We wouldn’t have succeeded without you
Hi injured cyclist's husband here. I’m typing this because she's had a setback and can’t use the computer.

She wanted you to know that she asked for a reconsideration about being put in the WRAG group in ESA after an ATOS medical, and that she has received a letter saying she has been moved to the support group. Result!

Thank you to the website and the forum members who responded to her questions. We wouldn’t have succeeded without you.

More feedback at the end of this newsletter.

Beware:  benefits check could cost you thousands

In this edition we’re warning members about a nationally advertised benefits checking service (members only) which could charge you thousands of pounds – possibly without getting you a penny extra in benefits. 

The service has close connections with a claims management company which went bust owing around £100,000 and is very reticent indeed about who does its benefits checks, though we have our suspicions.

And in order to avoid raising the suspicions of your spam filter, we are unable to use a three letter word beginning with ‘s’ and ending with ‘x’ in this newsletter.  However, if you substitute the ‘s’ word for ‘serious physical assault’ in the paragraph below, it will make complete sense.

Because Benefits and Work can exclusively reveal that a company which specialises in helping the police catch serious physical assault offenders (members only) is interviewing  hundreds of benefits claimants across the UK as part of the move to abolish disability living allowance (DLA) and replace it with personal independence payment (PIP).  (Members only)

Without their prior knowledge, the DWP has passed the names of many hundreds of DLA claimants to the company, which then contacts them directly. Benefits and Work is urging members to be very cautious if invited to take part in the trial, not least because of concerns over how wise it is to accept the £30 in vouchers being offered for doing so.

Meanwhile, executives from another company many claimants would rather avoid have been explaining to MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee why their organisation is ‘feared and loathed’ by disabled people.  The best that Atos executives could manage was that claimants don’t really understand the role that Atos plays in the benefits system and that failing the work capability assessment does not mean that you are being classed as a malingerer.

However, Atos are not so meek and mild outside the corridors of power.  Last month a UK based website run by disabled claimants had to take down a large amount of its Atos related content after being issued with a ‘cease and desist’ notice by the company, which threatened legal action if the offending material was still there in a fortnight.

But as claimants face ever more frequent Atos medicals and the ending of incapacity benefit, with some contemplating suicide as a result, the pressure to find an alternative has never been greater. So, in this edition Benefits and Work looks at whether setting up  ‘micro-businesses’ and trying to negotiate thousands of pounds in payouts from work programme providers may be the way forward for a minority of claimants.  We’d be very interested to hear what you think.

We’d also be interested to hear what you know for a new feature on the site. 

As you’re probably aware, one of the forums – the one that discusses benefits news - is still closed in order to relieve pressure on moderators.  But we do realise that this means that members are missing out on the many fascinating news  items that used to be posted there.

So we’ve set up a new feature called Stop Press.  It’s simply a page which uses our new comments feature – which proved extremely popular with readers of our DLA cuts article – to allow members to post benefits related news items.  So, if you’ve got news we haven’t reported, please let us have it!  And if you want to keep up with all the benefits news, we hope Stop Press will be the place you turn to first.

As usual, we’re finishing with some good news from the Benefits Questions, Problems and Results  forum, which happily is still open.  And please do keep the good news coming.  As one of our posters, who got her higher mobility and middle rate care renewed explained:

“The whole experience has been hugely stressful and has caused a relapse in my CFS. Without the support of Benefits and work I was ready to give up and just do without my benefit, but seeing all the success stories helped me to persevere.”

So it’s true: your  success stories really can change people’s lives for the better.  Please do keep them coming.

WRAG on appeal, backated to June 2010

Incapacity benefit appeal success

Higher rate mobility on appeal

Higher rate mobility and middle care renewed without medical

4 minute incapacity benefit appeal

From 0 points to ESA success without a hearing

Higher rate mobility and middle care on initial claim

ESA 6 points to 18 points on appeal

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested. You are also welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter.

You can read this newsletter online.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666

If you’re not already a member, find out how to subscribe to Benefits and Work and give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right decision.


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