More Forced Onto PIP, Pre-Payment Benefits Cards, Pay To Appeal


Dear Reader,

If you are wondering what might happen to claimants after the next election, then we can offer a few clues in this newsletter.{jcomments on}

For example, we can reveal that the Ministry of Justice has done so much work on charging benefits claimants to go to a tribunal that they are refusing to send us the information - because it would cost too much to collect and collate it all.

Then there’s the news that a Labour council have had to abandon a scheme for giving claimants a pre-payment card instead of cash, because only two people volunteered. It was Labour who introduced compulsory prepayment cards for failed asylum seekers and it was IDS who announced at the Conservative party conference in September that they will now be tested on claimants who are parents and have “drug or alcohol addiction, even problem debt, or more”.

How long before ESA and JSA claimants are also forced to use prepayment cards, to prevent them spending their benefits on anything other than “essential” items?

Plus there’s the possibility being raised that workers could be made to pay £5 a week into a ‘personal welfare’ account run for profit by the private sector, in order to get higher benefits if they lose their job.

And, of course, there is the furore over David Freud saying that some disabled claimants are not worth the minimum wage. David Cameron has denied that this is official government policy – but how long before that changes?

We’d be interested to hear what you think the various parties have secretly got planned for claimants, should they get into power in 2015.

Elsewhere, we have news that, in spite of the already horrendous, year long assessment backlog, IDS is rolling out PIP to four more postcode areas.

But a one year wait seems speedy when you realise that some claimants have been waiting up to 8 years for a tribunal to take place or the decision to be acted upon.

Finally, we reveal that IDS’ grip on the benefits system continues to falter, as combined IB/ESA numbers rise for the fourth quarter in succession and the deadline for replacing Atos as the provider of work capability assessments is now certain to be missed.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

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: 5584

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.

Make sure they got your claim pack

We’ve had a plea from our forum moderators to remind people to check that their DLA or PIP renewal form has been received and, if at all possible, used a signed for service when sending it. The mods tell us:

“ We have had several posters on the foru, and we have seen more on other forums, where claimants have returned renewal forms and then not checked that they have been received, only realising that the DWP have not had them when their payments stop. Worse still they have simply posted the, so they have no proof of posting, let alone a delivery receipt.

More claimants forced off DLA and onto PIP from November
In a move that will add to the already huge waiting list for PIP assessments, the DWP has announced that from 17 November there will be four additional areas where disability living allowance (DLA) will begin to be replaced with personal independence payment (PIP). Initially the changes will only affect working age DLA claimants who have a change in their circumstances or where their current award runs out.

IDS losing control of DWP as ESA numbers rise for fourth quarter running
The number of people in receipt of employment and support allowance (ESA) and incapacity benefit (IB) has risen for the fourth quarter in a row, according to DWP statistics released today. At current rates of increase there will be more claimants in receipt of ESA and IB by the next election than there were when IDS took over.

Atos WCA replacement deadline will be missed
One of a collection of long overdue freedom of information requests received by Benefits and Work demonstrates that another of Iain Duncan Smith’s deadlines is unravelling before our eyes. The memo reveals that the new contractor delivering work capability assessments (WCAs) should already be in place and beginning to take over from Atos.

‘Significant number’ of tribunal cases not completed after 8 years
A DWP memo reveals that a ‘significant number’ of tribunal cases from up to eight years ago are either still not completed or the tribunal decisions were never acted upon . In some cases this has led to overpayments which are not going to be recovered, whilst other claimants are still waiting for their appeal to be heard.

Charging for tribunals – MoJ has already done the work
A Freedom of Information request by Benefits and Work has revealed that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have already done a great deal of work in relation to charging claimants to appeal against a benefits decision. The response by MoJ shows that seven members of staff have worked on this issue and that it would take a total of 51 hours for them just to find and extract all the information.

Council’s prepaid benefit card scheme cancelled
Labour run North Tyneside Council has had to cancel an attempt to introduce voluntary prepaid benefits cards after only two claimants volunteered to take part. The council claimed that the scheme was misrepresented as being aimed at drug and alcohol users.

Doorstep lender paid for chance to dine with Iain Duncan Smith
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, dined with three executives of a doorstep lending company, CLC Finance at the Conservatives’ annual winter fundraiser in February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported. Doorstep lending was later excluded from strict new rules governing other lenders, such as payday loan companies.

Pay disabled £2 an hour, Lord Freud suggests
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud told a Conservative fringe conference on 30 September that some disabled people are ‘not worth the full [minimum] wage’ and that he would think about a way that they could ‘work for £2 an hour’ if they want to.

Freud row councillor rents accommodation to people with learning disabilities
The councillor at the centre of the row over David Freud’s comments about disabled people and the minimum wage owns a property in Tunbridge Wells, which he rents to people with learning disabilities via a charity. He receives housing benefit payments from the local authority.

Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Workers could be forced to pay at least £5 a week into a personal “welfare account” to get higher benefits if they lose their job, under a plan being considered by George Osborne.

Many thanks to all of you who have posted your good news in the forum. As always, it’s really appreciated by everyone involved with the site and by our visitors, at a time when positive news is in such short supply.

PIP Appeal success! Thank you!
“Dear B&W team, a HUGE thank you for all the tremendous work you do for us the claimants and your invaluable guides…I went to the tribunal today for my PIP appeal and won. The DWP's decision not to award me anything was set aside and the panel awarded me the standard rate for both components…WHAT A RELIEF!.. What a stressful journey and an emotional one to! Without your guides I'm not sure I would have succeeded but whether or not I won my case, you deserve a big thank you!”

ESA Support Group to be continued
“… I received a letter from the DWP confirming that I was to continue in the Support Group. I am so thankful for this website.. they gave me the confidence to get through this. Today I plucked up courage to actually ring the DWP to ask how long it will be before my next ESA 50.....three years!!! Thank you again!”

Finally got ESA Support Group decision
“It's been a while since I've posted on the Forum, But then it's also taken DWP nearly a year to come to a decision on my friends ESA50 form which she filled out with the help of the "FANTASTIC" moderators, her words not mine…she received the dreaded envelope yesterday informing her that she is in the "Support Group" for 2 years from June 2014. Fantastic news and a Big Thank You.”

ESA Support Group awarded
“My husband was awarded CB ESA Support Group in Jan 2014, don't think we could have done it without the assistance of this wonderful website and your guides…Many thanks!”

ESA & PIP success
“Hi there, another big thank you. At long last received confirmation I'm in the ESA support group and receiving enhanced rate of PIP on both parts until October 2017. A huge relief and I am sure I would not have been able to do it without your assistance and support. Thank you All”

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: 5584

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.

You're welcome to republish part or all of this newsletter, provided you credit Benefits and Work.

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666


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