“I received my letter advising that I had to apply for PIP after 8 years on DLA in May last year. Your site was invaluable in focusing my mind on what I do actually need help with. It is a demoralising and depressing process as day to day you tend to concentrate on the positives and the reality is always painful. I sent off my application, requesting that my DLA submissions be considered and added 52 pages of medical reports, social care plan, Occupational Therapy Plan… It was extremely stressful but the good news is that I was awarded enhanced for both care and mobility. I am so grateful for the information which helped me apply ...”
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Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we celebrate the decision of the DWP to admit defeat in their battle to discriminate against PIP mobility claimants with mental health conditions. And thank you for your part in that victory.

We also look at what the decision to review 1.6 million PIP awards, as a result of the DWP climbdown, might mean in practice.

We highlight a consultation taking place on extending blue badges to more claimants with mental health conditions. It’s the result of another victory in the courts for claimants.

Plus we reveal that massive misery of universal credit is set to save the DWP just 2% compared to leaving things as they were.

A fortnight is a long time in the world of benefits, it turns out.

In our last newsletter we wrote about the DWP losing a high court case in which they tried to defend discriminating against PIP mobility claimants with mental health conditions.

We pointed out that, in order for claimants to actually take advantage of this victory, they would need to win at least two more appeals.

We said that this was a tall order. But we added that the courts came down so heavily on the side of claimants in both cases that there was a good chance of success.

Well, it seems that Esther McVey agreed with us.

Because the DWP have now thrown in the towel in both cases.

It’s a big victory for claimants. And one in which Benefits and Work readers can take real pride. Because the case which has forced McVey to back down was crowd funded largely by readers of this newsletter back in May 2017.

Within just a few hours of the May newsletter going out you had increased the amount pledged for legal costs from £750 to over £3,000, the sum needed to start court action. Ultimately you helped raise over £8,000.

A drop in the ocean compared to the £181,00 spent fighting these cases by the DWP. But your support made all the difference.

As Billie, who took the case to the High Court told us:

“The speed with which your readers pledged money and their comments made me realise just how many people are angry about these changes, and are behind me.

“I was literally crying with relief watching the pledges flood in from so many strangers.”

We’ve updated our PIP claims guide – again – to take account of the government climbdown.

And we’ll keep you posted as it becomes clearer exactly how the DWP now intend to interpret the law and what guidance they issue to decision makers, health professionals and to staff tasked with identifying claimants who have lost out.

As a result of the government climbdown, the DWP have announced that they will be looking again at 1.6 million PIP claims to see if claimants should get more points for mobility.

It will be a massive undertaking and already hundreds more staff are being taken on to cope with it.

It is also likely to cause a great deal of alarm amongst claimants, who may worry that their award will be reduced instead of increased. Or that they will have to attend another face-to-face assessment.

At this stage we have no reason to believe that either of these things will happen

But the information available so far leaves many questions unanswered.

In particular, will claimants know when their award is being checked?

And, if the DWP decides there is no reason to increase their award, will they be told by the DWP about this decision and given a chance to challenge it?

We suspect not, but we will keep readers informed.

The government begun a consultation on extending eligibility for blue badges to claimants with conditions such as autism and dementia.

Announcing the move, transport minister Jesse Norman said:

“Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible.

“We want to try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities, so they can enjoy the freedom to get out and about, where and when they want.”

What Norman didn’t add, however, but the Disability News Service have been quick to point out, is that the DWP are only planning to extend eligibility because legal action brought by a claimant with autism forced them to do so.

David, an autistic man with learning difficulties, lost his blue badge after 30 years simply because he was forced to move from DLA to PIP. The criteria for blue badges for PIP claimants makes it much harder to qualify if you have a mental, rather than physical, health condition.

David’s legal action has forced the DWP, slowly and reluctantly, to launch a public consultation and change the discriminatory rules.

It’s yet more proof that PIP has been a disaster for claimants, but that - even with legal aid cuts - there is still some redress to be had from the courts.

The roll out of universal credit (UC) is another disaster for claimants which is currently unfolding.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting that the introduction of UC will save the government just 2% of what it would have spent on benefits if UC had not been introduced.

It will save just £1 billion of the £63.2 billion costs.

And even this is just an estimate. There may be no savings at all.

The cuts to claimants benefits are considerably greater than 2%, however.

This is because the reduction in the benefits bill is estimated at £10.7 billion, but against that has to be set the additional costs of UC at £9.6 billion.

In other words, huge sums have been taken from the pockets of claimants and paid, at least in part, to outside contractors.

So, UC can take its place alongside PIP and ESA as a grandiose benefits cutting scheme which has, in reality, failed to reduce the benefits bill but has succeeded in bringing misery to millions.

As well as making huge profits for a few private contractors.

Which, some people would argue, is what these reforms are really all about.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work guides covers

Brown envelope has arrived!
“Opened the brown envelope having been reassessed on January 9th and I have been awarded standard rate for daily living and enhanced rate for mobility (no change from previous award) for four years. I can't tell you how relieved I am as last time I had to take it to a tribunal.... A big thank you for all the advice given on this site as I am sure the DWP would have had there way otherwise.”

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: 62398

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

1.6 million PIP claims to be reviewed for extra mental health awards
The government announced yesterday that they will be reviewing 1.6 million PIP claims to see if claimants should have been given more points for the mobility component

Blue badge changes were forced on DWP
Consultation on changes to the Blue Badge eligibility criteria are being forced on the government, rather than being an attempt at inclusivity as minister’s have attempted to claim.

Universal credit misery will cut less than 2% from benefits bill
In a report published yesterday, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted that Universal Credit (UC) will save the government less than 2% of what it would have spent on benefits if UC had not been introduced.

Hundreds of new DWP staff taken on as number affected by PIP mobility u-turn rises to 220,000
Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, admitted yesterday that up to 220,000 claimants could have been affected by the DWP’s attempt to discriminate against people with mental health conditions claiming PIP.

Blue badges to be extended to people with conditions such as autism and dementia
The government is consulting on widening the criterial for blue badges so that claimants with hidden such as dementia and autism are more likely to be eligible.

Complete DWP surrender in PIP mental health mobility cases – victory funded by our readers
In a shock move the DWP have today completely abandoned their attempts to discriminate against claimants with mental health conditions trying to claim the mobility element of PIP.

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.

I have won my tribunal! Yay!
Covers set tall 2“Hi,just to update you.I have won my appeal!! I was unable to attend the Tribunal because of my bad health and I sent a letter to the courts explaining this. The reason I won was because the DWP didn't have enough evidence that they attended my house unannounced. I hope everyone going through tough times right now is able to stay strong and fight.Don't let them grind you down..I'm so Happy now”

Tribunal Won – thanks!
“In my excitement I forgot to say thanks to all the administration and everyone on here for their advice and experiences.It really does help knowing people are going through the same problems and can help one another out.It makes you feel less alone .Thank you”

PIP awarded
“hi folks. my first post. I have been awarded my pip on both parts. which is good news after I read a lot on here. was very helpful.”

DLA to PIP success
“Thank you all from benefits and work, i have been waiting for what feels like forever for a decision on dla transfer to pip, i had my face to face in december and to be honest the dr that came to me did listen and appeared to be very attentive much to our suprise, after hearing and experiencing a bad med assessment before we didnt hold our breath on the outcome , but today i learned that i have been awarded pip enhanced both parts as on going until 2027 and i will then recieve a call to see if it the same cant believe it, i was on enhanced both for dla but still thought they would try and cut it as theyve been very cruel in past . once again thank you for you help in making this a painless transfer”

PIP award
“Just want to say a big thankyou iv just been awarded PIP enhanced rate without this site I don't think I would have done it. It was very stressful then waiting for the brown envelope to come was very worrying iv been awarded it untill December 2021 just like to thank you very much found this site excellent and will continue to use.”

ESA Appeal lapsed
“Thank you Gordon for the invaluable tips and downloads on this site that enabled me to ask for the JC report and the full doctors assessment report in the tiny time frame allowed. In order to request a mandatory reconsideration. Since son was removed from support group to WRAG group… So sent appeal form on 12th of December 2017 with 2 support letters… Brown envelope drops on the mat last week... A reconsideration notice, appeal lapsed. Words were jumping out at me but could not really take it in. Only after reading it repeatedly did I then realise they were returning my son to support group for 2 years. Stating under section 35. That they are unable to identify any work related activity that would not be detrimental to his health… Cant believe we don't have to suffer a year long wait of stress for appeal and that finally some one seems to understand my sons hidden disability's. All sorted from appeal submissions to reconsideration notice in less then 5 weeks. I could have easily given up . So glad I didn't. Thank you so much for all you help and advice. Is this a record breaking result Gordon. Hope you and the other moderators had a great Christmas Break. You all deserve it. Thank you. Thank you.”

A huge thank you
“I have just received the higher rate of both elements of PIP and wanted to say a huge thank you for the amazing advice on your website. I couldn’t have done it without you. Keep up the good work !!”

Thanks, a big thanks
“I just wish to say thanks to all the people in your organisation who have unknowingly assisted me through my darkest hours dealing with the Department of work and pensions.
I first applied for PIP in Nov 2016 and thought it would be a while however I never thought it would take this long.
I found your site and applied everything and anything which I thought could help.
I just wish to say I was at the last stage ,"going to a tribunal", I was not looking forward to this especially the last person from dwp, who spoke to me advised , if I take this to tribunal she would advise I receive nothing.
I recently received a call from the dwp, offering full payment for first half of payment and 50 percent for second part, my wife advised this was unacceptable and we would be going to tribunal especially as the last letter supplied to them was advising I was now unable to drive.
They decided to review once my letter arrived.
2 days later they contacted my wife and confirmed they would be recommending that I be awarded the full amount for both parts of pip and it would be for the maximum length of time that they could issue this for.
Also backdated to dec 2016.
Thanks, a big thanks,”

Thank you benefits and work
“I felt I had to write to say thank you for your advice on completing the pip forms.
My husband had to change from DLA to PIP we had the forms begining of December 17, we completed the forms with the help of the guidance.
Two weeks after sending in the forms we received a letter for my husband to have a medical, which upset him considerably, the following week we had had an Atos rep visit us at home.
She gave nothing away and said it would be 6-8 weeks for a decision, so we had the worry all over Christmas.This morning the dreaded letter arrived,my husband has been granted enhanced rate for both care and mobility, he was on high rate mobility before but middle rate care, now it is enhanced. The award is till 2021.
Thank you benefits and work for all the helpful advice you give, keep up the good work.”

Amazing B&W thank you!
“Just wanted to say thanks for all the help in my first and successful claim for PIP.
Forms, assessment, decision all in 3.5 weeks from start to finish with an award.
B&W's help was invaluable I was all ready for the reconsideration/appeal but I needn't have worried, although the assessors report left much to be correct I have been awarded standard daily living for 3 years, so Im happy not to rock the boat.
Amazing B&W thank you!”

Thank you again
“Thank you. Without your guidance sheets and forums we would have struggled to complete the PIP form to the extent we did. We have today received the decision regarding my daughter's claim. She has been granted enhanced payments on both sections and it is ongoing. Thank you again, this site and the information and support provided is invaluable.”

thank you for your very helpful guidelines
“I have just heard that I have been awarded PIP enhanced daily living and mobility.
I just wanted to thank you for your very helpful guidelines and forums. I do not think I would have been able to return the very onerous application form without your invaluable help. They showed my how to fill in the forms and what supporting evidence to obtain.”

Thanks to you all and for your wonderful guides
“I have today 11 days after my assessment received my brown envelope. I have been awarded standard rate care, which is the same as the middle rate care I was on with DLA. I was stunned. I thought I would have a lengthy fight. Thanks to you all and for your wonderful guides. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

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: 62398

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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