Another big thank you
“Here is another big thank you to B&W for the excellent advice. My daughter was on standard rate PIP for daily living and mobility from 2015 until July 2018, when her benefits were stopped after a medical assessment at her home. We submitted a mandatory reconsideration request, but this just confirmed DWP's decision . . . Using the excellent B&W guides, we submitted an appeal, together with a witness statement from my daughter's husband, who was present at the assessment. At the tribunal yesterday, the court found in my daughter's favour; the PIP has been reinstated from July 2018 until 2021, and her PIP has been increased to the enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility. A big relief. Thank you.”
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Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we discover the true horror of the benefits cuts of the last decade, with the average disabled claimant being £1,200 a year worse off.

We learn that existing PIP pensioners are now covered by the 10 year light touch review system.

We hear the all too familiar story of claim forms that disappear when they are posted to the DWP, but suddenly pop up again months later.

And we see yet another example of how claimants in Scotland are to be treated with a degree of respect that is entirely absent in the rest of the UK.

Finally, we are offering a 20% early bird discount for the first open PIP training day we have scheduled in quite some time.

A new report shows that disabled claimants have had their benefits cut by an average of £1,200 a year since 2008.

For households with one disabled adult and one disabled child the cuts are even more shocking, an average of £4,300 a year.

According to the report by the Disability Benefits Consortium:

“The more disabilities you have the more you lose out, for example someone who has six or more disabilities loses over £2,100 each year on average, whereas someone with one disability loses around £700 each year.”

The cuts have come about because of a whole raft of changes introduced over the last decade, all of which will be painfully familiar to most of our readers, including:

  • the move from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • the time-limiting of contributory ESA
  • the abolition of work-related activity group for new ESA claims
  • the move from disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP)
  • The benefit freeze
  • the rollout of universal credit (UC)

The report is the closest we have yet had to a cumulative impact assessment of the effect of benefits cuts.

It makes very grim reading.

Yet, so far, Boris Johnson – almost certainly the man who will make the decision - has refused to commit himself to ending the benefits freeze.

So, things could still get worse before the government decides that claimants have suffered as much hardship as they can possibly bear.

Existing PIP claimants who are over pension age will now be covered by the light touch review system, meaning that they will only be assessed every ten years.

Back in May we revealed that new PIP claimants whose review would have been scheduled after they had reached State Pension age, would instead receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at 10 years.

At the time, Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

“This step means new claimants to PIP who reach State Pension age before their review is due won’t have one unless they tell us their needs have changed, and the next step is to bring this in for all pensioners.”

The DWP has now announced that the 10 year light touch review has been extended to existing PIP claimants above State Pension age.

The department claims that 290,000 claimants will benefit from this latest move.

It’s a tale that will be only too familiar to many of our readers.

You send in a claim form and hear nothing back.

When you contact the DWP they tell you that it was never received. You know that isn’t likely to be true, but they keep insisting.

(Although if you’ve used our guides you will have ensured that, at the very least, you have kept a copy)

The issue has now been highlighted by Bob Doris, convener of Holyrood’s social security committee. Doris has written to Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd, demanding urgent action.

The problem was brought to the attention of Doris by Glasgow North West Citizens Advice.

Staff there have helped claimants complete forms and sent them off in prepaid DWP envelopes, only to be told that they were not received.

In some cases the DWP suddenly “find” the form, which they then claim has only just arrived, after repeated phone calls and increasing pressure from the claimant.

But this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to three months.

Doris told Rudd: “People can be waiting over 26 weeks for new claims and a mandatory reconsideration, then up to six months for appeal.

“Essentially vulnerable constituents are often left waiting a year for money they are entitled to, and have to battle a work backlog, an imperfect assessment process and the risk of forms going missing.”

The problem is undoubtedly connected the fact that DWP have cut staff by a massive 21% - a total of 19,189 job losses – since 2013.

No wonder then, that staff have resorted to losing claim packs.

Benefits and Work would be interested to hear readers stories of disappearing DWP documents.

In yet another sign that claimants in Scotland are to be treated with a degree of dignity and respect that is almost entirely absent south of the border, disabled claimants are to receive free advocacy support when when applying for Social Security Scotland benefits.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Our social security service provides dignity, fairness and respect. Advocacy support for those applying for Scottish benefits is an integral part of delivering those principles.

“To protect disabled applicants’ rights and ensure everyone is fully involved in the decisions that affect them, advocacy support will be provided where necessary.

“I believe this is important additional help we can give that’s not currently available in the Department for Work and Pensions administered system.”

It seems that, more and more, claimants will be looking to Scotland for examples of how the whole benefits system can be improved.

We haven’t run an open PIP training day for quite some time.

But, now we’ve started work on developing online PIP training for our prospective moderators, we decided it was time to begin promoting more traditional training as well.

The first training day will run in Nottingham on 6 November.

And, if you book before the end of July, we’ll give you a 20% early bird discount, no matter how many places you take.

Just email the booking form before the end of the month and the discount will be automatically applied.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

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: 95288

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

PIP training day – early bird discount
We’re running our first open PIP training day in quite some time on 6 November in Nottingham.

Disabled claimants benefits cut by £1,200 a year, disabled households by £4,300
Disabled claimants have had their benefits cut by an average of £1,200 a year because of a series of changes introduced since 2008, a report by the Disability Benefits Consortium released today claims.

Disabled Scottish claimants to get free advocacy support
The Scottish government has begun consulting on how best to provide free advocacy support for disabled claimants beginning in the summer of 2020.

Missing claim form misery highlighted
Claimants are suffering months of hardship because the DWP falsely state that they have not received their claim form, Bob Doris, convener of Holyrood’s social security committee has alleged.

ASA launches formal investigation into DWP fake news
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched a formal investigation into the DWP’s fake news universal credit (UC) campaign, anti-poverty charity Z2K has confirmed.

Existing PIP pensioners covered by light touch review from today
The DWP has announced that existing PIP claimants who are over pension age will now be covered by the light touch review system, meaning that they will only be assessed every ten years.

Legacy benefit claimants targeted by fraudsters
The DWP is failing to protect claimants of legacy benefits, such as tax credits, from fraudsters who trick them into moving to universal credit without their knowledge.

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.

Thank you! In ESA Support Group with no interview
“A big 'Thank You' to everyone at Benefits And Work as I have been placed in the ESA support group without a face to face interview. Using the guides on this site I completed a review ESA 50 in March 2019. I knew that if I had been placed straight in the Support Group I would be notified directly by the DWP; thus, a brown envelope would drop through my letterbox. If not, I would be invited to a face-to-face assessment and it would be a white envelope from the asessment company dropping through the letterbox! Every day I have looked with trepidation at that letter box and today the brown envelope came! I am so happy and relieved but I do know that it was the guidance that I received from this site that has givien me that happiness and relief. The demonisation and prejudice towards the vulnerable and sick in our society by the government is heinous. So many people have committed suicide driven to it by the stress, fear and loss of financial support imposed upon them by the DWP. Your website redresses this cruelty and arms people like me with not only knowledge but hope. I found the forums immensely supportive too which is why I'm posting today”

Thank you for PIP advice
“Thanks to the great advice from your site have been awarded PIP enhanced care and mobility for 10 years Hooray!! your PIP guide was invaluable and well worth the subscription fee”

PIP award
“I’ve just received the dreaded PIP Award letter. After 8 weeks of turmoil waiting I’ve been awarded the same as I was on previously on the old system!!!! I can’t thank the team enough,and I’m sure that without your fantastic guidance forms I think the outcome may well have been different. Having turned 65 years of age I do hope that the DWAP sticks to its promise of only doing a courteous inspection every 10 years or so,but I’m not holding my breadth. Thank you once again and I can now look forward to picking my mobility vehicle in the next few weeks.”

ESA and PIP results
“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone here for their helpful comments and advice. I was awarded my esa and pip i eventually got the acknowledgement of my daily struggles and was standard mobility in my assessments both were considered on paper based due to the health problems I have and I couldn't of done it without the help of this great team of people on b&w. Thank you so much”

Another Thank You
“Another Thank You to B&W and another triumph for common sense and decency. Yesterday, my Appeal was successful and I was awarded 12 Mobility points, indefinitely, raised from the 4 (useless, of course) points which the DWP had awarded. My “invitation” from the DWP to apply for PIP with the impending closure of my DLA higher rate of mobility arrived 1 November 2017. With the 64 week wait for the Tribunal hearing it has taken until now for the nightmare to end. Well after I lodged my Appeal, I became aware that GP patient records are now being made available to patients. I extracted the relevant sections from my record and sent them to the Tribunal as Further Evidence. I would urge anyone who is going through, or about to go through this nightmare, to get hold of your patient records just as soon as you can and then use them. The DWP think we are all liars and do not believe what we write on our application forms or say at the assessment so they may not take any evidence you provide into account, anyway. But the Tribunal did believe my evidence. And it goes without saying – APPEAL APPEAL APPEAL”

PIP and ESA success
“I was awarded ESA from September 2017…I also put in a claim for PIP and was refused but went through the appeals process using the guides you provide on Website and attended for an appeal where as I was extremely unwell. The judge advised me to resubmit my Witness statement with more detail. I was Given a second date for the appeal hearing on the 23rd of September 2018 16 months after I put my original claim in. On the 22nd of September 2018 I received a phone call from DWP stating they had re-examined my original evidence and decided to award me standard rate care and enhanced mobility backdated to June 2017. With the backdated award I was able to pay off my mortgage arrears and at least now have the stability of being able to keep my home. This was an incredibly difficult two years but thanks to benefits and work Advice I was successful in my PIP appeal Which also awarded me severe disability premium onto my ESA. So I’d Just like Thank everyone concerned for the advice on this website as it has enabled me to keep my home and have some stability for the next couple of years anyway.”

PIP award
“A big thank you to benefit and works spoke to DWP today awarded enhanced mobility and enhanced daily living on going award so relieved once again thanks to everybody for their help”

I won my PIP Tribunal thanks to your guides
“I went to my assessment in December 2018 and did not get the award I was hoping for. I was awarded standard rate living component only in January 2019. I attended my interview with my sister and we taped the whole thing. I found it stressful as I did not like the interviewer or some of the questions asked - some of which I found irrelevant i.e, my schooling and qualifications. I knew I wanted to appeal when the decision came through and did the mandatory appeal and was turned down. I decided to go to tribunal and was dreading it and procrastinated in getting my form in online. I did not even read the health report until the last minute deadline for online appeal. I was scared to read what they would have said about me. When I finally did, I was in tears because it was full of untruths, for example, removing a headscarf, and signing a form and using my walking stick in my left hand - all of which did not happen. I was able to compare their report with the recording, and used your tribunal guide to do an online appeal at HMRC - which was two hours late, but accepted. Imagine my surprise when I received a text from HMRC to say my case was closed because DWP had accepted my appeal. Thank you so much for your guides, I would not have known to first check for all the mistakes and point them out - which I think was one of the main things to swing the decision in my favour.”

PIP for ongoing period
“What can I say? I was dreading getting the result of my PIP claim in the brown envelope through the door like many of you do. I had been on DLA for years at high rate for mobility and middle rate for care all due to the help of the Benfits and Work team. I knew from reading the forum that a lot of people were loosing their claims on the changeover… When the envelope dropped through the door I actually felt quite sick when seeing it. I had become quite reliant on the DLA over the years for transport with a motability car and also being on a special diet I found it helped with the food bill too. Also it made me feel a bit more independent as I could afford to be. Anyway, I opened the the envelope and it said I had been given the enhanced rate for both mobility and care for an ongoing period. I could have cried from the relief of all the stress I had been through . . . Without your help I don't know where I would be today (certainly more depressed). I would highly recommend joining B&W as its worth every single penny and more. This way, you are helped to fill each section of the form in and hopefully it helps with a better outcome for the claim you make. I don't think I would have got PIP at all without all this help or certainly not at the enhanced rate for both. Big, big thankyou B&W team.”

Thank you B&W
“After over 3 years of constant worry, waiting for the invitation to apply for PIP to drop through the letterbox, I finally attended my DLA to PIP assessment in May 2019. The female nurse who carried out the assessment was lovely. After the assessment I requested a copy of the HP's report. The assessor had recommended 11 points for care and 12 for moving around. The assessor wrote that she expects my condition to worsen and recommended a review in 3 years. I received the decision makers letter this week and I was awarded standard care and higher mobility for 4 years from July 2019 until June 2023. It states on the letter that I will be called for review after May 2022. I will be 66 in October 2022 and eligible for my state pension. I am so thankful for my award and could not have done it without the information from B&W and Gordon on the forum. Thank you”

ESA success without an interview
“A huge massive thank you to all of you wonderful people at Benefits and Work! Having been claiming Universal Credit since last August following my termination of contract from the NHS for health related issues (which they caused), and told I would have the New Style ESA, I waited until March of this year to be sent my ESA50 form…I sent my form in, after reading everything you had to offer on ESA. I put in as much detail as I could, gave examples of how I manage/don't manage, put in continuation sheets and everything else you suggested and on 12 June I had an email saying that I would be placed in the Support Group without the need for a face to face meeting! I cried with joy as DWP had been taking an overpayment of Housing Benefit from me (£46 a month which they didn't give me prior notice of) and with paying back the advance I had to take last August I was living in deficit and unable to pay my fuel bills. In the email that UC sent me they said that I would receive a letter to let me know if I would be entitled to any back pay…. It would be nice to MOT my car and restock my larder. Many thanks for all you've done. And sorry this was so long, I couldn't stop once I'd started!”

PIP award
“I would like to say big thank you to the people on the wonderful supportive website . I have just received my pip award until 2029, I received a letter to say my DLA was ending and i applied for pip in March I could not have done alone with out the guides and help that you have on this website. Thank you and bless you all.”

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: 95288

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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