Quickest DLA decision
“Hi I just wanted to say a big thanks to you guys and your fantastic guides as my wee boy has been awarded middle rate DLA. I am in shock as it has taken them just 2 weeks to give us a decision, I am delighted . . . My daughter who is autistic as well, her decision took 7 months, through a mandatory reconsideration and required the support of our local MP.”


Dear Reader,

We start with a reminder that this will be our final newsletter, and final discount coupon, until September as we take a break over the summer.

In the news, we reveal that ESA mandatory reconsiderations have been ruled unlawful.

And the claimant who won this stunning victory says it wouldn’t have happened without you, our readers.

Plus, a survey of over 3,000 Benefits and Work readers reveals the pain, humiliation and lost benefits caused by being forced to undergo the wrong sort of PIP assessment.

We are supporting calls for claimants to be offered a choice and updating our members only guides to include challenges based on the inappropriateness of the type of assessment.

There’s also the surprise announcement that the DWP have changed their guidance on stopping the benefits of people who miss their work capability assessment.

And it’s not too late for you to watch our two hour webinar on PIP mobility and mental health. The live event was attended by over 300 members and we have had some fantastic feedback.

We also have a date for our first Zoom course on the same subject, for support workers and advice workers.

This will be our last newsletter until Wednesday 9 September.

It will also be the last money-off coupon until then.

We won’t be resting over the summer break, though.

Instead we’ll be working hard on new training initiatives. Including more webinars like the PIP mobility and mental health one that was such a success last week.

We’re also working on some on-demand and Zoom training.

If you’re interested in helping to road test some of the training, watch out for a news article asking for volunteers in the next week or two.

Benefits and Work members have been thanked by claimant Michael Connor after his victory in the High Court

The court ruled it is unlawful for the DWP to force ESA claimants to have a mandatory reconsideration before they can lodge an appeal.

Last November we asked readers to help fund an attempt by Connor, who is also a law graduate, to have the mandatory reconsideration process ruled unlawful.

Our members responded with great generosity, to the extent that the original target of £3,000 was smashed. Over £7,500 was raised in the end.

Connor had been forced to wait 18 weeks by the DWP whilst they carried out a mandatory reconsideration of his ESA decision. During this time he had no right to claim ESA at a rate paid to claimants once they have successfully lodged their appeal.

The court found that forcing a claimant to wait until an appeal is lodged to be able to receive ESA again was in breach of their right to a fair trial.

Connor had particularly warm words for Benefits and Work readers after receiving the decision:

“The judicial review was only made possible by the support of Benefits and Work members. Without this support ESA claimants would still have to endure the draconian mandatory reconsideration process without any appeal pending benefit. Benefits and Work is the leader in grassroots support for benefit claimants and I am honoured to have their support”

So, well done all of us. Just occasionally the DWP doesn’t get its own way.

Though with the government’s plans to make judicial review much less available, such cases may soon be a thing of the past.

Some weeks ago, we asked you to tell us whether, if you had the choice, you would prefer a telephone assessment or a face-to-face assessment.

Over 3,000 of you responded.

The final result was 55% would choose a telephone assessment and 45% face-to-face.

But this can be broken down further.

Claimants with a mental health condition favoured a telephone assessment by 60% to 40%

Claimants with both a physical health and a mental health condition voted telephone 57%, face-to-face 43%.

Conversely, claimants with a physical health condition voted in favour of face-to-face, but only by a small margin. The votes were telephone 48%, face-to-face 52%

But it was the comments that made for grim reading.

For some claimants, a face-to-face means fear, physical pain or humiliation.

I suffered a total breakdown after the lead up to my face-to-face assessment.

I became overwhelmed with extreme debilitating trauma when facing my up coming face to face assessment. I was left too unwell to attend. I felt totally unable to leave my house, so I didnt go.

A telephone assessment is less intimidating and not as humiliating when you don't have to look your interrogator in the face.

The stress of dealing with these things is for me, completely overwhelming and leads to an sharp increase in all my conditions. Multiple arthritis sites all get more painful, I don't sleep, IBS becomes uncontrollable etc. Constant panic. I had an ESA telephone assessment and although I got in a bit of a state- not having to go through the added physical pain and mental anguish of travel just to get bombarded with questions is a no brainer.

For others claimants, telephone assessments are a disaster.

I've just had a telephone assessment and have lost my enhanced mobility, just 18 months after getting it. I'm sure if they saw me at a face to face they would see what state I get in whilst outside. Now have to go through this horrible process of MR and Appeal.

I am relatively articulate and this seems to work against me. If they can see my shaking and my anxiety then it helps to convey the difficulties I have, which include communicating when stressed. On the phone it would probably just be a silence and a non-score for some questions.

I had a telephone assessment a couple of months ago. I am autistic with learning and communication difficulties, I live alone and have no support. All this was on my forms yet I had no notice of the call and was clearly out of my depth. Because of this some of my answers were led by the assessor because I couldn’t explain which affected the results. One of the criteria for a diagnosis of ASD is communication difficulties yet I was awarded 0 points on this

It is very clear that, when face-to-face assessments are reintroduced, claimants should be given a choice. Mental health charity Mind are currently running a campaign to encourage claimants to contact their MP on this subject.

Meanwhile, over the next week, we are updating our members only guide to Ways To Challenge a PIP Medical Report to include challenges based on the inappropriateness of the type of assessment. We will include sample texts to help you to challenge a report on this basis

We are also be updating the PIP claims guide with sample texts you can include in your PIP2 ‘How your disability affects you’ form, specifying the type of assessment that would be most appropriate for you.

Again, this will become more important if face-to-face assessments are reintroduced without warning, possibly after you return your form but before an assessment has been booked.

Without any prior consultation or discussion, the DWP suddenly announced last week that they have changed the safeguarding procedure for vulnerable claimants.

In future, a case conference will take place to try to avoid stopping benefits if a claimant fails to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

The change appears to have happened because the DWP are desperate to avoid being savaged in court by the family of Errol Graham.

Errol starved to death in June 2018 after his benefits were stopped because he failed to attend a WCA.

This was done without checking on his mental or physical health wellbeing, even though he was known to have serious mental health issues.

Errol Graham’s family have a two-day High Court hearing listed at which they will challenge the DWP’s safeguarding procedures.

Lawyers for the family say they want to see the actual guidance issued to DWP decision makers before they decide their next move.

Again, it’s clear why the government are so keen to curtail the right of ordinary people to launch a judicial review.

Last week’s members’ webinar on Claiming the PIP mobility component on mental health grounds was a big success.

And it’s not too late to watch the recording if you missed it. Just head to the PIP page in the Members Only area and scroll down to the webinar link.

Around 300 members stayed for the whole 2 hour live session and 169 filled in a feedback form afterwards.

An amazing 99% said that they would attend another Benefits and Work webinar.

Many left comments too, saying how valuable they found the session.

Really enjoyed the webinar and found it so useful. Feel more confident now in submitting a formal appeal on behalf of my son. Thank you so much.

This was an absolutely priceless webinar. The presenters were very clear (and likeable.) Demystifying the mobility part of PIP on mental health grounds was a real eye opener for me and I feel a lot less anxious about applying when the DWP eventually come to move me from DLA to PIP.

Jason and Liam were great - thank you so much! You put together such a good session with plenty of varied activity, reassurance and kindness. It all helped me feel a bit braver and certainly much better informed about my current DLA to PIP application, and a possible future decision challenge. Bless you B&W and all who sail in her.

Well done loved you guys

I personally have PTSD and anxiety and did not even think that the planning a journey part of the mobility component had anything to do with me I now know I was wrong. Today has given me courage, motivation and most importantly the tools I need to try again and re-apply for the mobility component of PIP. Thank you to everyone at B&W the site is an amazing place for anyone who needs help or assistance with their benefits.

So, do watch this one if you haven’t already and we’ll look forward to your company for more webinars in the Autumn.

We are running our first half-day Zoom training event on 5 October for staff working with claimants with mental health conditions.

If your service users struggle to get the correct award of the PIP mobility component, this training day will help you to really improve their chances of success.

But there are a very limited number of places on the course – just 12. So, don’t leave it too long to book.

More details and an online booking form here.

And that’s all from us until September.

Have a peaceful and safe month.

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: 85644

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

Pain, humiliation and failed claims caused by being forced into wrong PIP assessment

DWP change guidance on stopping benefits as they face court action from Graham family

Mandatory reconsiderations ruled unlawful for ESA, Benefits and Work members thanked

Over 300 disabled claimants sue DWP

Errol Graham family begin judicial review of DWP failures

With most PIP and ESA reviews and reassessments on hold and the number of new PIP claims plummeting, the forum is much quieter at the minute.

But, 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.

DWP changed decision before Appeal
I sent my renewal form off in Oct 2019, had an assessment in Jan 2020. The assessor was very cold and dismissive, felt like she had no understanding at all. Their decision came in Feb 2020. I went from standard/standard to 4pts for both even though I had deteriorated a lot. As a result my housing benefit had been reduced and was unable to pay the shortfall so I was sent an eviction notice . . . At this point I joined Benefitsandwork.co.uk for help and followed their guidelines on how to appeal. This made me realise I hadn't gone into enough detail about how my disabilities effect me . . . Everyday I felt like giving up but I kept thinking of my kids and grandchildren so i kept going. . . I got a txt message from the appeals saying dwp has changed their decision so they have close my case. I was in shock i thought "closed my case, what if i dont agree with their decision" never in a million years did I expect them to award me what I thought I should get without going to appeal tribunal . . . Finally I got ENHANCED for both till 2026, they agreed with everything I said, my rent was sorted out and the eviction was cancelled. I'm so relieved it's over for at least 5 years, it's been 9 months of hell. . . . I hope this helps anyone thinking of or going through an appeal. Stick with it, it's worth it in the end even if you don't get what you think you deserve because we cannot let the dwp keep dismissing us as if we are nothing!! . . . Thank You for this site otherwise I would never have been able to do the appeal.

DLA to PIP result
“I was on low rate care,low rate mobilty DLA. I have now been awarded standard rate daily living,not enough points for mobilty. Even though they knocked me back on mobility i am now better off than i was on DLA. Award was for 2 years. Getting the extra premium on my esa as well has helped. There was some questions that they said the opposite to what they were told by my GP and friends that help with care. Am not asking for an MR as better off,also dont want to risk losing what i have now. Thank you for providing the guides,these helped a great deal.”

MR PIP claim success
“Got extra 2 points , from 6 to 8 which now qualifies for low rate care.. I’m thrilled and could take it to the next stage (tribunal) but I’m not going to push my luck.. And stick with what I have now been awarded high rate 12 points mobility, and 8 points lower rate personal help.. Thank you all for your inspiration and solid information”

PIP Appeal success
“Just to say that the advice given on here helped me a lot in gaining pip. I was given no points in my assesment in 2019 so I appealed. My first tribunal appeal by phone was cancelled. 5 minutes after the appeal was meant to start. But on the next date it took place and I was awarded low rate daily care and high rate mobility. What I'm trying to say is never give up because on many occasions I nearly did . I suffer from mental health problems and from the original assessment to the final tribunal I nearly gave up as the stress anxiety making my symptoms and problems much worse. But I didn't and nor should anyone else. Thank you benefits and work.”

PIP Review success
“…big thanks to Gordon, Bis, all the mods, wonderful sensible people you can trust. my Pip was renewed after a 1043 review March 2020 and short out the blue telephone call, Monday morning 2 weeks ago…The lady from DWP was very polite, patience and professional…I looked at the B&W guides again, and in every section said NO CHANGE, but gave a lengthy description how it effects and help need. as if applying for the first time. I did have difference Psychiatrist reports and a letter from my support worker… IMO its important to give as much info reports etc think about submitting anything detrimental… Again thanks to all for clear logical helpful advice/guides which focus one on salient important points”

MR decision
“I gained the 1 extra point needed to qualify for Enhanced Care which is great news, mobility standard but was happy with that anyway. Both awards are for an ongoing period and will not be looked at again until after June 2030…Once again, thank you to all who have given advice and supplied the guides as they have been a great help.”

Thank you B and W
“I have been a member of this website for years, you have helped me get my DLA payments and the transfer from DLA to PIP which I have thanks to your website”

wonderful online support, webinars and information
Thank you all so much for the wonderful online support, webinars and information regarding PIP. I applied in January and, with your site’s help, I self completed all the relevant forms and then had a telephone assessment 3 weeks ago. I have just received notification that I have been awarded enhanced rates for both daily living and mobility until December 2022. This has been backdated so I’ve had a lovely surprise appear in my bank account.
I would never have had the confidence to complete the forms and participate in the near 2 hr telephone assessment had it not been for your help.

I still can't believe it
It was with great trepidation I opened a brown envelope from DWP. My PIP assessment was not due until August 2021 so when I saw the first sentence about a review to check I was receiving the correct amount my stomach churned, I began to quake in terror. The visions I had of medicals, of not being listened to, of going to a tribunal and seeking mandatory reconsideration, the feelings and the stress all came flooding back.
It took me awhile to compose myself and to unfold the letter. I had to read the letter a couple of times. Enhanced daily living and enhanced mobility to continue on an ongoing basis!
I still can't believe it. No assessment. No form filling. No requesting even more medical evidence.
I am so grateful for all the information you provide and will continue my annual subscription so you can continue such informative and helpful advice.
Thank you so much.

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: 85644

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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