Personal Independence Payment Training

Tuesday 19th February, LONDON
Wednesday, 20th February, BRISTOL

Includes 3 months FREE professional membership for non-members, price discount for current members.

This one day course provides a clear understanding of personal independence payment (PIP) due to be introduced in April 2013.  No previous benefits knowledge is required.  Suitable both for advice workers and for support workers who  need a good awareness of the possible effects on their clients of the transfer from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP.

More details here.


Dear [fname],

It’s a report that every MP should be obliged to read.

‘The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment’ , from the Spartacus campaign, catalogues reports from support workers, claimants and the press about the horrors of the work capability assessment (WCA). 

We’ve included a few samples from the report below.  Please download a copy of the full report  in .pdf format from this link.
After you’ve read it, why not email it to your MP and ask them how much longer they intend to do nothing about the snowballing tragedy that is the WCA.  Given that in April next year the depressingly similar PIP points assessment will be upon us, the misery is only likely to increase.

We also have news of the new employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctions, the latest ESA transfer statistics, problems with universal credit, the continuing  row over Atos’ use of disability organisations in its PIP medical bids and the sad death of a benefits stalwart.

Plus, if you’re an experienced benefits trainer, we’d like to hear from you.

Thank you so much for information on your site on how to appeal.  Yesterday, I won an appeal for my daughter to have her transferred from WRAG to Support group. At the age of 76, I am my daughter's carer, as she has Huntington's Disease and the whole process of dealing with DWP has been a nightmare. Thank you once again,

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community (open access) before midnight on Thursday and you can get £3.50 off the cost of your annual subscription.  Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay:


to get an annual subscription for £15.95, down from £19.45.

So glad I subscribed . . . I now have indefinite high rate mobility and continued medium rate care. It will make coping with my MS a bit easier and my husband can continue getting his carers allowance and I can get back behind the wheel (after a mobility assessment to see if I need hand controls or an automatic car). Thanks again - glad I spent 3 weeks completing the form.


Below are just some of the 70 cases in ‘The People’s Report’ that should be obligatory reading for every MP of every party.

“Client’s husband is in hospital in a coma. He was sent ESA50. Client contacted DWP to explain situation and was asked to obtain letter from hospital confirming he is in a coma. Did so. Was told to send it to ATOS rather than local BDC. Did so.  Husband has now received decision letter- yep, as he has failed to return the ESA50 without good cause and is therefore capable of work and no longer entitled to ESA.”

“My client has had brain damage since a massive haemorrhage/coma at the age of 22. This has left him with a short term memory of 20 minutes. He doesn’t remember me, or my voice, and keeps extensive diaries of daily events so he can record what he has to do.  He has been found capable of work 3 times, and on one occasion he lost his home, because he couldn’t remember what he had to do to appeal.”

“I have a brain tumour and was left disabled because I had the left side of my cerabellum amputated,
because of this my balance and co'ordination to my left side is shot coupled with the fact that all the cancer could not be removed I am also terminally ill, I DID NOT MAKE IT INTO THE SUPPORT GROUP. I was told I should be working in a set period of time, funny as it was the same as my lifespan, I contacted my MP who was luckily an x GP and gave him permission to look at my medical notes he was disgusted and got my decision reversed I am now in the support group.  The letter from the DWP stated that I was not terminally ill for the purposes of benefit entitlement.”

“A young man explained how his uncle, who had severe mental health problems, committed suicide after the test gave him zero points and found him fit to work. He had appealed against the decision, and won at tribunal. But shortly after that decision, he was called in for another assessment, and for a second time scored zero points and was told he did not. He began appealing against the decision again, but a few days before another tribunal date was set, he hanged himself.”

“Stephen Hill, 53, of Duckmanton, died in December of a heart attack.  The dad-of-two had suffered heart problems for around two years and was awaiting major heart surgery but following a ten-minute medical examination on November 17 he was deemed well enough to work. Mr Hill’s brother Anthony, 52, said: “I think the worry put so much pressure on him.”

Don’t forget: pile the pressure on your  MP to read and respond to this report.

Whatever small positive effect Harrington may be having, it’s clear that it’s dwarfed by the government’s success in forcing more and more people off  incapacity related benefits.  

Figures released by the DWP (external site) show that the proportion of existing claimants of incapacity benefit (IB) found fit for work after being reassessed for ESA increased from 24 per cent in March 2011 to 35 per cent during February 2012.  

Members can read more here


Following on from the news that three more charities named in the Atos PIP medical bid   (members only) say they have had no contact with the company, Labour will this week ask MPs –​ and the National Audit Office (NAO) –​ to investigate allegations that Atos used misleading claims to win two lucrative disability assessment contracts.

Anne McGuire, Labour’​s shadow minister for disabled people, is to write to the NAO and the Commons public accounts committee to ask them to examine concerns about the documents used by Atos to win contracts worth nearly £​400 million.

Members can read more here

From 3 December new sanctions for esa claimants in the WRAG (members only) who either fail to take part in work-focused interviews or fail to undertake work-related activity are being introduced. As well as subjecting claimants to two separate sanction periods, 100% of the personal allowance for a single claimant will be withdrawn.


The Independent on Sunday is reporting that universal credit has been placed on a Treasury list of projects in crisis (external link).

According to the paper, sources within the DWP say that a realistic national roll-out –​ regardless of the department'​s public assurances –​ is already a year behind schedule amid fears that "​technical issues over computer software"​ could push that back further.

We received the sad news last week of the death of Judy Stenger.  Judy was the author of the utterly unique Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health (external link).

The Big Book was very highly regarded by advisors and support workers in the mental health field  and must be the only benefits guide to have reviews saying that it was ‘laugh out loud’ funny and ‘a joy to work from’.  It was, nonetheless, a hugely practical and extremely detailed guide to claiming benefits for people with mental health conditions.  Judy’s work undoubtedly improved the lives of many thousands of claimants and their families and we know she will be very much missed.

Benefits and Work wants to hear from freelance trainers around the UK interested in delivering open and in-house training on the personal capability assessment in your area, beginning in March 2013.  We pay higher rates than most  other agencies for reliable and experienced trainers.  For more information, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. giving brief details of your training experience and current, or most recent, employment.

As always, there’s much more news in the members area than we have room for in this newsletter. Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring,  Jim Allison, papasmurf, Crazydiamond.

Finally, a few cheery posts from the forum to end on:

Migrated from IB to ESA Support Group without medical
“To say I was surprised would be an under-statement, I was actually speechless.”

Successful DLA appeal, high rate mobility and middle rate care awarded
“There is no way that I would have had a clue how to present this without the help of this site.”

Moved from IB to ESA Support Group, 3 year award
“B&W has been a big help.”

Placed in ESA Support Group for 3 years
“I can’t thank you enough.”

Placed in ESA Support Group without medical assessment
“Thank you, thank you, thank you and again thank you.”

Placed in ESA Support Group for 2 years (ME/CFS)
“couldn't have done it without the B&W guides”

Success at ESA appeal, 9 to 18 points

“a big thank you to B & W”

Placed in ESA Support Group without medical assessment
“Thank you B&W, without your help THOUSANDS of people would miss out on what they deserve.”

Migrated from IB to ESA WRAG, decision reconsidered and placed in Support Group

“Again, thanks for all the help on here”

Success at ESA appeal, 0 to 21 points and placed in WRAG
“can I just thank everyone on this site for their help, advice and information”

Moved from IB to ESA Support Group without medical
“a very big thank you for the support and info on this outstanding site.”

DLA successfully renewed, high rate mobility and high rate care to continue indefinitely
“a huge thank you to all at B&W for the great guides on here”

Migrated from IB to ESA Support Group without medical assessment
“a BIG thank you to the B&Works forum for your support and information.”

Placed in ESA Support Group

“Thank you to everyone and especially the mods for your continuing help”

Moved from ESA WRAG to Support Group after requesting appeal
“I would also like to thank all members, and especially all the Mods for their great advice and support”

Placed in ESA Support Group without medical assessment
“A big thank you.”

Successfully moved from IB to ESA WRAG without medical, and successful reconsideration of mother’s AA
“Thanks to the site for the useful guides”

Join the Benefits and Work community now (open access) and discover what a difference we can make.

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provided it is properly attributed to

You can also read this newsletter online (open access).

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666


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