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ESA Medicals Now Decide PIP And Vice Versa Plus Support Group Without Medical

Dear Reader,

Employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals – work capability assessments (WCAs) – are being used to make decisions about eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP), a government minister has confirmed.

Benefits and Work also has evidence that the reverse is true: existing ESA awards are being looked at again and changed on the basis of a PIP medical report.

What’s more, in an effort to reduce the PIP backlog, many thousands of decisions are being made by temporarily promoted DWP staff who aren’t really decision makers at all.

So, it’s probably never been more important to ensure that you give the most detailed and accurate information you can, backed up with supporting evidence if possible, when you are applying for either ESA or PIP.

Indeed, what you include on your claim forms can not only influence whether you get an award, it can also decide whether you have to endure a face-to-face medical assessment.

Mark Harper, minister for disabled people, told MPs

“. . . we take the ESA85—the report from the work capability assessment—and put it with their PIP form and any other evidence they have provided. That is enabling us to make more decisions based on the paperwork without needing to call people in for assessments.”

And it’s not just for PIP that detailed evidence can help avoid a medical assessment.

The recent independent review of the WCA has confirmed not only that regulation 35 (2) (b)is now the most common reason for claimants getting into the support group, but also that two thirds do so without having a face-to-face medical. Regulation 35 (2 ) (b) is a ‘safety net’ regulation. It allows entry to the support group for people who aren’t covered by the relevant descriptors, but where there would be a substantial risk to their health or someone else’s if they were not put in the support group.

There are no questions on this regulation in the ESA50 claim form, but there’s more information about it, and how to give evidence, in our guides

Still with the WCA, you won’t see it trumpeted in the pages of the tabloids, but recent figures show that in 2013 only 7% of incapacity benefit (IB) to employment and support allowance claimants were found capable of work. A staggering 59% were placed in the support group. The figures raise a huge question mark over what the transfer process has achieved, other than causing enormous hardship, distress and, in some cases, the death of claimants.

Actually, one thing the IB to ESA transfer process did achieve was to cause a massive backlog in the whole ESA assessment process. A minister has confirmed that there are now more than half a million ESA claimants trapped in the assessment phase, many of whom should be in the support group.

And whilst the DWP are now placing their hopes of getting back on top of assessments with Maximus, the American company due to take over from Atos next year, there is no prospect whatsoever of improvements being made to the WCA itself. The fifth and final review of the WCA has cast doubts on its suitability, but recommended that it should have a period of stability before being completely replaced sometime around 2020.

And finally, there’s the grim news that, according to the very reputable and entirely non-radical charity Contact A Family, more and more families with a disabled child are being forced to choose between heating and eating because of cuts in their benefits.

So, although David Cameron recently told Ed Miliband in an exchange in the Commons:

"I don't need lectures from anyone about looking after disabled people. I don't want to hear any more of that."

the truth is that, regardless of his own personal tragedy, Cameron needs to hear an awful lot ‘more of that’ from as many people as possible.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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BENEFITS NEWS
Autumn statement
We'll be publishing details of any further cuts to benefits announced in today's autumn statement as soon as they are available. Please check the Latest News section for updates.

Regulation 35 (2) (b) is now the main route into ESA support group
Although there are no questions about it in the ESA50 questionnaire, a recent report has revealed that regulation 35 (2) (b) is now the most common reason for claimants getting into the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA).

Untrained staff being drafted in for PIP decision making
The quality of decision making for personal independence payment (PIP), is being called into question following the revelation that hundreds of staff without the proper experience and training are being temporarily promoted to the rank of PIP decision maker.

ESA Medicals Now Decide PIP And Vice Versa
Employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals – work capability assessments (WCAs) – are being used to make decisions about eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP), a government minister has confirmed.

WCA review author condemns claimants to 5 more years of misery
The fifth and final review of the work capability assessment (WCA) published yesterday, appears to conclude that the WCA is perceived as being so unfair that it cannot survive into the next decade.

Only 7% of IB to ESA transfers found fit for work
Statistics released today by the DWP show that only 7% of incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants were found capable of work in 2013, with almost 60% being placed in the support group.

Over half a million trapped in assessment phase of ESA
Over half a million people are trapped in the assessment phase of employment and support allowance (ESA) whilst waiting for a work capability assessment (WCA) and hundreds of thousands more are dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing when their next assessment will be, a government minister has confirmed.

Benefit changes are killing the vulnerable, say campaigners
The sister of a mentally ill man who starved to death in David Cameron's constituency after his benefits were wrongly cut has accused the Government of "killing the very vulnerable", as official figures emerged suggesting dozens of people could have died in similar circumstances.

Heat or eat choice for families with disabled children
Soaring numbers of families with disabled children are being forced to go without food or heating because they can no longer afford the basics, a major study shows.

 

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If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Saturday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

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Good luck,

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Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
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Comments  

+2 #1 liggy 2014-12-03 10:49
I just cant thank you all so much I have been awarded the Enchanced rate of Mobility Component for the first time Since My Accident at Work in 19-85 I Just don't Believe it Thank You Very Much. The Care Rate I just Got the Standard Rate but I have asked them to look at that again as I have always been on the Highest Rate For That.
You help so many people I think you do a Fantastic job, All the Best And Thank You All Lots of Love LIGGY :-)

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