Secret Observations Used To Refuse PIP Plus Claimant Deaths Reviews Victory


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Dear Reader,

We now know that a PIP assessor can complete your entire assessment – and score you nothing - days before you even turn up for your medical. Or he can ignore your evidence completely and base his entire report on secret observations he claims to have made.

And allegedly rake in £20,000 a month for doing so.

We also know now that there is absolutely no question of universal credit being scrapped by Stephen Crabb, as many had hoped. He has, however, discovered lots of ‘interesting ideas’ for getting sick and disabled people into work.

And we’ve also come a good deal closer to discovering if the DWP have been ignoring the findings of their own secret death reviews - and costing more claimants their lives as a result.

Channel 4’s Dispatches sent an undercover reporter to train as a Capita PIP assessor. The resulting documentary makes grim viewing.

There was the Capita trainer who described the mental state examination as “a very, very shallow assessment”.

And Capita’s Chief Medical Officer, who explained that “we obviously need to get you to be doing as many assessments in a day as you can possibly manage”.

But star of the show by far was Alan, a Capita assessor who mocked a claimant as having a “Disability known as being fat, she asks for help to wipe her arse because she’s too f**king fat to do it herself”.

He went on to describe how he had completed an assessment on a claimant with only one leg days before the claimant actually had his medical, finding that “he does everything really don’t he?”.

He also revealed that he relied on “informal observations” rather than anything the claimant told him in order to assess them.

Informal observations are ones that are carried out in secret – the claimant is not told about them and they are not given a change to challenge the assessor’s assumptions at the time. They include things like:

  • Your appearance- whether you are tidy and clean.
  • Your skin tone.
  • Your manner.
  • Your hearing ability.
  • Your walking ability.
  • Your mood.
  • Your ability to concentrate.
  • Your ability to stand, sit, move around and use your hands.
  • Your ability to bend down to retrieve objects such as a handbag on the floor beside you, or reaching out for an object such as your medication.
  • How you stand up.
  • How you move to the examination couch and/or get on and off the couch.
  • How you use your walking aids.
  • How you remove your coat or hat.
  • What you are carrying and if it appears light or heavy.
  • Whether you show and understand the letters you have with you.
  • If you smile and appear relaxed.
  • If your breathing is laboured.

Informal observations are extremely simplistic and often deeply misleading. For example, you may be clean and tidy because someone else helped you wash and dress. You may be able to walk, but suffer extreme fatigue for days afterwards as a result.

But because informal observations do not have to be put to the claimant, they are a very easy way to deny you points.

And for carrying out these utterly fraudulent assessments, Alan claimed he could earn £20,000 a month.

Alan was dismissed by Capita who claimed that they were “appalled by and sincerely apologise for this individual’s disrespectful comments and actions”.

But many claimants will be left wondering, how many more ‘Alans’ are carrying out PIP assessments but haven’t been caught on camera?

The new secretary of state for work and pensions, Stephen Crabb, has made it crystal clear in his first major speech that he is a big fan of universal credit and that it will not be scrapped. With the treasury now dependent on UC to deliver big cuts in benefits spending, that shouldn’t come as any surprise.

However, benefits specialist Joe Halewood has come up with a very interesting theory that the benefits bill will actually rise hugely due to the introduction of UC. He suggests that because UC rolls so many benefits into one, there will be a great deal less underclaimed benefit in the future. The result could be as much as £24 billion a year added to the benefits bill.

Meanwhile, Crabb’s enthusiasm for “supporting good health” by getting sick and disabled claimants into work will alarm some victims of previous return-to-work schemes. Especially as Crabb explains that “there are lots of interesting ideas emerging”.

Interesting ideas are seldom good news for claimants.

Campaigning journalist John Pring has persuaded an information tribunal to order the DWP to reveal important aspects of their 49 secret reviews into claimants deaths.

Information that will be released will allow campaigners to look at whether the DWP followed the recommendations made in the reports in order to reduce future deaths. If the DWP ignored the findings and further deaths occurred, there is a possibility of legal action against the department.

The DWP can still, if they choose, appeal the decision further in order to try to prevent the truth emerging.

But surely, under a new secretary of state who has already allowed the release of previously unpublished UC documents, that wouldn’t happen, would it?

Good luck,

Steve Donnison


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Foodbank use highest in areas with most sickness disability
A new report by the Trussell Trust today shows that foodbank use is highest in areas where there are the greatest numbers of people who are unable to work because of long-term illness or disability.

Benefits deaths secret reviews victory
Journalist John Pring’s Disability News Service (DNS) has won another victory in its fight to force the DWP to reveal details of 49 secret reviews into benefits deaths. An information tribunal has ruled that the DWP must release the recommendations for changes made in the reviews.

Capita assessor mocks disabled and boasts of earning £20k a month
A Capita assessor was caught on camera mocking a disabled personal independence payment (PIP) claimant as being fat and boasting of being able to earn £20,000 a month by rushing through assessments.

Crabb confirms that universal credit is here to say
Stephen Crabb has today confirmed his commitment to rolling out universal credit, dashing the hopes of activists who believed that a new secretary of state might have the courage to ditch the disastrously over budget and under-performing benefit.

Universal credit will increase benefits bill massively
A respected commentator on benefits has suggested that, far from cutting costs, universal credit (UC) could massively increase the benefits bill because the amount of benefit that goes unclaimed will be drastically reduced.


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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.

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: 64735

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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