PIP result
“I have been a member of this site for several years and you helped me to get in support group for esa and now I have been awarded enhanced payments on both for my pip after using your guides and this is for the next ten years so I will not be contacted until 2028 so Thankyou once again.”

Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we pass on the DWP’s reassurance that no-one will be worse off and there will be no face-to-face medicals as a result of 1.6 million PIP reassessments.

We discover that Capita have slashed the percentage of PIP cases they try to get additional medical evidence for, from 69% down to a tiny 2%.

And we wonder whether a struggling Capita will have to stop doing PIP assessments altogether.

We look at the bizarre world of PIP and ESA medicals, as revealed by the Work and Pensions committee. It features assessors who can see right through your shoes and who know just how far you can walk an imaginary dog.

We highlight the tiny take-up of the loan that is replacing support for mortgage interest.

And finally, we reveal that the DWP may well be quaking in its boots as it faces another potentially disastrous court case brought by another courageous claimant.

It depends on how much you trust the DWP to keep their word.

But Minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, told MPs earlier this month that:

“Nobody is going to be called in for a face-to-face assessment, and nobody is going to have money taken away from them.”

as a result of the checks being carried out on 1.6 million PIP claims highlighted in our last newsletter.

Aside from that, however, there is still very little clarity about who is going to be checked, how and when the checks will be carried out or whether people will be told when they have been checked.

Disability News Service has obtained documents which they say show that Capita has hugely slashed the proportion of PIP cases in which it sends for additional medical evidence, from 69% in January 2016 to just 1.8% in June 2016.

Further figures given by DWP minister Sarah Newton suggest this proportion may have fallen even lower in 2017.

Atos (now known as IAS) asked for further evidence in only 5-6% of cases in January to July of 2016, but this had risen to 13% by December 2016, according to DNS.

Additional medical evidence - provided by GPs, consultants, mental health nurses and other health professionals - can make a huge difference to whether a claim succeeds or not. When PIP was introduced, the DWP expected further evidence to be sent for in about 50% of PIP claims.

But collecting further medical evidence slows down the process of assessing PIP claims and costs money.

Capita has offered no explanation for the dramatic reduction in further evidence requests.

Meanwhile, here at Benefits and Work we continue to stress the importance of collecting further medical evidence yourself if you possibly can – although we do know how difficult that can be.

Capita’s share price plummeted 40% at the end of last month after it announced that its profits were going to be much lower than expected and warned that no dividends would be paid. Comparisons were immediately made with the collapse of government outsourcing firm Carillion.

Capita chief executive Jonathan Lewis stated:

“We are now too widely spread across multiple markets and services, making it more challenging to maintain a competitive advantage in every business and to deliver world-class services to our clients every time.

For claimants, the question now will be whether Capita counts PIP assessments as a profitable and core part of its business, or whether it will seek to walk away from the contract.

The House of Commons Work and Pensions committee paid tribute to the “efforts and bravery” of almost 4,000 claimants in sending them “honest and often distressing accounts” of their PIP and ESA assessments.

They included the assessor who could see that the claimant had full movement of their toes – even though the claimant was wearing leather winter boots at the time.

Another assessor equipped with equally impressive x-ray vision managed to observe a claimant carrying out a full page of exercises. This was despite that fact that the claimant never removed their winter coat or got out of their wheelchair for the entire assessment.

A particularly imaginative assessor was able to record that the claimant walked their dog daily, even though the claimant could barely walk and didn’t own a dog.

And one health professional, keen to take an accurate history, asked a claimant when they had first caught Down’s syndrome.

Another admitted a lack of knowledge about a claimant’s condition, but told the claimant not to worry as they would Google it later.

The DWP’s response to this damning report was predictably arrogant and dismissive. They said that it was “disappointing that this report uses a number of anonymous claims that we are unable to investigate”. And added that the vast majority of claimants are “happy with their overall experience.”

Fewer than 7,000 people out of 124,000 affected claimants have signed up for the loan scheme which replaces support for mortgage interest (SMI) in April of this year. Some still do not know that it is happening.

In 2015, the government announced that as a cost cutting measure, from April 2018 SMI would be replaced by a loan which would have to be repaid by the claimant when their home is sold.

The new scheme is voluntary, claimants do not have to sign up for it. But, if they do not, the interest on their mortgage will not be paid and they will have to find other means to pay or risk losing their home.

Yet the DWP admitted last week that not all affected claimants had yet received a letter telling them about the change.

Following its dramatic defeat at the end of last year in the claimant led court case relating to PIP and mental health, the DWP is now facing another court challenge in relation to universal credit.

A terminally ill claimant, known only as TP, was forced to claim UC after moving house on medical advice, in order to receive treatment.

As a result of moving to UC, which does not include Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP), the claimant is £178 a month worse off.

He has now been given leave to judicially review the decision to effectively punish him for moving house.

The DWP have argued that there is transitional protection to ensure that claimants do not lose out as a result of moving on to UC if their circumstances remain the same.

However, what they do not make clear is that this protection will only be available to existing claimants who are part of the mass ‘managed migration’ onto UC beginning in July 2019.

Anyone who is forced to claim UC because they live in, or move to, a UC full service area and have a change of circumstances will not receive any transitional protection.

We wish TP every success in a case they should never have been forced to bring.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work guides covers

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration success
“..just want to say how brilliant the moderators are on this site! Your comprehensive guides helped me to secure PIP through a mandatory reconsideration letter”

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.

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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

Huge fall in PIP medical evidence
Disability News Service is reporting that there has been a huge fall in the number of requests that Capita makes for further medical evidence when assessing claimants for personal independence payment (PIP).

Imaginary dogs and x-ray vision: the world of PIP and ESA assessments
The Commons Work and Pensions committee has produced a damning report about PIP and ESA assessments based on evidence they have received from almost 4,000 claimants.

Fewer than 7,000 take-up support for mortgage interest replacement
The DWP have come under attack because many people who are set to lose a vital benefit in 10 weeks’ time have still not been told.

DWP faces another potentially explosive court case
A terminally ill claimant, known as TP, has won the right to a judicial review of the decision to force him to claim universal credit (UC), resulting in a large drop in his income.

No face-to-face and nobody worse off from 1.6 million PIP reassessments
Minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, has told MPS in an emergency debate this week that there will be no face-to-face reassessments and nobody will have their benefits cut as a result of 1.6 million PIP claims being checked.

Will Capita ditch PIP assessments?
Shares in Capita have plummeted 40% today after it warned that I’s profits were going to be much lower than expected and warned that no dividends would be paid. It is also trying to raise £700 million and is going to sell non-core parts of the business.

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.

Benefits and Work guides coversAwarded ESA on paper Review
“Many Thanks to Gordon and all for your support,advice, and experience.I have been awarded ESA on a paper review.What a relief after 4 months of processing my claim.”

PIP Award
“A big thank you for all the advice on your site. Our daughter has been awarded Standard PIP for daily living and enhanced rate for mobility. We would never have gone into so much detail on the application form if we had not followed your guidelines. It took ages to complete the form... All very stressful and making her really ill. Hopefully, she can now relax a bit and start to reduce the tablets she has been having to take to deal with the stress. Thanks again - you are doing a great job!”

ESA appeal success
“my wife has just won her esa tribunal appeal thanks to this website”

Support Group success
“Just a quick post to say a big thank you for the guides which once again proved so vital in helping me complete my latest ESA re-assessment form and attending F2F. Had the decision through and a huge relief to know I'm in the Support Group for another 2 years… Without the help of the guides I doubt I would have any idea how to give the most accurate information possible which is so crucial so Thank You once again. Also a big Thank You to Gordon on the forums for his advice on my posts.”

Thank you – PIP success
“I would like to thank all concerned on how to go from DLA to PIP with a little as possible stress, I took info download to CAB which helped me filling form in Nov 17, got reply from assessment after visit at home end Nov 17, early Jan 18 saying that I had been awarded enhanced rate on both until Dec 2027, I already had high mobility on DLA but now have on both . . . Glad I joined keep up the great work.”

Persistence pays off!!
“Thank you. Used your info to fill in AR1 forms which came with a year to go on previous PIP award.. Had FtoF....terrible experience; very inaccurate report which meant a downgrade of my award with an immediate cut in benefit even before the letter arrived... Very stressed but dug my heels in and went to CAB and had excellent help to appeal to Tribunal stage. Had also joined in with writing to Select Committee on your advice. Anyway, after nearly a year of uncertainty, stress and loss of confidence, a brown envelope arrived last week to say my case has been reviewed, tribunal appeal discontinued and benefit restored to High rate for both categories until summer 2023. I had to keep reading it to make sure I wasn't mistaken.
I live with Autism and some physical disabilities which will not get better, only worse...I could write a book about the effects of all this degrading humiliating process which was designed for us to fail.....instead I will thank you all again and encourage everyone to persist despite everything done to discourage you. You can have help and you/we can succeed. The Government have backed down because we did NOT give up, lie down or roll over. Well done Us !!! thanks again”

Thank you so much
“I had to undergo the pip assessment just before xmas. I was on low rate dla for care and mobility....for years for dla, I have now been awarded high rate for care and mobility…Good luck to all and thankyou so much to the team on here”

“Thankyou thankyou thankyou
Finally awarded PIP at the same level as I had on DLA, enhanced for both. So relieved after months of anxiety, and worry. Would not of been able to do this without you..such a great site!”

Just been awarded Enhanced PIP
“Thank you Gordon for your constant patience and support answering all my questions. With you and the guide you provide I would have been lucky to get any award at all. This is going to make a huge difference to my health and life. Can't express my heart felt thanks enough.”

PIP Awarded at last!
“My husband was on DLA and has been going through the process of changing to PIP. He had his long awaited brown envelope arrive in the post today and has been awarded PIP enhanced on both components. He didn't have a face to face assessment, just a paper based one with phone call from a medical assessor plus all the medical paperwork we provided with the application form.
We just wanted to say thank you so much for all the hard work you all do Gordon. This site is a godsend and so much valuable help is given to help us all through the stressful time of changing from DLA to PIP etc. The guides are so useful too. Keep up the great work you guys do, folks like us really appreciate it. Wishing everyone a great weekend. Best Wishes to you all and Good Luck to everyone going through this same situation. Never give up.”

“Not sure if this is the right place to post this but I just wanted to say a big thank you.
I've been worried sick about DLA - PIP transfer for the past few years, biggest concern was loosing my motability vehicle as this would actually prevent me from working. This site has been a great help, I'm not sure how I would have coped without it and I recommend it to anyone that is worried about benefits…I feel very positive and relieved even though I have not received the final decision yet.”

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration success
“Thanks for all your excellent advice during a very difficult worrying time.Have had PIP claim (looked at) with M R and awarded enhanced rate care and mobility from low rate care ,higher mobility DLA to Standard care and no mobility PIP. The motability car is returned tomorrow as arranged and adaptions fitted to a second hand car.We cant go through all this again in two years
time.sorry motability you have been excellent for 29 years.But as we are now 68 time to reconsider.”

ESA success
“I found out today that I’ve once more been placed into the WRAG following my recent reassessment. Thank you Gordon and Co. for this amazing website. It’s a huge relief.”

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: 93746

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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