PIP Success
“Just wanted to thank Benefits and Work and everyone on the forum. I carefully followed the guides and advice that I have seen here and after filling in the AR1 form I received enhanced for both sections, going up from standard on both in 2018. I couldn't have done it without the guides. I can't imagine what it is like or how I would have answered the questions if I didn't have this help. So it is very much appreciated. I wish everyone success with their claims x keep up the good fight.”


Dear Reader,

In this edition we reveal that the success rate for new PIP claims has fallen since the introduction of telephone assessments.

We share the news that the DWP are keeping their Long Covid guidance for PIP and WCA assessors secret, because telling us would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs”.

We learn that after 8 years, the DWP are still ‘working on’ introducing audio recording of PIP face-to-face assessments.

We give members a free recording of our ‘Fantastic’, ‘incredibly helpful’ PIP case law webinar with legal author Mark Perlic.

We say thank you to the hundreds of people who took part in our latest LEAP survey.

And Holiday Whitehead offers more free coaching, this time for people who are currently employed.

Are PIP telephone assessments even harsher than face-to-face assessments?

The latest quarterly PIP statistics suggest that almost 2,000 fewer new claimants a month are getting an award since assessments switched from face-to-face to telephone.

The figures show that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but a smaller proportion than ever receive a payment.

The overall average success rate for new claims since PIP was introduced is 55%.

But averaged over the last six months for which figures are available, the success rate for new claims is just 48.5%.

For the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments took over, the success rate was 52%.

Whilst this decrease may seem relatively small, it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have got an award of PIP in the last quarter under face-to-face assessments did not get one when they were assessed by telephone.

It can’t be proved conclusively that it is the assessment method that has made the difference, because award rates have been gradually falling for some time.

But what is certain is that the longer PIP is in place, the less the chances of a new claim being successful.

Our members guide to PIP claims and reviews has over 20 pages on assessments, including 10 pages dealing solely with telephone assessments.

The DWP is growing ever more secretive, as anyone who has made a recent Freedom of information Act could tell you.

For many years the guidance for PIP and WCA assessors has been available online.

So when we asked to see the guidance issued to assessors in relation to Long Covid, we didn’t expect it to be a big deal.

Especially as the Department had already published the guidance for DLA decision makers on how to deal with awards for Long Covid in children.

But the response we received to our request was a refusal on the grounds that giving us a copy would ‘prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs’ and may not be in the public interest.

We now have to wait a further month whilst the DWP give more thought to the ‘balance of public interest’.

It is likely that money is at the heart of this refusal.

A recent study by React estimated that up to 2 million adults in the UK may have had symptoms of Covid for more than 12 weeks, the current criteria for Long Covid.

Whilst for some people the symptoms may not be very serious, in others breathlessness and fatigue can be extremely debilitating.

The health secretary at the time of the report’s release, Matt Hancock, said:

“Long Covid can have a lasting and debilitating impact on the lives of those affected. Studies like this help us to rapidly build our understanding of the impact of the condition and we are using these findings and other new research to develop support and treatments.”

Unfortunately, this support may not include the payment of benefits.

We’ll keep readers informed when we get any further response from the DWP.

A minister has admitted that the DWP have still not got a system for recording PIP face-to-face assessments, which resumed for some claimants from 17 May, 2021.

Arrangements should now be in place for PIP telephone assessments to be recorded, where the claimant asks in advance (though we would still advise that you consider making your own covert recording as well, see our members PIP guide to claims and reviews for more on this)

But in a written parliamentary answer Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, confessed that it is still up to claimants to take responsibility for recording their own PIP face-to-face assessment:

“We are currently working with providers to deliver an audio recording service for face to face assessments, which resumed on 17 May 2021, that removes the requirement for the claimant to provide the equipment and we aim to complete this as soon as practically possible.”

Tomlinson gave no indication of how much longer it will take before a PIP face-to-face assessment recording system is up and running.

Considering that PIP was introduced eight years ago, and there have been calls for recordings to be made available from the outset, that is nothing short of shameful.

Our first PIP case law webinar for claimant and carer members proved a big hit, with over 200 attendees branding it ‘Fantastic’, ‘incredibly helpful’ and ‘immensely educational’.

A worker at a small charity also thanked us for providing the webinar for free, explaining ‘we do not have an awful lot of money in our training budget so really appreciate this kind of thing’.

The webinar was run by Mark Perlic, author of the definitive guides to PIP, DLA and WCA case law.

It is a rare opportunity to learn from someone with 35 years’ experience in welfare rights, whose handbooks can be found in tribunal judges offices as well as on welfare rights workers desks.

We’re delighted that Mark has agreed to us sharing his webinar with all our members.

It covers topics including:

What is case law - reported and unreported decisions (what’s the difference?)

How to find case law - obligations to provide copies of case law decisions

How to use / make reference to case law in mandatory reconsiderations / appeal submissions

First-tier tribunal duty to follow case law

Now Benefits and Work members can watch a video of the webinar whenever they want. At three hours long, you may want to view it in several sessions to get the most out of it. Just log into the site and head to the members PIP page.

You’ll find the Finding and Using PIP case law webinar in the Webinars section of the page, alongside the much viewed 2 hour Claiming the PIP mobility component on mental health grounds video.

Many thanks to the hundreds of people who completed our survey because they had received a LEAP letter in the last three months.

If you didn’t see a copy of the special newsletter that came out last week, we told readers that we had obtained the opinion of a leading social security barrister that the way the LEAP review is being carried out may be unlawful.

A result we are asking people who have received a LEAP letter in the last three months to complete a brief survey, as we consider our next steps.

There’s more details here and still time to complete the survey.

Meanwhile, the unfairness of the LEAP review is becoming ever clearer. Some respondents told us they had made multiple requests for a mandatory reconsideration of the LEAP refusal and these have simply being ignored.

There is no certainty that we can force the DWP to carry out this review properly, but we won’t give up without a fight.

We’ll keep you posted.

Back in May we invited members to complete a survey in order to take part in coaching sessions with Benefits and Work’s co-founder, Holiday Whitehead

As well as helping to run Benefits and Work, for over 7 years Holiday has been practising as a counsellor working with parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Holiday has recently begun a coaching qualification to widen the services she is able to offer clients and is required to complete 50 hours of practice.

Lots of you responded to the May survey and Holiday is now coaching a number of members. The goal of taking action towards a return to work has been a very frequent one.

Holiday would now like to coach a small number of clients who are already in work.

Up to 10 sessions will be completely free for anyone who is employed and who:

has an issue in their life that they would like to tackle and improve;

has set themselves a goal but is having difficulty getting started or completing the goal;

is struggling with an aspect of their life that they need support to begin to deal with.

The sessions are by telephone or video call and will usually take place weekly for 50 minutes.

If you would like to apply to take part, please complete this brief survey

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: 98254

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

Almost 2,000 PIP claimants a month miss out following switch to telephone assessments

DWP’s secret Long COVID PIP and WCA guidance

After 8 long years, still no progress on recording PIP face-to-face assessments

LEAP Review May Be Unlawful Leading Barrister Tells Us, Now We Need Your Help

‘Fantastic’, ‘incredibly helpful’ PIP case law webinar is a big hit

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. For some people, it’s the only thing that keeps them going through a difficult claim or appeal.

PIP Award – thank you BW
“…I’m a carer for my partner who has recently been awarded both daily living and mobility components at the enhanced rate. The decision letter … states that the award is for ‘an ongoing period’ … I just want to say a massive thank you to benefits and work who’s information and the helpful members guides have been extremely helpful in assisting us with PIP claim. As I mentioned the benefit system is a minefield to us and the site and the information included helped immensely”

PIP result
“Hi there. A big thank you to the moderators in particular Cathrine for the help I received during my recent pip review. Got the letter today, white envelope would you know. Awarded same as last review enhanced mobility and standard rate care with ongoing award for both. As I retire next October I guess I will just get a soft touch review. This is a great site for anyone who claims benefits, I will be keeping my membership going each year even if I don't need it. Once again thanks for all the help from a grateful Rick, I can sleep again thank you.”

PIP Review Result
“Hi thought this might help any one waiting to hear about their PIP review . My son was sent papers that had to be returned by the 18/2/21 he had is telephone appointment on 2/6/21 . His partner recorded on her phone , just in case .he was on standard daily living and standard mobility . Friday 18/6/21.he had his report .he was given standard daily scored 8 . And enhanced mobility .and longer time before another assessment . His changes were a heart problem extra medication and more difficulty in walking .And letters from his heart specialist . Good luck everyone . And thank BAW . They backed dated the extra payment from January that’s when he was due a review .”

Awarded highest PIP & ESA (without Assessment)!
“So I recently awarded enhanced PIP on both mobility and daily living 1 week before the court date! I was originally giving 0 points for both. I applied for ESA (work capability) last month and I received a letter saying i was awarded the highest group without an assessment even! I couldn't believe it, i'm over the moon right no! I'd just like to praise God, thank all the mods here for their hard work and the wonderful guides, honestly couldn't have done it without all of you…”

PIP Award
“Hi, I have received a letter today informing me that I have been awarded Standard Rate for both daily living and mobility. It's until May 2024, they say in the letter that they will contact me whilst getting PIP so see if your needs have changed and to look at the amount you get. This will be after May 2023, I will be 60 then and my disability will never get better only worse so hopefully I will not have many problems then. I want to thank everyone who posts and the mods who really do make a difference to how people approach these things. I used the guides when approaching the questions and I must also say I think I had a really good assessor who knew about my condition and she never tried to trip me up or put me down in any questions…”

PIP Assessment Report
“Hello Everyone, I finally got my assessment report through the door today..... And I am made up!!!! Looks like 13 points for Daily Living (enhanced) and 10 points for Mobility (standard), what the assessor has written looks to me to be a fairly accurate summary of everything I said and submitted which is great!.. Many many thanks because this is a truly happy day for me - I can finally breathe!”

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration
“Hello , had to go through Mandatory reconsideration as my PIP at renewal was lowered to standard in both ,care and mobility . The DWP phoned last week to tell me that they had now decided to upgrade to Enhanced in both daily living needs and mobility . A Letter from my carer and my Dentist helped them to realise how ill I am .I am glad of the result but still disappointed at the years of the award just just another 3 years , I am 65 and my health gets worse not better ,my Husband that has to fill the forms and make the phone calls is 73 , he has asked the DWP TO CONSIDER giving me more years but they said I can go to the Tribunal , I am too ill and cannot cope with all the stress involved . I thank you very much for all the information ,I could not have done it without the help here , YOU ARE THE BEST , much love . To those fighting for your Disability Benefit ,don't give up ,keep fighting for your rights and learn how to use the information here , BEST WISHES .”

PIP Renewal success
“I just would like to say to every member to try and join and follow the instructions into filling the long process of the application form. My renewal pack arrived in Oct 2019 so I was not well and this took me twice to have to phone the DWP for an extension. I was informed that I just completed and sent it back before the deadline which was December 28, 2019. Then January 2020 came with the first real talk about Covid 19. Then March 2020 lockdown happens. I then received a DWP letter with an extension until May 2021... After receiving the first letter for an extension from DWP for May 2021 I received another one again and an extension until AUG 2021. yes. Indeed. But I was called for a telephone interview in May 2021… after 10 days I received the letter but those days the letter sis not brown anymore but white. I open the letter and started by reading the last piece of paper and saw the mobility component which was my main worry I got 12 points. Hurray. I start to cry with relief than I read the beginning of the award letter and so that I was also awarded 12 points 2 points less than last time but still maintained my full PIP award for another 4 years but mostly 3 years which is a relief for 3 years. Thank you to Benefit and work for all your help. not be well is a strain on anybody mentally. the Corona has change, every one, one way or another. So I am now I can continue to concentrate on my health.”

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: 98254

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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