“Life changing” higher mobility and higher care DLA, plus support group
I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that runs the site and provides all of the up to date information and advice that proves so invaluable for so many. . . I couldn't have done it had I not had so many pointers and advice. The difference that it makes to me is life changing....really life changing. (Read more)
More feedback from the forums at the end of this email
New form cons claimants out of benefits
Two deeply disturbing things hit us as we wrote our guides to the new, harsh work capability assessment – the medical test for employment and support allowance(ESA) – which we’ve now published on the Benefits and Work website.
The first is the ways in which the ESA50 questionnaire misleads you about what information you need to give to get an award. Not once or twice, but over and over again. And much more so than the original questionnaire.
The second is the degree to which the guidance given to Atos health professionals repeatedly, in our view, misleads them about how they should assess claimants. And always to the disadvantage of the claimant.
We’ve given some detailed examples of these dodgy dealings - and what you need to do about them - in New ESA medical questionnaire cons claimants.
This combination of misleading questions and inaccurate assessments will undoubtedly mean that tens of thousands of people who are entitled to ESA will be forced onto jobseeker’s allowance instead. There they may well be subject to the dirty tricks practised in some Jobcentres to meet targets to get claimants’ benefits stopped altogether, as reported by the Guardian and – eventually – admitted by the DWP.
All that we can do at the moment is highlight the issue and ensure that our own members are forewarned about the traps set to deprive them of ESA. If you’re a member you can download our very detailed guides to claiming ESA on physical health grounds and on mental health and learning difficulties grounds. The guides now cover qualifying not just for the work related activity group, but also for the support group.
Members only downloads.
If you’re not a member, find out how to become one here.
There is, sadly, no doubt that the harsh new WCA is now here to stay. Thank you to everyone who asked their MP to sign the early day motion trying to get it stopped, as we requested in our last email.
We understand over 2,000 people did so using the Leonard Cheshire form alone. 85 MPs did sign and there is likely to be a debate when MPs come back from their latest holiday. But it seems exceedingly unlikely that it will be allowed to go to a vote now that the new test has been in place for weeks.
The next opportunity many people will have to make their opinions felt is the disabled people’s march and lobby of parliament due to take place on May 11. The event is being organised by the large range of disability charities which make up the Disability Benefits Consortium. You can learn more about the protest and sign up to join it here.
Elsewhere, we have news that the abolition of DLA and its replacement with PIP is set to carry on, regardless of the thousands of submissions to the government’s consultation on the issue.
There’s also the news that there were some very high profile failures in the bidding to get a slice of the new Work Programme contracts, which are set to replace the failed Pathways to work programme. The biggest losers by far were the voluntary sector, who were almost obliterated. But you will probably shed very few tears on learning that the alliance of the Shaw Trust and Atos Origin provided to be fruitless, with neither organisation winning a single bid.
Certainly, the protestors outside this Atos facility are unlikely to have been saddened at the news, as they took part in the third national day of protest against benefits cuts.
Meanwhile, still in their guise of medical assessors, Atos have now begun piloting the audio recording of ESA medicals, as requested by Professor Harrington. Have they forced themselves – as they do claimants - to provide state-of-the-art twin tape recorders and sound engineers for every medical? Find out here.
Good news from the forums
Finally, as always, some good news from the forums to remind us that not everyone gets their claim refused.
From 0 to 18 points on ESA appeal
Higher rate mobility, higher rate care and ESA support group on reconsiderations
From nothing to higher rate mobility and higher rate care on reconsideration
From WRAG to support on appeal
Higher rate DLA care and mobility on initial claim
From WRAG to support group before appeal
DLA increased on renewal following support group success
From 9 to 15 points at ESA appeal
ESA appeal won
Successful ESA claim
ESA appeal following cancer
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