Login FormClose

Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Over 80,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.


DLA to PIP success
“I read and re-read your guides and used them to help me complete the form. I asked for and received moral support and advice from you and other members when my home assessment was due. Finally this morning the brown envelope has arrived!! My stomach started churning and my hands shaking so much my husband had to open the envelope. The few minutes it took him to open and read the first page seemed like hours and then the good news - enhanced rate of both daily living and mobility for an ongoing period. Thank you so much for your help and support.”

 Read more feedback.

Dear Reader,

The announcement that some claimants will be spared repeat work capability assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA) has been the big news of the last fortnight.

Below we’ve set out what we know so far.

There’s also news of an updated version of one of our ESA guides and a request for someone who is just beginning the personal independence payment (PIP) or ESA assessment process to share their story with Radio 4 - which we've now had to remove because of the deluge of responses the programme received in just a few hours..

Plus, the unsurprising revelation that the introduction of PIP and changes to ESA have failed to produce anything like the savings the DWP predicted


Exemptions will only apply to ESA and universal credit (UC). It won’t affect PIP awards in any way.


Exemptions will only be for some claimants in the ESA support group or UC equivalent.

Damian Green’s statement on 10 October was absolutely clear that only claimants “who have already been placed in the ESA Support Group or UC Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity categories following a WCA” will be considered for exemption from reassessment.

It’s possible that certain conditions will automatically entitle claimants to be exempt from reassessment. But Green argued when he made his original announcement on 1 October that:

"It's the severity of the condition that matters, because indeed there are some people with MS that can work, but we know that it's a degenerative disease so there will come a point when it may well be that they can't work.”

On 10 October Green added that only claimants “who have the most severe health conditions and disabilities” would be eligible. He defined this as claimants with:

  • severe,
  • lifelong,
  • often progressive and incurable conditions,
  • with minimally fluctuating care needs,
  • who are unlikely to ever be able to move closer to the labour market and into work.

So, the likelihood is that there will be a list of conditions which may allow claimants to be exempt from reassessment. But it will still be for a Maximus health professional to assess the severity of the condition and for the DWP to make the final decision.

This may require say a physiotherapist to decide how severe a claimant’s autism, Huntington’s disease or congenital heart condition is. (These are all conditions that have been suggested as possible grounds for exemption).

It will then be for an entirely non-medically qualified DWP staff member to decide if the health professional got it right.

It’s a system that’s guaranteed to produce some very poor decisions, in keeping with the rest of the WCA.

It’ll be the usual . . . the DWP will consult and then do what they want anyway.

Green has said that:

“Over the coming months we will work with key stakeholders, including disabled people, disability charities, our health assessment provider, the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments, medical professionals and others to develop a set of criteria, set out in guidance, to switch off reassessments for those that are eligible.”

Yes, if you’ve ever claimed incapacity benefit (IB), then it probably does sound familiar. Under IB, some claimants were exempt from being assessed at all, let alone reassessed.

Exemptions included:

  • people in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) care component at the highest rate;
  • people who were registered blind;
  • people with severe learning difficulties;
  • people with a severe mental illness.
  • We’ve reproduced all the old exemptions in an article in the latest news section.

Definitely not this year.

Green says:

“The IT changes needed are expected to be completed by the end of 2017. In the meantime, we will be working to ensure these people are not reassessed unnecessarily.”

So it sounds like they will begin trying to exempt some claimants once they have decided what the criteria will be. But the system won’t start properly before late next year.

And if the DWP’s past record on IT projects is anything to go by, it could be an awful lot longer than that.

We’ll keep you posted.

We’ve updated our ESA Claims for Mental Health and Learning Difficulties: a guide to the limited capability for work assessment.

The information on employment and support allowance is still the same, but the guide now also includes details on claiming universal credit on the same grounds.

Subscribing members can download the 94-page guide from the Members Only ESA section.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work guides covers 

PIP appeal success!
“My daughter has just won her appeal for PIP after her DLA was stopped in May. She has been awarded Higher Rate for Daily Living and Standard Rate for Mobility so we are absolutely delighted! Your tips and guides were invaluable so THANK YOU all so much!”


Thanks Moderators! I’ve done it – PIP award!
“Wow. Just. Wow. Phoned today and told enhanced care and standard mobility for 18 months!
Thanks so much for your help....I cannot believe it!”

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: 65875

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


PIP and ESA cuts are a massive failure, says OBR
The government’s attempts to cut disability benefits spending by 20% with the introduction of PIP have been a dramatic failure.

Wanted: someone just beginning the PIP or ESA assessment process
We don’t normally pass on media enquiries to our readers, however well-intentioned they sound.

ESA reassessment exemptions – are the Tories reinventing the wheel?
When work and pensions secretary Damian Green announced that ESA claimants with severe conditions which will not improve will not be subject to repeat work capability assessments (WCAs), he was not coming up with a new idea.

End of ESA reassessments for some chronically ill claimants
ESA claimants with chronic conditions which will not improve will not be subject to WCAs in the future, work and pensions secretary Damian Green has announced.

ESA and UC on mental health grounds guide
We’ve updated our ESA Claims for Mental Health and Learning Difficulties: a guide to the limited capability for work assessment.


Benefits and Work guides coversAs 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.

PIP success: enhanced care and mobility to 2026
“Just a quick note to yet again thank everyone that assists on this site. My wife just been awarded enh/care and enh mobility for ongoing period to 2026.She had a home assessment and the HP from Atos was really understanding, took her time and listened to everything my wife had to say.We had read and followed your guides and provided as much information as possible even dating back to 2002 as well as up to date info. Just because some info was dated it does not mean its not relevant so please tell members to send all information they have. Many thanks again for the great work you all do as i believe we would not have stood a chance without your guides.”

PIP success, both rates enhanced
“Just wanted to let you all know my pip journey was not as bad as i was expecting. I'm aware that this is not the case for everyone. My f2f was handled with care and compassion from receptionist through to assessor in all it took about 40 mins. I received my brown envelope 3weeks 2 days later and much to my surprise i have been awarded enhanced on both . I would like to thank all on this wonderful site for their invaluable advice and support.”

DLA to PIP enhanced rates for both to 2026
“Many thanks for the excellent guides provided on this site. I have just opened the dreaded brown envelope and have been awarded enhanced rate for both components of PIP until 2026. I would advise anyone migrating from DLA to PIP or just applying for PIP to read every word in these guides before putting pen to paper, they are so helpful and very informative......A MUST READ.... I hope this is helpful for anyone going through the process at this time and once again a GREAT BIG THANKYOU TO BENEFITS AND WORK.CO.UK”

PIP appeal success!
“Facing the initial PIP assessment was a big enough ordeal. Aside from a physical condition, I have multiple mental health issues…Unfortunately I only received 8 points for daily living and 4 for mobility which was a reduction in my benefit…After receiving such unfair treatment by the DWP, I decided to appeal my PIP award. I was about as pessimistic as a person could get and was absolutely dreading my appeal date…When the day arrived, I was able to keep it together and answer all the appropriate questions. I won't pretend it was an easy or comfortable experience. I just did my best .. but I wasn't particularly hopeful. As you can imagine, it came as a great shock to me that I was awarded the enhanced rate for both daily living AND mobility! I received double the points I initially received for daily living and triple for mobility. I honestly still can't believe it! …I would like to thank this site so much for helping me to get what I am entitled to. Your guides were so helpful and the support you give is invaluable. This process has been extremely stressful and overwhelming for me but I now have no regrets. Good luck to everyone on here. It's such a tough process to go through but don't give up”

PIP success
“Thank you for all your help, excellent information. Filled AR1 form, had phone call from DWP last week to inform me I would not need a F2F, as I had sent enough medical evidence. Been awarded Enchanced for both until 2022. My last award was from July 2016 for 2 years enhanced for care and standard for mobility. Thank you once again.”

IB to ESA decision overturned at appeal
“Yet another decision by the DWP overturned at Appeal. Migrated from IB to ESA this year and scored a flat 0 points at WCA which was backed up by the delaying tactic otherwise known as Mandatory Reconsideration. Attended Appeal where a very nice Dr on the panel asked me some thorough questions about how my disabilities affect my ability to do things. The Appeal Judge was also very sympathetic and asked me what problems I would encounter if I were to actually go out seeking jobs. Very reasonable questions were asked and replies listened to. I scored 15 points and the DWP decision ( to not award ESA in the Support Group) was set aside with a recommendation not to review my case for at least 2 years from today's date. The information and advice on this site is incredible. I seriously floundered a couple of times but came back here and built up confidence and knowledge. Thank you everyone.”

Another successful PIP journey
“Having been on DLA for 16 years high rate mobility and low rate care on an indefinite award I had been anxious in anticipation of being invited to apply for PIP for a couple of years so I joined this brilliant club…This morning's post contained my PIP award and my emotions are mixed despite achieving an increase to enhanced for both elements, the award is for just 3 years…The health professional was very aware of the fact that my condition is irreversible or treatable or that my needs change so I cannot understand why the award is so short. I'll work on this over the next 2 years using this site before I have to go through it all again.”

PIP mandatory reconsideration
“Hi, I would just like to tell everyone not to give in when their award comes through & it's not what they had hoped for. I had my PIP award through on the 12 September & I was given the enhanced rate for care but only the standard rate for mobility. I asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice & less than a fortnight later, having sent in more evidence, the brown envelope dropped through the door & hey presto, they are now giving me the enhanced rate for both for an ongoing period. I was elated & felt an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders.
Thanks too to B&W for all their helpful guidance, money well spent!”

ESA – appeal tribunal
“I have just received my appeal decision letter & have been moved from WRAG to Support Group,
Many thanks to all at Benefit & Work for all your invaluable guides”

Transfer from DLA to PIP
“Thank you for your guides which helped me in filling in "How your disability affects you" form. I started in April and finally heard back September. I have been awarded PIP enhanced rate Personal Care..”

PIP award
“I would like to say a big thank you for all the information you have on this sight which has helped me gain all my awards for the last 8 years Today i have recieved my brown envelope to say i have been awarded the enhanced rate for care and mobility for an ongoing period and i wont be contacted until 2026. I am so relieved that this is finished now. All that is left to say is thank you so much as i could not have done it with out your help”

DLA to PIP success
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team behind this site for their excellent guides and support. Without it, I think I would still be a gibbering wreck after first being turned down! THANK 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: 65875

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


#5 twinflame 2018-10-28 13:11
I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Fibromyalgia for many years I have had reassessments that have always made my condition worse. I am due for another reassessment in November. I am in the support group. On reflection I do not think I should be having another assessment as I have a condition that has not got better and is unlikely to get better. I am going to put in a complaint to Maximus or whoever and to the DWP about having to undergo an assessment. I am wondering if anyone has done this and what the outcome has been.
+1 #4 Matata2011 2017-04-27 16:48
Hi all,does anyone know exactly which conditions are exempt.People on ESA Support Group & on full DLA High component & fall under all the above criteria are being sent Re Assessment letters from the Health Advisory Service entitled Capability for work Questionnaire presumably from MAXIMUS.Is this legal & if so why? Do they have to fill in that form or challenge it by sending in the previous decision letter from ESA.
Their condition will never get better,or cured because they fall under cronic definition of an illness.To the naked eye it looks like a soft form of Disability form of Abuse & Discrimination.
#3 Beryl 2017-02-03 17:40
I have just had my ESA stopped because I had 0 points in a WCA assessment. I have COPD grade 4 & this is the main factor for me having anxiety & depression. I am not stupid or disabled I can do most things around the house but it leaves me severely breathless, I can't walk far at all without stopping & resting & using my inhaler. From being an outgoing confident independent person I am now depressed, reliant on others, unsociable & pessimistic. I have worked virtually all my life until Sept 2016, only ever having four periods of sickness during this time, & now ended up having to claim JSA. I have asked for a mandatory reconsideration & will appeal however my doctor refused to write a letter for me detailing my condition etc as she says a sick note should be enough & also it seems after everything I have read up on my chances of getting back on ESA are small. As COPD is not curable & can have a serious impact on your physical & mental condition what have you got to be like to qualify? I do not have any other income & really couldn't cope with a job but I am now forced to sign fit for work I don't know where to start with an appeal or know if it's worth the hassle? any suggestions anyone?.
#2 Em Aitch 2016-12-12 19:20
ESA appeal

I have been on ESA for best part of 3 years from COPD diagnosis. The second assessment back in February awarded 0 points for everything, which meant losing ESA and having to sign on JSA for a few months. My health worsened and consequently put back onto ESA appeal rate since October this year. (The devil in me believes they did this, so that the break from ESA means I wont get back dated pay - apart from perhaps last couple months)

Anyway, I had my tribunal hearing last week and they overturned the decision and awarded me 15 points for mobility. The award is ESA support group for 2 years, without assessment. I am not sure what it means, what I am going to get or when!

Would love to challenge (as I see some people are) but just grateful I have an award. It has been a very stressful 3 years.

I would however like to thank this site for the information shared.
+3 #1 yellowsun 2016-10-13 14:59
since the governments announcement that those with chronic incurable illnesses will not be subjected to repeated reassessments, the dwp are rounding up all those with such chronic illnesses currently in the support group, reassessing them and giving them 0 points, thus removing them from that category. This is happening especially to those with Lupus. The way they achieve this is by telling a catalogue of lies on the medical report.

Those previously in the support group who are now deemed fit to work but cannot work, either have to sign on or be without any financial support whilst they wait for a decision on a mandatory consideration, which in many cases turn out to be a complete farce because inevitably they are often turned down.

It would be interesting to hear if this is happening to any other group.

You need to be logged in to comment