Support group and DLA awarded before appeals heard
“I have had a really stressful time with both benefits for over a year now as some of my previous posts have told.
“With the help of the guides and the people of this site I can finally say that hopefully it is all over (until 2012 anyway). After finally being placed in the support group before my appeal was heard and now had the DLA awarded indefinitely, once again before the appeal was heard.
“I am so grateful for the guides and the people on this site because I really believe without this site I would have given up long ago.”
More feedback from the Benefits and Work forums at the end of this newsletter
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PIP claimants mobility payments to end at pension age?
There is a real possibility that claimants who are forced off DLA and onto its planned replacement, personal independence payment (PIP), will lose all mobility payments on reaching pensionable age. (Members only)
It isn’t certain that this is what will happen, the welfare reform bill is deliberately unclear about a number of vital issues. But at the moment it’s hard to see how else the system could work, given that, for most people, when PIP ends at pensionable age the only possible replacement benefit will be attendance allowance (AA). And AA has no mobility component.
The changes should not affect current DLA claimants who are over pensionable age. But it is an issue which needs urgent clarification and which younger claimants may wish to contact their MP about.
It also appears that PIP may apply to children, not just adults of working age, although again this is left uncertain by the bill.
Elsewhere in the bill, compulsion for employment and support allowance claimants in the work-related activity groups is to be increased. Private and voluntary sector advisors are to be given the power to force claimants to improve their appearance and to undertake work experience or face cuts in benefits. (Members only)
On the positive side, the threat to cut JSA claimants housing benefit by 10% after 12 months, as highlighted in our last newsletter, has now been dropped by the coalition and appears nowhere in the bill. We’ll be providing more information about what’s in the welfare reform bill over the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, two media stories have caught our eye.
The first is that there is an award winning Guardian journalist who would like to attend your ESA medical with you.
The second is that the Radio 4 are doing a programme on the WCA and would like to hear from Atos health professionals who carry them out. We know that some of our readers are indeed Atos doctors. So, if you’re one of them, follow this link for the opportunity to tell the BBC about the work you do.
Still on the subject of the WCA, one of the ‘experts’ who created ESA has said it is not working and is causing an enormous amount of anguish.
His calls for the new harsher test not to be inflicted on claimants, including incapacity benefit claimants, have clearly not been listened to, however. The new tests is still scheduled to apply from March 28th and the first 1,000 letters to current IB claimants informing them that they are about to be assessed for ESA went out this Monday.
There is, however, one small glimmer of hope as genuine concern about the new WCA has led an influential House of Lords Committee to begin a process which could, in theory, result in the new test being prevented from becoming law.
And, in case you feel that we are being in any way alarmist about the current threats facing claimants, the Chief Executive of Action for Blind People has warned that ‘Blind and partially sighted people are right to be terrified’ about the proposed changes to benefits.
Finally, we’ve hunted through the forums to find you a few cheery tales to end this newsletter.
GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUMS
0 to 18 points on ESA appeal
From lower rate mobility and lower rate care to indefinite middle rate care and higher rate mobility
Client went from 6 to 18 points on ESA appeal
Scary DLA supersession succeeds
Lower rate care and higher rate mobility for 12 months to higher rate care and higher rate mobility indefinitely on appeal
Higher rate mobility and higher rate care renewed indefinitely
From lower rate care and lower rate mobility to higher rate care and higher rate mobility
Support group and indefinite DLA both before appeals heard
High rate mobility backdated to May
Lower rate mobility and middle rate care for 5 years
Lower rate mobility DLA and WRAG ESA