I got back payments totalling almost £11,000 . . . This is life-changing for me
“I had to apply for PIP at end of 2016 when my DLA came to an end. I had an ATOS appointment in January 2017 and a month later was refused, having amassed just two points. I used this site's guidance on mandatory reconsideration and was still refused. I couldn't face appealing. But in February this year the DWP wrote to say I was one of the 1.6 million cases to be reviewed. I was in two minds but decided to ask for mandatory reconsideration again. Once more I used your guidelines and only slightly rejigged my MR letter. Last week, I got back payments totalling almost £11,000 for nearly four years and have been awarded enhanced mobility until early 2027. I fell one point short of standard daily care and am considering asking for a further review. But thank you! This is life-changing for me.”


Dear Reader,

In this edition we read the dispirited and sometimes claimant-hating feedback from alleged current and former Capita PIP assessors.

We have the news that a revolutionary online appeals system due to be introduced by the Tribunals Service has been scrapped before it has even begun.

We learn that it is possible in some circumstances to get a relative or friend to do your PIP telephone assessment for you.

And we have two late last minute places available on the PIP mobility on mental health Zoom training taking place next week.

One thing you can say about alleged current and former Capita assessors who post reviews of their employer on the recruitment website Indeed, they don’t hold back:

I cannot stress enough to anyone even contemplating this role DONT DO IT!!!!

. . . the job is horrendous.

This is a great job for a single person with no life!

Please do not leave a NHS post to join Capita as a Disability Assessor - it’s a job that will completely take over your life.

As well as long hours, the other main complaint of assessors is the frequent and unpredictable audits:

audit will tell you amend cases for things such as not typing a word correctly.

each auditor has different opinions on your work..so you do something one way one time and it's right.. next time you do it you're told you're wrong

frustrating when assessments are returned and amendments that you don't agree with are made in your name

Some warned of an unsupportive view of claimants

as for the care and compassion you have as a nurse - forget it!

They had no empathy for people who had a disability

And some assessors seem to just hate claimants:

. . . aggressive liars who will ensure you are complained against for telling the truth, so they get an extra £10 a week.

If you don’t mind being physically & verbally abused or have the claimants stork [sic] you, then apply.

It’s a rather different story over at IAS (Atos).

Very few employees post reviews on Indeed and whilst the role is called “Awful”, “Dull” and a “chain gang”, the level of pay seems to make up for everything else: “Excellent pay”,Wages good”, “This is very well paid job for what it is.”,Money is really good & that's often the only reason people stay”.

If anyone still doubts that taking assessments out of the hands of the private sector is the right thing to do, a visit to Indeed should quickly change their mind.

It was supposed to revolutionise the way that social security appeals were heard.

Continuous Online Resolution (COR) would have forced claimants to go through a mandatory reconsideration, then an online appeal where they would have to respond to written questions by an appeal panel and finally, if they weren’t happy with the outcome, a face-to-face hearing.

But it didn’t last.

A trial that was supposed to involve 1,000 PIP claimants, instead managed just 145 online appeals.

And more than half of those still ended up at a face-to-face hearing after the online appeal.

But the reason that the system has been abandoned wasn’t anything to do with fairness or how much longer claimants had to wait for justice

It was simply because it cost too much to select suitable cases and carry out all the admin tasks that the software couldn’t cope with.

But, whatever the reason, we’re not sorry to see the back of COR.

Following on from the last newsletter, we have continued to work our way through training and guidance documents relating to PIP and WCA telephone assessments that have been published on the What Do they Know website.

One document sets out the circumstances under which you can get a family member, carer, friend or support worker to replace you at your PIP telephone assessment.

This is not about claimants who have an official appointee who is already legally entitled to make representations on their behalf.

This is about a one-off arrangement which is put in place solely for the purpose of completing a single PIP assessment.

The main reasons set out for letting someone else do the assessment on your behalf are:

because you don’t have access to a phone;

because you have persistent phone connection issues which make completing a telephone assessment impossible;

for reasons connected with your health condition/disability.

The document doesn’t explain what reasons connected with a health condition or disability would allow a third party to do the telephone assessment instead.

But clearly issues such as severe anxiety, depression or an autism spectrum disorder which makes communication by telephone extremely limited would all be possibilities. There are likely to be many others.

The arrangement can be made over the phone, it doesn’t have to be in writing and it can take place at any time before or during a telephone assessment.

Your representative has to know you well and know how your health condition or disability affects your mobility and your ability to carry out daily living activities.

This might be your partner, a close relative, a carer, a friend or an advice worker, for example.

If this is something that you think would allow a more informed decision to be made in your case, it would be a good idea to inform the DWP as soon as you get a date for a telephone assessment.

It is entirely possible that there will be considerable resistance to the idea and there is no legal right to have such an arrangement made.

But the fact that it is DWP policy means that a request cannot legitimately be refused without reason or on grounds that are unfair or discriminatory.

“Fantastic, really informative full of great pointers and enjoyable."
Samantha, Notts YMCA

“I am very impressed with the standard of the event and the trainer's handling of it.”
Kathy, barrister

Due to a late cancellation we have two places available on the Zoom course for professionals, Making the Best Possible PIP Mobility Claims On Mental Health Grounds: Monday 26 October, as well as places on Tuesday 3 November.

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.

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.

Online booking for 26 October here

Online booking for 3 November here

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: 72384

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

Capita PIP assessors slam employer and claimants

Having someone replace you at your PIP telephone assessment

Online appeal system scrapped before it begins

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.

PIP Review
“I received pip review form on 2nd september, returned it same day. DWP telephone call 9th september. Award letter today, ongoing award, both at enhanced rates. The information on this site is excellent, as is advice given. The age old adage of keep it simple applies. Only send new information with review form, they have the older paperwork. This award now takes me up to the age of 73. Well done Gordon and team”

PIP success – DWP overturns decision
“I am sharing some good news. I had a PIP assessment in Feb 2020, after being on DLA for 20 plus years. I was awarded only standard rate mobility, so asked for a MR. This took 12 weeks to arrive. It upheld the original decision, taking no notice of any of the points I raised or the evidence. I then applied to appeal, expecting to wait a year, as others have reported. A month later, I received a brown envelope from the DWP. They have overturned the original decision and MR ruling, and awarded me Enhanced rate for both mobility and daily living until 2030. They even awarded points for descriptors that I had not disputed. My illnesses are invisible and fluctuating, and I am grateful for the Benefits and Work guides, also one from the ME Association.I am glad I did not give up hope.”

PIP Review result
“Hi all.. sent my PIP review form off 28 08 20 had a letter this morning saying I been awarded the same award Mobility Enhanced Daily Living Standard for 3 yrs thanks for the help from yourselves and the guides no face to face required based it on the form and medical supporting evidence
Thanks and good luck everyone”

Brown envelope arrived!
“I know some of you are waiting for reassessment results. My timescales.. Phone call end of July..
Assessment report requested and received a week later (the report indicated the same award)
Result today -award continued for 4 years.. Thank you to all those on this forum and the information on here. My top tip would be use the diary pages available on this site - they really helped me evidence my struggles”

PIP Award
“Always a great site, been a member for a few years. Good to see Gordon is still doing alot, deserves a knighthood. I've been awarded Pip, claimed in February, but still a huge relief.... Just a huge relief but still stressed something will go wrong, not complaining. Many thanks once again, always use the site for updates. You do a great job in such severe circumstances.”

PIP good news finally
“I just wanted to come on and say thank you for the guides (again for the 3rd PIP renewal). She has Asperger's, PTSD and an Eating Disorder and has been getting Higher Care/Lower Mobility since DLA in the early 00s, not always without a fight. The renewal for my wife's PIP came through for us to complete over Christmas and New Year (thank you DWP for that Christmas present!). They got it back in early January and we were heading for a face to face in April, COVID happened and that got cancelled. A telephone interview was arranged for June and it appeared to go OK but the interviewer kept correcting both my wife and I went we said that something was due to her conditions and replacing all of them with "anxiety" - made no sense at the time but when i saw the medical report i was concerned. It read like the only problem my wife had was anxiety and we had never even mentioned it! The result came through in July for Higher Care and No mobility, now this has happened previously and at the time my wife did not feel able to challenge it so we didn't. However the court cases not long afterwards meant that the DWP looked at it again and we got a big back pay award. This time she was furious with the telephone medical and wanted to challenge it. So we wrote a MR letter based on the incorrect diagnosis from the telephone interview and also pointed out that the DWP had already decided she was entitled to some mobility based on those court cases.
Well, on Friday of last week an extra payment was made and then this week we received the paperwork. Lower mobility re-instated”

PIP success shock
“I received a thick brown envelope, with the dreaded Belfast address on the back, and sat for an hour before I was able to open it and start the review process all over again!
It was a decision letter! They have done a paper assessment using all the information they have from previous assessments and a letter from my doctor. No need for me to have a physical assessment and given enhanced for living and mobility! (That is what I was currently on.) Ten (10) years before my next reassessment!... I’ve just renewed my membership as it is worth every penny for the help this site has given me to win every ESA and PIP tribunal. Thank you to everyone who keeps this great site ticking!”

PIP Pensioner good news
“Hi folks, just thought you’d like to hear a bit of good news.
In 2016 I moved from dla to pip enhanced rate for both components. A 7 year award taking me to 2023. Last year I started to receive my state pension, so had been expecting to have my award extended to 10 years from when I would have been due to be reviewed in 2022, just adding a few years to the original award. However a brown envelope dropped though my letter box yesterday, and to my surprise it stated that the DWP have just reviewed my claim and made a fresh award of 10 years, which takes me up to 2030. I never expected that, but I’m delighted with this good news. I hope that other pip pensioners will get similar good news as well.”

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: 72384

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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