DLA to PIP success
“Due to changes in my health condition, I finally decided to play the lottery of changing my DLA to PIP. I would like to thank Benefits and Work and other people on the forums for all the information, advice and guides in undertaking the transition. Have been on tenterhooks for the last 4 weeks since my application was submitted, my decision letter arrived this morning, Awarded highest rate in both daily living and mobility components. Thanks all..”


Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we share the general outrage at the vile expletive used by a DWP decision maker to describe a claimant in their PIP appeal papers.

We report on the petition to hold an inquiry into the benefits related death of Jodie Whiting and urge you to sign.

In a definitely not unrelated article, we highlight the risk to claimants health posed by a letter sent to GPs by the DWP.

And, in a bit of good news, we reveal that there has been an increase in the proportion of ESA claimants placed in the support group.

There’s further good news, as statistics reveal that claimant victories at PIP and ESA appeals are at their highest ever levels.

Though, of course, the flip side is that DWP decision making must be at its worst ever levels.

A DWP decision maker used an expletive so foul to describe a claimant that we can’t include it in this newsletter, because it will mean that most of them get stopped by spam filters.

Not only did the decision maker use despicable language, they also displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of the benefits system.

At one point they stated that the claimant was in receipt of ‘middle rate carers allowance component’ – a benefit as yet unknown to humanity.

The standard of the submission was not improved by errors of grammar and of spelling, such as the reference to the claimant’s ability to use a foot pedal for “breaking” a car.

It is no surprise that the DWP is currently losing 73% of its PIP appeals, if the hate-filled prejudice and ignorance on display here is a reflection of the professionalism of the staff it now employs.

We don’t often ask readers to sign petitions, there are just so many of them.

But the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, currently approaching 20,000 signatures is one we do feel we must support.

The petition is calling for an independent inquiry into DWP linked deaths.

It has been started in relation to Jodey Whiting, who took her own life after her benefits were stopped because she missed a work capability assessment.

Jodie had a long history of mental distress and the DWP failed to follow its own safeguarding rules on five occasions in the weeks leading up to her death.

The petition is supported by the families of seven claimants who have lost loved ones in benefits related deaths.

These include the mother of Mark Wood, whose son starved to death after his benefits were stopped and the father of David Barr, who took his own life after a physiotherapist took just 35 minutes to assess him as fit for work without any attempt being made to get medical evidence from his psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse or GP.

Please consider giving the petition your support.

Because, as the next item demonstrates, the DWP are still more than happy to risk the health, and even the lives, of claimants.

Contempt for claimants and actions which put their lives at risk are combined in the changes to a letter sent to GPs by the DWP.

The ESA65B letter automatically sent to doctors when their patient is found fit for work tells them that they should no longer issue the claimant with fit notes.

In the past, the letter went on to explain that they would need to start reissuing fit notes if the claimant appealed against the finding that they were capable of work.

However, a new version of the ESA65B entirely omits this information, leading to GPs refusing to issue further fit notes.

The result is that the claimant cannot claim ESA whilst appealing and must either manage without income or claim benefits as being fit for work and meet job seeking requirements that may harm their health.

The possibility of more inquests being carried out because vulnerable claimants like Mark Wood are left without income is all too clear.

Yet the DWP have so far failed to change the letter back again, claiming that the new letter is ‘simpler and clearer’.

The latest ESA statistics show a considerable rise in the proportion of ESA claimants making it into the support group.

In the quarter to September 2018, for ESA initial assessments:

  • 47% were placed in the support group, up 5% on the last quarter.
  • 21% were placed in the work-related activity group, up 1%.
  • 32% were found fit for work, down 6%.

For repeat ESA assessments, the figures are:

  • 72% support group.
  • 16% work-related activity group.
  • 12% fit for work.

More positive statistics for claimants with an appeal were released by the Tribunals Service this month.

Overall, an extraordinary 70% of social security appeals are successful, with the claimant getting a better award than they originally received from the DWP.

The success rates for benefits include:

  • ESA 74%
  • PIP 73%
  • DLA 66%
  • UC 58%

The success rate for PIP is up 4% on a year ago, whilst the success rate for ESA has risen 5%.

So, if you have been turned down at mandatory decision stage, please don’t give up.

The odds are most definitely on your side.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Support Group success
“brown envelope arrived today. 'a decision on your capability for work. You have been placed in the support group' OMG. am in happy shock. All thanks to Benefits and Work and their wonderful guides and support. I haven t even had to go for medical which I was dreading… Once again... thank you. The best subscription I have ever paid.”

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.

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: 64737

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

Claimants health put at risk by fit note scandal
In spite of the risk to claimants’ health, the DWP are wilfully discouraging doctors from issuing fit notes to employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants who need them in order to claim benefits.

Sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition for an inquiry into DWP deaths
The Justice for Jodey Whiting petition calling for an independent inquiry into DWP linked deaths has already amassed over 10,000 signatures since its launch on 15 March.

DWP uses foul expletive to describe claimant in appeal papers
A welfare rights worker has posted an extract from a DWP submission to a PIP tribunal in which the decision maker refers to the claimant as a ‘lying bitch’.

Commons committee investigates personal services for survival amongst UC claimants
The Work and Pensions committee has begun an enquiry into universal credit (UC) and personal services.

Increase in ESA claimants placed in the support group
The latest DWP statistics for employment and support allowance (ESA) show a marked rise in the proportion of new claimants being placed in the support group.

PIP and ESA appeal success at highest rate ever
Claimants are winning PIP and ESA appeals at the highest rate ever recorded, according to the latest Tribunals Service statistics, released last week.

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.

ESA re-assessment result
“After 3 months of stress, tears and sleepless nights, I have had a letter telling me that I have been kept in the Support Group. The relief is huge and I just wanted to thank Gordon for his support and help. I think I was very lucky with the assessor, who was kind and seemed to be very supportive. From what I have read on here and other places, it's a matter of luck when it comes to assessors. I'm not a very lucky person so am extra grateful! Good luck to all and again, thanks to B & W particularly Gordon.”

DLA to PIP at 16 successful – thank you B&W
“We have just moved from DLA to PIP as my son is 16. The dreaded brown envelope arrived and to my surprise we got the award - I was dancing round the kitchen! And it was a slightly enhanced rate. My son didn't have an assessment at all (he has ASD diagnosis), we just had a phone call from a lady asking me questions about him ( I am his appointee). I can only put it down to having access to your wonderful guides and other people's advice on the Forum. Thank you thank you..”

ESA Success
“Having used the guide for migration from Lifetime DLA to PIP and awarded the same as I had Standard care and Enhanced Mobility. I found myself needing to complete the ESA50 form. I used the ESA guide, it is large but then again so is the form. I sent in the additional medical information as recommended in the guide. Along with a letter from my husband (my carer) I waited 13 weeks and received a note on my UC online account saying I had passed the limited capability for work related activity. Then 2 days later received a letter from ESA advising that the decision was to place me in the support group. This was all without a medical and a decision made on the paperwork alone.
I would wholeheartedly stress to anyone going through any of these processes. BUY the Guides. It is without a shadow of a doubt the very best £20 I have spent in a long time. Thank you for all your hard work in developing these guides. It gave me the confidence and ability to complete these abhorrent forms.”

PIP Review Result
“Hi, thanks to Benefits and Work for all the useful information and advice the site and its members provide. At the end of February I had my Assessment and today I phoned to ask for a copy of the report (I had received a text from them saying they had it and were considering). I was hoping for more on mobility, but got standard on both so it was still a relief... Once again, obliged for all the help during such a stressful and tiring experience”

Thank you B&W
“Thankyou everybody working at B&W received [lower] rate mobility and care. Still lost the higher rate mobility that I had and they haven't given me 'light touch' even though I am a pensioner because 'my needs may change' so have to go through the whole process again. BUT for the moment I'm so relieved not to have to go to court.”

WCA success – support group no medical!
“A while back I wrote an entry to you about the long wait I was having following a WCA form. You kindly gave me a link to the assessment centre, followed this up and I was finally given the news today that after many years on the WRAG I am being transferred to the Support Group with no need for face to face medical. Once again I would like to thank you for the priceless advice given on here regarding filling the form to give me the best and most fair outcome. I would encourage anyone who is waiting a long time as I did ,some two and a half months to chase them up. Waiting for so long is intolerable when your health is deteriorating because of it. Thank you again, I am so relieved at the outcome, Keep up the good work.”

DLA to PIP success
“[I] have been a quiet member for many years and used the guides every time but I wanted to share my good news today, I had been on the enhanced rate mobility and standard care PIP due to end September 2019, received the letter saying I was having a home visit from capita…anyhow gets a letter today moved to enhanced care for 10 yrs.. I really couldn’t believe it this was my best case scenario and it actually happened. But without you advice on how to complete the papers I don’t think it would be so… Thank you is not really enough but it’s all I and others have.. keep it up”

ESA success!
“Thanks to the great guides and advice on this site my wife has succeeded in getting awarded her Esa on renewal without a F2F. Form was sent in Dec 19th 2018…I spent a couple of days researching and suspected it was an award letter. I then had to call DWP to confirm it was an award letter…After putting in her NI number he confirmed it was an award letter(yes!!). I then asked how long till the next review he then confirmed it would be18mths… Thanks for all your help once again”

Massive thank you
“Would just like to say thankyou very much for all the information available on this site
. Just received a letter to say I have been put in the support group for another 3 years without the need for an assessment . All the information available on this site is fantastic, and if it had not been here, my outcome may have been a different story .... Thankyou again”

ESA success
“I had my assessment on 28 December 2018 and had not received a decision yet. I bit the bullet and phoned them today to request the ESA85 to start preparations for an MR and appeal. Lo and behold, a decision was made on 12 January. I had not received a letter informing me BUT I got the Support Group again for 18 months!...Thank you to Gordon and this site. Without the guides and reading all the posts on here I would have struggled so much over the past few years.”

DLA to PIP success after appeal
“Hi all - I've been a member here for a while, but have only posted here once or twice. Excellent advice and information - which is always bang up-to-date thanks to Steve D. and the team ! I hope by sharing this, it might encourage others in similar circumstances to ours. We have a daughter with learning disabilities, and she was getting the lower level of DLA - then she had to apply for PIP when she turned 16... she was given insufficient points to qualify for any PIP at all - so we applied for a MR, which resulted in no change to the original decision. So we decided to take it to appeal - and as her father, I acted as our daughter's Representative… I seem to have managed to convince HMCTS (or the DWP) to ask for further medical reports from our daughter's GP instead of relying purely on the Atos assessment. The day of the hearing arrived… the Judge explained that they had already decided that our daughter did indeed qualify for PIP at the lower level for both Daily Living and Mobility components. Although I had sent a 'submission' which argued for maximum points, I was only expecting to be awarded the lower Daily Living PIP - but the Tribunal had already decided that she also qualified for lower Mobility as well… So, with the massive help of the info and advice from the B&W guys here - and I believe the extra report from our daughter's GP …It took over a year to get this result - and I count my blessings that we were able to see it through …Our daughter got her PIP backdated to the date of her claim - and was awarded the current level for just one more year”

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.

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: 64737

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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