ESA & PIP success
“I just wanted to thank Gordon and his colleagues for the massive help and support I have received via this organisation. I’m a carer for my son who suffers from schizophrenia and you have been so helpful in claiming ESA (he’s in the Support group thanks to your advice, and PIP (enhanced Daily living). PIP review remains the same. All granted without face to face assessments. We will always be grateful.”


Dear Reader,

Like everyone else we are struggling to come to terms with the dramatic changes that have taken place over the last two weeks.

But we have begun creating resources to help members deal with those changes, in the small ways that we can.

This includes a Coronavirus Forum where you can share information and concerns, whether they relate to benefits or not.

We’ve also published a Coronavirus Updates Page to keep track of the many PIP, ESA, UC and DLA changes.

One of those changes is the end of face-to-face assessments for the next six months.

Another is the suspension of all reviews and reassessments, including PIP and ESA, for the next three months. PIP awards that are about to end will be extended.

Plus, there has been a major switch from appeal hearings to paper appeals, for the next six months.

We have already updated our PIP claims guide in the light of these changes.

We’ll update the rest as soon as possible.

Our Coronavirus Updates page keeps you posted about important changes to PIP, ESA/UC and DLA regulations and procedures that are likely to affect you.

You can also use it to check when our guides are updated to take account of recent changes.

Please check back regularly as the changes are coming thick and fast.

We have opened a Coronavirus Forum for members to pass on information and concerns relating to the current crisis.

We hope that readers who have a paper or telephone assessment or appeal will share details of their experience with us, so that we can pass them on more widely.

But your post doesn’t have to be about benefits. You can post about anything that comes up as we try to get through the coming months.

You might have useful information or links to share.

Or you may have a problem that other members can offer advice about.

Or you may just want to say how tough things are for you, in a place where you know you will be treated with respect and understanding.

Many thanks to our members who have volunteered to be moderators on the new forum

If there is anything else you think would be helpful, please let us know.

The DWP have announced the suspension of all PIP, ESA and UC face-to-face assessments for three months, from Tuesday 17 March.

Anyone who had a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17 March onwards does not need to attend.

You should be contacted by IAS (Atos), Capita or Maximus to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements.

This may mean your claim will be assessed just on whatever paperwork is available.

In some cases the assessment provider might also carry out a telephone assessment.

This may take the form of supplementary questions where there is not enough information in the paperwork.

We’d be interested to hear from anyone who goes through this process.

Tribunal judges have been given the power to sit alone and to make decisions about PIP, ESA, UC and DLA appeals just on the papers.

Under the new powers, a tribunal judge can make a provisional decision just on the paperwork where they believe a successful outcome for the claimant is highly likely.

Once a provisional decision is made both you and the DWP will be asked if you agree with that decision.

If you both do, it will become a final decision.

If either you or the DWP are not happy, you can still insist that the case goes to a full hearing.

If a full hearing is required, wherever possible it will be done ‘remotely’. This may mean by video link or telephone conferencing.

One concern about this system is that when a provisional decision is made by a judge, some claimants may feel under a great deal of pressure to accept the award, even if it is not as high as they think they should get.

Again, we would like to hear from members going through this process.

In a welcome move, the DWP have announced that there will be no new reviews or reassessments of benefits for three months from Tuesday 24 March.

Benefits affected include:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

Where an assessment has already taken place for PIP, the decision making process will continue.

Where you already have an assessment scheduled, the assessment provider should contact you to explain whether a paper or telephone assessment will take place.

If your PIP award is due to end, it will be extended.

That’s all the news we have for now, but there’s sure to be more changes. So do check back regularly.

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 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: 77846

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 awards extended, benefits reviews and reassessments suspended

Coronavirus resources on Benefits and Work

Most social security appeals to be paper only for next 6 months

Face-to-face assessments suspended for three months for PIP, ESA and UC

Almost two thirds of new ESA claimants placed in support group

Why has DWP hired Ipsos MORI to quiz PIP mandatory reconsideration claimants?

PIP and ESA appeal success rates hold steady

Coronavirus benefits changes

As always, 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 success with no medical
“Many thanks again my pip renewal went through on the paperwork. There is no doubt that by keeping everything from last time and using the guides this result was able to happen without the dreaded medical.”

PIP success
“Hi All, just an update on my transition from DLA to PIP. I have been given enhanced rate for both care & mobility, with a light touch review in 2029. It has been a long laborious road 7 months from start to finish. I may have been lucky but with all my dealings with DWP & assessor from Atos they have all been incredibly helpful & empathetic. I really want to give many thanks to Gordon, Gary & Bis for all their sage advice. The guides were invaluable in helping towards my award. May I wish all those going through this stressful process all the best, follow advice on here it is extremely beneficial.”

PIP renewal – good news story
“I know there's an awful lot goes wrong with 'The System' and Gawd knows we've been involved with the farce of a 0 points award in the past. However, having assisted someone with a 1043 renewal form recently, and taking heed of Gordon's wise words on here , we approached it as if we were making a new claim.... Heaps of medical evidence,(old consultant letters marked 'Still Relevant' ) diaries, carer's letters etc. We decided to present everything as if presenting to a Tribunal.... Guess what?.. Decision made to continue 'as is' for three years, without anything more than a follow up phone call. (We were ready to fight em on the Beaches this time). Common sense has prevailed in at least one decision this year. Don't get too disheartened that they're ALL a bunch of Heartless, uncaring, so and so's, apparently the decision maker "sounded like she cared" We were ready/experienced this time, it's showed. (Still stressful though) Good luck, everyone, Sometimes 'The System' actually works as it''s meant to do.”

PIP Appeal success
“I must thank Benefits and Work for all the marvellous information you have it has helped me with my son's Appeal to be awarded the Enhanced Rate of both Daily Living and Mobility. Thank you, you are amazing.”

Success with UC – thanks to all at B&W
“Success with the UC this is for a friend of mine so we thank all at benefits & work for all there help”

ESA Award
“Hi there, I received my letter advising I have been put into the support group. Many thanks for all the helpful info on this site.”

Thank you for helping me with my benefits journey
“It has been a long arduous journey from IB , DLA, ESA, PIP and ultimately to Attendance Allowance at the age of 65. None of which would have been possible without your invaluable guides.I was " invited " to transfer from DLA to PIP in my 65th year and called for a face to face at a remote location. Due to my disabilities I decedid to opt out of the PIP process and my DLA payment was stopped. After my 65th birthday i applied for Attendance Allowance and was immediately given the higher rate needing care day and night . . . Your guidance has offered me the only security in a long journey.”

“Thank you so much for providing the valuable information”
following a F2F assessment for my PIPS I've been awarded both components at standard rate. without your informative website I doubt Id have got anything and would have needed to appeal. I was fortunate to speak with an excellent CAB advisor and a empathetic assessor for the F2F. I printed off your PIP guide and followed it to the 'T' I'm on UC and needed to complete UC50. So once again I've printed off your guide. I'm hoping for a similar positive outcome. Thank you so much for providing the valuable information we need to complete these dreadful forms when we are at our most vulnerable.
thanks again

“Thank you for the advice and guidance on your website”
Never give up!!I have a complex cardiac condition and have had 5 heart operations and will require ongoing surgery. I was previously given a lifetime DLA award. When I had a face to face assessment by an Occupational Therapist she turned me down for Care and Mobility stating that I had minimal limitation.
My cardiac consultant had given evidence to say I have significant cardiac and respiratory limitations! My mandatory reconsideration was also turned down and there were many inaccuracies in their reply. I was really despondent. My benefit stopped and I returned my motability car after 30 years since the age of 5 years. This made life very difficult for my wife and 6 year old son as well as me. I requested an Appeal and was ready for a long wait.
I am in the Support Group for ESA and this has been recently renewed. I can only assume that someone dealing with this must have also looked at my PIP refusal. After 5 months since losing my benefit I received a letter saying my case had been looked at again and they granted me standard care and enhanced mobility. I was really surprised and needless to say delighted to get financial support again. It will be looked at again in 10 years so I feel I can relax for a while.
Thank you for the advice and guidance on your website which has been so helpful. I feel that common sense has eventually prevailed.

“Thank you once again for your helpful guides”
I just want to say thank you for your guides which were very helpful and also the forum. Due to my condition I cannot write clearly and my husband’s writing is not so good so we were not too sure what to do. We asked for advice on the forum and the reply was to type it up and stick it onto the form. My husband did all the typing ( I have no typing skills either), working with the guides, and this enabled us to review what we were saying and put the info in bullet points and have a bit of order to the reply. We also had good evidence. We were a bit nervous as to if this way was acceptable to the DWP but it obviously was as the result was the enhanced rate in both care and mobility, without having a face to face. I was so relieved as I had heard so many bad reports about these meetings. I now feel as if a weight has been lifted as this change had been hanging over me for years. My review date is 2029 so I can breathe easy for a few years.
Thank you once again for your helpful guides.

“thank goodness for your website”
“I’ve just renewed my subscription after receiving your email, and got a discounted price. Some may say not necessary now that I have had 2 successes BUT one should never take your eye off the ball.
Last year was a nightmare and after joining your website and doing much research, I got the MR for PIP overturned and the office of Tribunals for ESA overturned the decision without me having to attend the Tribunal. I had a telephone call from the Tribunal office to tell me the decision which I thought was really decent of them. By this time my stress levels was off the charts, my fibromyalgia flare ups were at an all time high and was very depressed.
It took from December 2018 (forms filled) to July 2019 and a decision. Bear in mind that all my benefits were stopped and had I no income and luckily I don’t pay rent as I live in my mother’s flat. However, when it came to writing the case for the MR and the Appeal for the Tribunal, none of it would have been as effective had I not subscribed and used all the information and guides from Benefit and Work. Thank you.
I am very grateful for this and I am confident for the future, when my PIP is reviewed in 3 years time, that I will be able to make a robust claim. My conditions are chronic and degenerative so why did the DWP etc. insist that my health had improved significantly?
This is by way of a thank you, not a rehash of my awful year! Once again, thank goodness for your website.”

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA decision, whether you’re making a claim 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: 77846

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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