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With over 140,000 subscribers our fortnightly updates bulletin is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Get the facts about what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare.   Get your free benefits updates now.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
“To everyone here who has posted, the moderators and those who wrote the guides a very big Thank you! I got the dreaded brown envelope today and I have been awarded standard living and high mobility for 4 years! I cannot begin to say what a huge relief it is. I migrated from DLA and will now be better off on Pip. Could not have done it without you guys! Thanks again!”
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Dear Reader,

Even by this government’s standards it’s a shockingly cruel move.

Last month a tribunal of judges ruled that claimants with mental health conditions such as severe anxiety have a right to claim even the higher rate of PIP for help with going outdoors.

It was a decision that put an end to years of the DWP deliberately misinterpreting the law. It meant that many thousands of people with serious mental health conditions finally had a chance to gain a little bit more independence.

So the government acted with remarkable speed.

Bypassing the social security advisory committee, who are supposed to get the chance to comment on all changes to social security law, they published a statutory instrument that will reverse the judges’ decision.

In an effort to justify overturning the judges’ ruling, Tory policy supremo George Freeman mocked as “bizarre” the idea that claimants with mental health conditions should be eligible for PIP. Instead, he said, PIP should only be for “the really disabled people who need it.”

The changes will apply to all claims made from 16 March, 2017.

Just a few days ago we had the following feedback by email.

“Just wanted to say thank you so much for your amazing site! I have used your advice over the years for my son’s DLA applications with great success, have now had his PIP awarded for enhanced care, and after mandatory reconsideration, got the award for mobility as well (thanks to your advice about the tribunal rulings on this for people with a mental health issue).”

Unless attempts by the Lib Dems and Labour to overturn the statutory instrument are successful, and that seems a very long shot, we won’t be seeing many more emails like that.

ESA CUTS REGULATIONS FINALLY PUBLISHED
The DWP have finally published regulations removing the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance (ESA) for new claims.

New ESA claimants in the work-related activity group who are aged 25 or over will receive only £73.10 a week. They will not receive the additional £29.05 component that current claimants receive.

Similar regulations apply to universal credit claimants who have limited capability for work.

Claimants who made a claim for ESA before 3 April, or who are deemed to have made a claim before that date, as well as claimants who are still waiting to be transferred from incapacity benefits to ESA, will not be affected.

Claimants who qualify for the support group are not affected by the changes.

TRIBUNAL CHANGES
Sir Ernest Ryder, the Senior President of Tribunals, has confirmed that benefits claimants will be the Guinea pigs for changes to appeal tribunals due to begin in September 2017. From that date social security tribunals will move more and more online.

You can look forward to attempting to upload your personal data to the cloud, getting emails from tribunal clerks or judges which hopefully won’t disappear into your spam folder and to having a hearing – if you get one at all – via Skype or telephone.

We’ll keep you informed, and our appeals guides updated, as we learn more.

HAVE YOU BEEN ASKED TO JOIN THE DWP’S CLAIMANT PANEL?
DWP minister Penny Mordaunt told the Commons last week, in relation to PIP and ESA, that:

“One thing I have done to ensure that we get more timely information about where things are going wrong and where standards are not being maintained is to establish a claimant user rep panel, which will go live in the next few weeks. It will be rolled out on a very large scale across the country.”

We’re very keen to hear from anyone who has been invited to join this, until now, completely unknown body. Please contact us if you have.

HOME MEDICALS SURVEY
Many thanks to everyone who took part in our survey on PIP and ESA home medicals. We had almost 2,000 responses. There were a lot more additional comments than we had expected, so we’re making sure we go through them all before we publish our findings, which we plan to do in a fortnight.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 Benefits and Work guides covers

 “I got the first hug from my son in 10 years!”
“Just wanted to say a big thank you after a stressful time with ESA review for my son, 34, who suffers rapid cycling bipolar disorder. He has been in the WRAG group for 5 years but following a review including medical, has now been put into the support group. Ecstatic is an understatement. For all my help I got the first hug from my son in 10 years!”

 

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 3 MARCH
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: 98785

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, 3 March

 

LATEST NEWS
Regulations removing work-related activity component of ESA finally published
Covers set tall 2The DWP have today published regulations removing the work-related activity component of ESA and the universal credit limited capability for work element for new claimants from 3 April 2017.

Online appeals to begin in September
Online tribunals for benefits claimants will begin as early as September 2017, the Legal Futures website has revealed.

Top Tory says PIP is only for the “really disabled” as row over cuts grows
George Freeman, a Conservative MP who chairs the prime minister’s policy board, has been desperately backtracking after mocking as “bizarre” the idea that claimants with severe anxiety should be eligible for PIP.

Government rushes in heartless changes to PIP mobility for mental health
Following a court victory by claimants just last month, the government is rushing in an urgent change to the law to prevent many people with mental health conditions being awarded the mobility component of PIP.

Have you been asked to join the DWP’s claimant panel?
Benefits and Work is keen to hear from anyone who has joined, or been invited to join, the DWP’s new ‘claimant user rep panel’ which is due to go live in the next few weeks.

Public Accounts Committee condemns sanction regime
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have issued a report condemning “unexplained variations in the use of benefit sanctions” by different jobcentres and different work programme providers.

Spartacus response to "shocking" green paper on health and work
The Spartacus network have published a very detailed response to the government green paper "Work, health and disability: improving lives".

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM
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.

DLA to PIP with no face to face
“I got the fantastic news yesterday that my partner had been moved from DLA to PIP with no face to face for 6 year period. Previous high rate care stayed the same and mobility form lower to enhanced. All I can say is it is only through following advice on here…When the brown envelope arrived you could have knocked me down with a feather I thought it was appointment letter.
I can only say the membership money paid for information off this site will be the best you ever spend I have been a member for about six years and renew anyway just to keep abreast of changes.
Sincere thanks.”

PIP appeal success
“So grateful and thankful for this site; there are no words except THANK YOU which doesn't seem enough. Just to let everyone know I won my PIP tribunal (without being there). I think it was due to the 9 page letter I submitted with my Mandatory Reconsideration, plus all the medical evidence I provided that swung it for me. Please don't give up people. It took me around two weeks to prepare my letter and documentation. My mental health is very poor, I suffer with bad depression, anxiety, autoimmune problems and with all that going on plus feeling suicidal again, I still managed it. So.......if I can do it......then so can you!”

PIP Mandatory Reconsideration – good news
“Just wanted to let you know that we have had a successful outcome with a mandatory reconsideration as I know that this is often not the case. My husband was awarded 11 points for daily living for 3 years, but felt that it should be higher as he is on high DLA indefinitely. We asked them to reconsider and wrote down which parts we wanted looked at again and explained why. He has this morning received 14 points and also they have given it for 5 years. The relief is immense as he is really not well enough to have to go to an appeal. We could never have done it without the invaluable advice on this site and I cannot thank you enough for the information on here.”

PIP Tribunal success
“Hello I am thrilled to inform you all that I went to my Tribunal yesterday ,I was sick with worry & almost didn't go ! Having met the members who went out or their way to make me feel comfortable…we were asked to wait outside the court, after 10/15 mins my Husband was called back in to court.. & I was told I had been awarded 30 points… I had won my appeal ! To be honest at this time I was so tired it didn't sink in, and the award was forever. Originally I had full mobility and the lower award for 3 years… after a year of worrying it was over , and I had what I was entitled to. So Excited. Thankyou to this site & detailed letter from my GP. I had been listen to …Thankyou, Thankyou Thankyou. Great Site so helpful.”

PIP success
“9 days after f2f home assessment I today received the dreaded brown envelope. Great news been awarded standard rate care and enhanced rate mobility thanks to everyone at b&w… The letter says for an ongoing period... Thanks.”

PIP success
“Thanks to all the information on your site, i have been awarded PIP. This was my first claim and to my amazement was dealt with quite quickly. If not for the guides and the forums i don't think i would have gotten through it, becoming a member of B&W is the best thing i have done and will continue to do. Thanks again”

ESA Support Group success
“First of all very many thanks to all of you at this excellent site. Following your guidance, back in October, I submitted my most comprehensive ESA 50 claim form yet on behalf of my son (who has paranoid schizophrenia). I enclosed every medical report I could lay my hands on and answered each question in the systematic way you suggest. Forests of trees were sacrificed to make the quantities of paper I sent them! And last week the effort paid off - he got the brown envelope with the news that he is still in the Support Group and without having to endure a face to face assessment. We are all so relieved!!”

DLA to PIP transfer
“Thank you for all your great help I have had my face to face assessment, I have acute Multiple sclerosis, which i was on indefinitely on DLA, which i had to be transferd over to PIP. I have had my letter back from DWP and i have recived Max points on care component and Max points points on mobility had was given indefinitely back to my pip and dont ever need another assessment. Thank you for giving me all the details to make my claim for Pip i would of been able to fill in the form without your help.”

Conversion from DLA to PIP
“A big thank you for all the advice and pointers that this site offers; invaluable for all of us who have to struggle through the complex hurdles the benefit system seems to throw at the vunerable.
Great news is that after a 4 month wait and 3 chase up phone calls and a duplicate letter requested; as the first one did not arrive; i have been awarded (not sure i like this word awarded, is that really what the disabled are labled with) the higher rate for mobility and care; thank goodness….Good luck everyone and thank you again to The Benefits and Works site.”


PIP Success after a long road
“Hello to you all and I want to say thank you, without the information gathered on this website I don't think I would of found the courage to apply for PiP. I already have ESA and have been told for many years to apply for DLA but I never did. Any way after many months of building up the courage I submitted a claim in November 2016, and today I got the brown letter to tell me I have enhanced on both modules for 4 years, this came as a massive shock to me because I half expected my claim to be rejected. Again thank you all here, without your help and information I don't think I would of had the courage and when I did I did not think I would get anything.”

PIP Appeal success!
“I had my PIP Appeal tribunal this morning: not only have they reversed DWP's decision to stop my standard rate for mobility, but they have increased it to enhanced rate, and for an indefinite period!
I used the B&W guides and templates when composing both my 'mandatory reconsideration request' letter and my appeal submission, and I'm sure that helped to make a difference (although I also owe a big thank you to Aparna, the disability adviser at the British Polio Federation, who also gave me some very helpful advice). The whole process, from DWP's review decision letter to today's tribunal decision, has been a stressful 6 months, but at least now I've got some relief and certainty.
So, for those of you currently struggling through the process: there is light at the end of the tunnel!”


PIP Enhanced rate
“Hi Folks just wanted to thank the B&W for all the help, we made sure to give a full written account of each and every problem in every question and we have been awarded enhanced rate for both PIP sections for 10 years. From sending the form in it took 6 weeks to get the letter with the awarded PIP. We typed the answers on the computer and printed a page for each answer, with a note on the form referring to the printed sheet. We also got a letter from our GP. Hope this helps if your still waiting for your decision”

PIP success
“I have received the decision about my PIP assessment and I have been awarded PIP. It was my first claim for PIP and I'd like to thank [the mods] and everyone else. B&W's guide was excellent and truely helpful. The whole process was surprisingly very quick and took just 2 months from posting the claim form until receiving the result…a big relief”

DLA to PIP success
“I am so relieved and happy to say that I have been awarded PIP at the enhanced rate for daily living and mobility (12 points each). I was surprised to receive my PIP decision yesterday, only 9 days after my f2f assessment, when the assessor had said I would hear in 6 - 8 weeks time. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Benefits and Work for the brilliant guides on the site, which I followed, and all the mods and members on the forum for their dedication, guidance and experiences. I wouldn't have been able to get this result without you.”



BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, 3 MARCH
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: 98785

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, 3 March

 

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666

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