP keeps it anyway
The High Court ruled last week that the £26,000 household benefit cap unlawfully discriminates against carers.

Osborne’s u-turn will still leave many worse off
Millions of claimants breathed a sigh of relief when George Osborne not only dropped his attack on tax credits but also left housing benefit alone in his autumn statement this week.

Ken Loach making benefits sanctions film
Renowned film director Ken Loach is making a film about benefits sanctions and foodbanks and has called for ‘public rage’ about the way that ‘hunger is now being used as a weapon’.

Suicide study authors call for DWP to release data
The authors of a report which found that the work capability assessment (WCA) is linked to almost 600 additional suicide have called on the DWP to release any data it holds on claimant mortality.

WCA causes mental health relapses
The work capability assessment (WCA) causes relapses in patients with severe mental health conditions according to a senior consultant psychiatrist, the Guardian has reported.

 

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.

Positive ESA Result – Thank You!
“Had my WCA a few weeks ago, which went quite well in some respects. I managed not to have a panic attack in the waiting room.., so when the brown envelope landed this morning I was convinced they'd assessed me as fit for work. But no! Not only have I qualified for ESA, but they've put me in the support group, which I wasn't expecting…Thank you SO much for step by step guide, it was an absolute lifeline while I was wading through the ESA50 form, and I doubt I would have been put in the support group without it. I've got a friend who is considering applying for PIP and another who is due to be migrated from DLA, and I'll be recommending both to check out your guides for those too.”

PIP awarded – Thanks!
“I received a letter this morning saying that my lower rate mobility component would stay plus I have been awarded £55 per week daily living allowance. Many thanks to you for your help and advice!”

PIP success
“Just letting you know, I have just recently had a home medical (after a lot of persuasion thanks to my Carer) and I got a letter this week telling me I have been awarded Enhanced rate for both PIP Components. I would like to say a huge thank you for, your very helpful guides. I have recommended your site to some friends of mine.”

ESA claim successful
“I have just received a letter saying that I have been placed in the Support Group - I have not been asked to attend a medical assessment. Thank you! I couldn't have done it without your help”

ESA & PIP success
“Thanks to you guys my application for ESA was accepted on 19 of November less any medical and I have been placed in the Support Group until 10 of May 2017…Also, I have to let you know in May this year I was awarded Standard Daily Living component without any medical until May 2018”

Thank you – DLA to PIP success
“I have just received the outcome of my son's change from DLA to PIP. He has Asperger syndrome and ADHD so I knew I had to make a good case for him to at least maintain under PIP what he had under DLA. I was concerned that it would be really difficult to make the case and so used the PIP guides and took my time and added sheets…. I am really pleased to tell you that despite my concerns my son has been awarded the enhanced daily living rate and standard mobility for an ongoing period…Thank you for your continued help and good guidance, I am sure it made a difference... I hope other people will find the guides as helpful as I have. I will continue to subscribe as I am sure I will need your guidance in the future”

PIP Tribunal success
“Recieved decision letter today. Awarded standard daily living and enhanced mobility. Feeling very relieved..I really cant thank this site enough as I had been fortunate never to have had to claim any benefits at all. Thank you again and best wishes to all who are still struggling to overturn decision. It is such a relief…”

PIP success
“Well I.. have recieved my PIP award notice all at enhanced, thanks to this site.”

PIP Tribunal success
“Hi I was my son's representative at a PIP Tribunal on Monday 16th November. We had the good news today that he was entitled to the daily living component at the standard rate!
We are delighted. I cannot believe that it only took 48 hours after attending!..If I hadn't joined here (at the last minute) it well may have been a different matter…Such a great site for those going through re-assessments etc”

 

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: 55642

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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Comments  

#7 gordon mitchell 2016-02-19 11:31
Etty,
today I received my letter confirming that I will start my old age pension on 6/6/16 as I am 65.At present I am on e.s.a support group since april 2013.
At this time I was told that I would only receive the benefit for 6 months.This was a mistake and eventually I was sent a letter from a dwp supervisor stating that I would stay on esa till I retired on june 6th 2016.
Also today I received an esa form and I have been told to complete the form and send it back..What a waste of money and peoples time
#6 David 2015-12-04 01:11
Quoting Janis Shinie:
Has anyone been to Dundee for a PIP assessment? I have an appointment there next week and wanted to find out about parking and wheelchair access as there's nothing about it on the letter.


Ring up the number on the appointment letter and ask about it.

I was given a " local " building up two flights of stairs and parking 80 mtrs away.. no lift . No way could I manage either of them so asked for a more suitable one .
Given a place in a tower block in Swansea again over 100 mtrs to get to the building that had a lift to the fifth floor ..

Oops... not allowed to have disabled people in wheelchairs in a lift in the public building as it's against fire regs etc.if above the 2nd floor ..

Finally offered a spot 44 miles away, by six buses over a six hour round trip by bus.

Plus several hundred mtrs of walking or trying to stand upright
cant do that ever , plus I'm incontinent in bowel & bladder .& a diabetic etc etc.

Google Earth is your friend on this one .

Asked for a home medical as I couldn't attend any of th suggested locations plus I can never be sure that I am physically able to get out the house due to the effects of disability , meds and levels of incontinence.

A few days later someone rang me to tell me I would be visited by a practicing doctor in my own home .

I guess I'm saying do as much research and gathering information in the vein of what I've said and if it is not right for you let them know asap, by phone & by recorded signed for letter , keep several copy , get the name of who you talk to and use the clock on your computer to get an accurate date & time group .

As it was, the Doctor who came and visited me was brilliant I kept my benefits .
I'm just left wondering what happens on 21 Dec when I become 65 .
#5 Janis Shinie 2015-12-03 12:45
Has anyone been to Dundee for a PIP assessment? I have an appointment there next week and wanted to find out about parking and wheelchair access as there's nothing about it on the letter.
#4 Tess 2015-12-02 23:09
Do you have anyone else on your Motability Insurance, and, if so, will they drive you? Would your GP write a letter for you saying that the stress plus the drive would cause you problems? Will you be recording the assessment or could no.2 son do this? Best advice read up on here what you need to have with you. Love and Hugs from Newcastle.x
#3 MyelopathicMe 2015-12-02 17:00
Hi Tess

Thank you. That's what I'm worried about :-( According to my letter any taxi use has to authorised before booking by the customer service centre, otherwise they 'may not be able to reimburse your fare'. As I have a motability car & blue badge car, I cannot afford the cost of a taxi when I have fuel in the tank, so I will be driving as I have already said in my submission that I drive. I would drive even if it was in Keighley as I have mentioned that I have adjustable heated seats & have the option to stop & rest & change position when/ if I need to, which would be very difficult/ impossible on public transport but even so it is still painful & exhausting to drive.Furthermo re I will argue that being away from the house for so long means I will end up in bed for the rest of the day as happens every day due to the effects of my condition on my energy levels. However, I just need to convince the assessor now. I will be talking my middle son with me - he is my carer & I need him for back up. Fingers crossed x
#2 Tess 2015-12-02 14:33
That is their way of testing claimants ability to use public transport or drive. Not sure if you are able to do so but, if you have to take a taxi can you charge the DWP ? If everybody does this maybe there will be a rethink about distances we are forced to travel.Good luck.
#1 MyelopathicMe 2015-12-02 11:36
Hello there B & w

Regarding distnaces travelled to PIP assessment, II have to go for PIP Medical on Friday 4 December - in Leeds 19 miles away when there is an ATOS branch half a mile away in my home town of Keighley!!

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