PIP success thanks to this site
“I just wanted to thank this group for all the valuable resources that have helped me successfully claim my PIP. I have applied for PIP three times the first two were granted on appeal after a lot of stress etc. This one I used the resources and information available on here and although my condition hasn’t changed I got enhanced for both parts previously I only qualified for enhanced on living component. The letter also states they owe me back payments, but not why or how much. I really don’t care I am just elated that finally I have been able to explain in detail what my illness has done and continues to do to me on a daily basis. Keep up this amazing work.”


Dear Reader,

In this edition we discover that claimants are still being subjected to treatment that is both unlawful and humiliating in connection with PIP telephone assessments.

We also learn that the DWP published thousands of PIP claimants national insurance numbers online, for years.

We applaud the courage of Jodey Whiting’s mother as she moves a step closer to a new inquest for her daughter, who died after her benefits were stopped.

But we are not surprised to discover that the DWP are trying to stop Philippa Day’s inquest from examining the department’s role in her death.

We highlight the last date this year for our PIP mobility and mental health training.

And finally, we say thank you to Gordon, our extraordinary moderator who is stepping down after replying to somewhere in the region of 50,000 of your queries.

We’ve looked at almost 400 responses given between June and November in our ongoing PIP telephone assessment survey.

The horror stories are, if anything, even worse than they were in May of this year.

Some problems have improved, some have got worse.

But it’s the breaches of confidentiality, the hectoring and the weaselly questions that have left a real impression.

For example:

There was a trainee listening in and she had two people walk through the room sniggering at bowel and bladder questions

Was asked to make noises like I make while in pain, felt humiliated and degraded

I heard sniggering and muffled laughter and a mobile phone ring which was answered and not by interviewer

Still trying to work out why assessor asked 'How often do you change your underwear'!

. . . after having to give humiliating answers about myself and my disabilities/illnesses, I heard a man's voice and then shortly after I heard a small excitable child's voice!

The form asks if you can make a simple meal. When I replied that I could not, he asked “So can you boil an egg then?”

My son has many mental health problems. Has ME and is autistic. But he [the assessor] made silly jokes and seemed to be making fun out of things written in his autism report.

But they wanted to know, if my husband got the ready meal out of the fridge and gave it to me, if I sat next to the microwave, could I put it in the microwave.

The assessor was relentless and the more I cried and became distressed he would just repeat "I have to do this, I have to ask these questions".

If you are a Benefits and Work subscriber we would strongly encourage you to consult the PIP claims guide well before your telephone assessment.

It includes warnings of 10 problems to be ready for if you have a PIP telephone assessment, as well as details of the type of questions that are likely to be asked, assumptions that may be made and much more.

But we are urging all claimants to ask to have their assessment recorded and to strongly consider covertly recording it themselves, just in case the official record somehow gets mislaid.

You are very welcome to publish and share the link to our latest survey results, in the hope that more people will be prepared for the worst - and have the evidence to pursue a complaint.


The DWP published more than 6,000 PIP claimants national insurance numbers (NINOs) online for more than two years before they were spotted and removed last week.

The details were included in a list of payments to Capita published online by the DWP in 2018.

Individual payments for assessments were listed along with the NINOs of 6,000 claimants.

Two spreadsheet were removed by the DWP after they were alerted to the breach.

The DWP did not say whether they would contact affected claimants to inform them of the breach or offer an apology or compensation.

Joy Dove, the mother of Jodey Whiting, is continuing her fight for an independent inquiry into her daughter’s death and the DWP’s failure to follow its safeguarding rules.

Jodey died in February 2017. Her ESA had been stopped after she failed to attend a work capability assessment.

Jodey had been seriously ill with pneumonia, had been receiving treatment for a cyst on the brain and was taking strong painkillers. Nonetheless, she had been refused a home assessment for her ESA and failed to open the appointment letter for a WCA at an assessment centre.

As a result, her benefits were stopped.

An inquest into Jodey’s death lasted less than an hour and refused to even look at the part the DWP played in the tragedy.

Yet the Independent Case Examiner later found that the DWP failed five times to follow its own safeguarding procedures.

Now, however, Joy has won the right to ask the High Court to order a new inquest into her death, with the intention that the part the DWP played will finally be examined.

We’ll keep you informed as the case progresses.

Jodey’s mother is not the only person fighting to get the DWP before an inquest.

Philippa Day, 27 and mother of a young child, died last October as a result of an insulin overdose.

Philippa was diabetic and had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder which resulted in her being afraid to leave home following an abusive relationship.

Philippa’s community psychiatric nurse requested that she have her PIP assessment at home because of her acute distress.

But a letter found next to Philippa after she took an overdose was from Capita, refusing to allow her to have a PIP assessment at home and instead obliging her to attend an assessment centre.

Her family believe she took her own life as a result.

Merry Varney, the family’s solicitor and a partner at Leigh Day, said:

“We shall be supporting Pip’s [Philippa’s] family through the inquest process and seeking on their behalf a full and fearless investigation into whether the acts and omissions of Capita and the DWP caused or contributed to Pip’s death.”

She said the coroner had heard evidence on why Philippa’s family were seeking an inquest that would look at the wider circumstances of her death and would allow the coroner to make “judgmental findings”.

Varney added: “The DWP and Capita, both with legal representation, argued against this and we await a decision from the coroner.”

With families as courageous as Jodey’s and Philippa’s fighting for justice and change, there is just a chance that the DWP is about to meet its match.

Fantastic, really informative full of great pointers and enjoyable.

Samantha, Notts YMCA

Best course done in ages. Made a complicated topic really clear.
Emily, Thalidomide Trust

If you are a housing worker, advice worker or anyone who assists service users with PIP claims

based on mental health, this course could make a real difference to the support you give.

We explain how to provide detailed, accurate and persuasive evidence that demonstrates any entitlement to points for the activity ‘Planning and Following Journeys’. Probably the most complex activity in the whole PIP assessment and one that assessors and decision makers often get wrong.

The course contains a wealth of practical tips and useful examples that could make the difference between no award and the enhanced rate of the mobility component.

Buy tickets for 9 December.

For many of our members, Gordon is Benefits and Work.

Over the years he has replied to around 50,000 posts.

Without Gordon there are thousands of people who would never have got the benefits they were entitled to.

Who would have given up the fight. Or never even known there was a fight to be had.

Gordon has touched many people’s lives and probably even saved a few.

Because, as this newsletter shows only too tragically, benefits are sometimes a matter of life and death.

But after years of volunteering, Gordon is ready for a rest.

He won’t be leaving us entirely, he’ll still be working behind the scenes, but he’ll stop being a moderator from 27 November.

As a result, the forum will be taking an extra-long break over Christmas.

It will close on Wednesday 16 December and reopen on Monday 11 January.

And from 30 November moderators will only be available between 2-4pm.

We’ve also closed the Coronavirus forum to try to reduce the workload for BIS and Gary, our two very precious remaining mods.

Clearly we need more.

So, we’ve engaged several freelances to begin creating an online training course for moderators.

They started work today and we aim to take on our first trainee, volunteer moderators in January.

If you are interested, don’t miss the next newsletter.

Meanwhile, I’m sure all our readers will join us in thanking Gordon for the truly invaluable service he has provided to so many people for so long. We wish him a well-earned rest and all the very best.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA 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: 63586

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 telephone assessments update: the horror stories continue

DWP tries to stop Philippa Day inquest examining its role in her death

New inquest for Jodey Whiting moves closer

Thousands of PIP claimants NI numbers published online for years

Claimant dies after being refused home PIP assessment

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. For some people, it’s the only thing that keeps them going through a difficult claim or appeal.

PIP success
“Finally after over 18 months of waiting, assessments, an adjourned tribunal and LOTS of stress I got my PIP result overturned. From standard daily living to enhanced in both areas!! Such a relief; it made all the tiring hard work worth it. Thank you to this site for helping me get what I deserve. I found it very helpful reading and learning what specific things qualify you for certain descriptors and realising that I qualified for them especially planning and following a journey. Thank you so much. So glad it's over now; well until I get reviewed!!”

ESA outcome
“I've been placed in the support group for 3 years and have been back paid. I followed the booklet guidance from this website to complete form. I was placed via a paper based review as my evidence was strong. Thanks for putting it together Gordon, BIS and Gary - much appreciated.”

PIP award
“With your help I have successfully been awarded PIP.”

Success at last – paper based assessment
“Just had the news that daughter has received Enhanced on both DL & Mob PIP for several years. Back pay in bank. Shows it can be worth the process of multiple phone calls to get phone ass'm't cancelled. Then persuading GP to write re Overwhelming Psychological Distress caused by Assessments. Then calling for assessment report, slogging through it checking for untruths and relevant inaccuracies at top speed, getting a calm-but-thorough rebuttal letter composed and posted 'tracked.' Print and keep the signature report, and wait...wait...wait. So many, so grateful thanks to all Mods and fellow posters on here from whom I have gained so much knowledge and confidence and encouragement. Best wishes for success to all claimants and their supporters”

PIP review success
“My wife received her pip review letter today ,chuffed to see she gets 3 years full mobility and standard care. She was on a lifetime award for dla, but her first pip dropped that to a two year review, appalling decision but we didn’t want to take a chance in appeal. This was paper based no phone call and no assessment it’s taken 4 weeks from sending all our evidence away ,thanks as always to this site and all who help run it and the very informative forum we have”

PIP outcome
“I just wanted to express my sincerest gratitude to Benefits and Work because without your comprehensive guides, I don’t think I would have achieved a successful outcome to my PIP application. My application was turned down following assessment and Mandatory Reconsideration; I was awarded zero point at both stages and I almost wasn’t going to appeal. I have recently had my telephone appeal hearing and I didn’t even get the opportunity to present my case because the panel had already decided I was eligible for both components at standard rate, awarded for four years. I’m still getting over the shock”

Award letter
“I just wanted to post to give encouragement to people who are awaiting renewal of their reward.
My last award due to run out on January 9th. I didn't notice that I hadn't received the renewal form until around September 10th. At this point, I call the DWP for the form.. I sent it back recorded delivery on Monday 21st September.. On the 30th of September, I received a letter informing me that I had been given an extension of 9 months. However this morning I received an award letter extending my award for another 3 years. To be honest. I was surprised as I have two new health conditions on my form so I fully expected to have to undergo at least a telephone assessment.. Anyhow, the date of the award goes back to 8th October which means that they processed my form in 12 working days. So if you were like me waiting and worrying; please take heart in the fact that a quick turnaround is possible. I wish everyone else the same success. Also thank again to the people here (both members and admin) for your advice and information. You are invaluable and a great source of comfort and support through what is a stressful process.”

To say I’m over the moon is an understatement
I used your guides in 2017 when moving from DLA to Pip and was very happy to be awarded enhanced care although a little upset it no longer seemed possible to get mobility as I have bipolar and anxiety issues.
I read your guides again this year and instead of just putting no change in everything I filled in why this affected me. Based on your updated advice I got the letter today and have received enhanced care and enhanced mobility!!
Just simple things like knowing to put what types of journeys I can do and when I can walk the dog seem to have made a huge difference. To say I’m over the moon is an understatement. Thank you so much.

The extra £90 per week will make such a massive difference to their lives
Just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your hard work and amazing member guides. I applied for Attendance Allowance for my stepfather using the B&W Guide three and a half weeks ago. I used the detailed guidance to complete the claim form which took me 4 full mornings, but the hard work and guidance pays off. Brown envelope arrived on their doorstep this morning, he has been awarded high rate AA indefinitely. The extra £90 per week will make such a massive difference to their lives. Cannot thank you all enough.
Keep doing what you’re doing, I have been a member for 4 years and it’s the best £20 per year I’ve ever spent!!
Huge thanks again

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA 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: 63586

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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