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PIP award
“I want to thank benefits and work so much for their help with my PIP award, I used all the manuals and filled in my claim. I was awarded enhanced care and enhanced mobility, I thought this might cheer up anyone with mental health problems as this is what I was awarded it for, I have borderline personality disorder and i have audio and visual hullicinations, it also has no time limit on it so it was an amazing award, hope all you guys who are going through the same with their PIP award get the points you deserve and not the previous discrimination that we were all receiving.”
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Dear Reader,

In this edition we learn that the DWP is advising some claimants who were refused PIP mobility to claim again, but also admitting that they will then unlawfully refuse their claim for a second time.

The DWP has also confessed that current claimants are being illegally refused PIP mobility.

In addition, we discover that an increasing number of claimants are losing their benefits because PIP assessors doing home visits say there was no-one there when they called, but the claimant insists that the assessor never arrived.

We also learn that the Independent Complaints Commissioner (ICE) has a backlog of around a year and a half for complaints about the DWP.

And with all those unlawful decision it’s good news that you can now lodge a PIP appeal online, but only if you live in the Midlands.

 

PIP RECLAIM WILL BE REFUSED AS UNLAWFUL DECISIONS CONTINUE
The DWP is advising claimants who were refused PIP before 28 November 2016 to consider claiming again if they experience overwhelming psychological distress in relation to planning and following journeys.

However, they also admit that they will turn them down again and that the decision will be based on unlawful criteria.

Moreover, the DWP have also admitted that they are still making unlawful decisions on new claims and refusing PIP mobility to people who are entitled to it.

Their excuse is that they have not yet had the time to update guidance to health professionals and decision makers in relation to PIP mobility and psychological distress.

This follows the DWP’s decision in January to drop their appeal against MH, in which a judge held that changes to PIP mobility law made by the DWP were unlawful.

Updated guidance is expected to be available in the summer.

The DWP will then begin going through 1.6 million PIP claims, looking for all the wrong decisions they have made, and are still making, and put them right . . . sometimes we are genuinely just lost for words.

 

DRIVE-BY PIP ASSESSMENTS
It’s too soon to say how widespread the issue is.

But there are a worrying number of reports, from Benefits and Work members and elsewhere, of claimants losing their benefits because a PIP assessor claims they were not at home when the assessor called.

In each case the assessor is able to describe the appearance of the house, such as the colour of doors and windowsills, and this is taken as sufficient evidence that the assessor called.

In one case the Independent newspaper contacted Capita and it was suddenly decided that the assessor had indeed called, but at the wrong time. So another assessment was arranged.

In two cases involving Benefits and Work members CCTV evidence appears to have supported the claimants assertion that no-one had come knocking at the door.

These may be isolated incidents based on genuine misunderstandings and mix-ups about times or addresses. Or they may be evidence of something more disturbing: assessors under time pressure doing a drive-by of a claimant’s home and then claiming to have called.

Whichever is the case, the effect on claimants wellbeing is utterly devastating.

 

ICE DELAYS
A Benefits and Work member has contacted us after making a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) about the DWP

ICE have agreed to look into their complaint. But they have also warned our member that they are currently just beginning to examine complaints that were brought to them in November 2016.

In our member’s case this means that by the time ICE actually complete their investigation it is likely to be more than four years since the issue they actually raised the complaint about happened.

It’s hard to see how justice so long delayed can be seen as any kind of justice at all.

 

ONLINE PIP APPEALS AND DUMBED DOWN TRIBUNALS
The move from attending appeal hearings in person to online appeals has moved a step closer.

PIP claimants now have the option of lodging their appeal online, rather than filling in a form and posting it.

This has the advantage of being quicker and you can receive emails and texts about your appeal and track its progress online.

The pilot is restricted to claimants living in the Midlands, but will no doubt be rolled out nationally once it has been trialled.

Another result of the move to online appeals is, unfortunately, new regulations which will to allow ministers and senior judges to cut the number of people sitting on panels.

It may mean that in future the majority of appeals will be decided by a judge sitting alone. A medical member may only be involved when it is deemed necessary and members with specialist disability knowledge may be dispensed with altogether.

No decisions have yet been made, but it’s hard to see the government resisting the temptation to cut costs where claimants are concerned.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

Benefits and Work guides covers

Successful PIP appeal
“A big thank you to B&W! By following the advice on the website, I represented myself at my PIP appeal and won standard rate PIP in both components for my ME. A gruelling experience, but worth it, given the result. Hope this will encourage others.”

 

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PIP award
“Thanks to my following the excellent advice and guidance from this site I have been awarded enhanced PIP for both mobility and daily living needs.”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: 63585

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

 

BENEFITS NEWS
Claimants losing benefits because PIP assessors say there was nobody home
An increasing number of claimants are losing their benefits because PIP assessors doing home visits say there was no-one there when they called, but the claimant insists that the assessor never arrived.

DWP advise failed PIP claimants to try again, but admit they will still unlawfully turn them down
The DWP is advising claimants who were refused PIP before 28 November 2016 to consider claiming again if they experience overwhelming psychological distress in relation to planning and following journeys.

Appeal a PIP decision online
If you live in the Midlands, including Birmingham, you can now appeal a personal independence decision online.

ICE taking almost 18 months to even begin investigating complaints against DWP
Complaints made to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) about the DWP will not be looked into for almost 18 months, a Benefits and Work member has discovered.

Tribunals face dumbing down as they go digital
The cost-cutting agenda behind moving tribunal hearings online has been further exposed in new regulations which will to allow ministers and senior judges to cut the number of people sitting on panels, including social security appeal tribunals.

Specialist MS nurses condemn benefits assessment process
Specialist MS nurses have spoken out about how damaging the assessment process for PIP and ESA is and how it is affecting their ability to support patients.

 

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.

Benefits and Work guides coversESA renewed
“Thanks to the great aids ive got my esa renewed, included loads of notes from people that help me like cleaner etc, good friend filled it in for me, posted of week before Easter, received the brown envelope today, so thanks guys”

DLA to PIP success
“My daughter is 49, autistic and has learning disabilities. She is assessed by Social Services as having substantial support needs and depends on domiciliary support from Mencap. She is vulnerable in the community and has often been exploited. Despite all of this being made clear in the application,and letters of support sent from her GP, Mencap and her Social Worker she was awarded only a total of 4 points. Following a request for mandatory reconsideration using your guides she has now been given 24 points, although all of her support needs were shown in the original application… Many thanks for your excellent guides. Although the DWP information claims that support is available from CAB I found that it wasn't. As a result of using your guides she now has the enhanced rate of PIP so is on a higher rate than on DLA.”

DLA to PIP success
“Just went through the DLA to PIP transition and received exactly the same award as DLA - enhanced mobility and standard daily living for an ongoing period. Many thanks to this site for the excellent PIP guide. So relieved that I was able to keep my Motability car!”

PIP Review result
“Thanks to all of the amazing help on this website on how to fill in a review form plus this forum I delighted to say my husbands pip has now been reviewed following his medical. He was on enhanced care and standard mobility and thus was a 3 year award but was reviewed about 6/months early. Following his review he was upgraded to enhanced care and mobility and with an indefinite award not to be checked again before 2028. Thank you all so much. I really couldn’t have completed the forms without you.”

Successful PIP appeal for CFS and depression
“Last May I was awarded £55 per week standard daily living for PIP, with nothing for mobility. Previously I had been getting £96 per week DLA. Had it not been for B&W's encouragement I probably would have accepted this cut. My conditions are very variable. Some people tell me they are "all in the mind". I can never provide any evidence to show what my bad days are like, or the number of bad days I have per year. Nobody who reads my claim forms and doctor's notes can ever be sure whether I am exaggerating to get a bit more money.
But I appealed and last week the judge awarded me enhanced daily living and enhanced mobility, £141 per week until 2021 and back-dated to May. He or she did this a few hours before my hearing, on the basis of my GP's notes and my appeal form. Then I got a text as I was about to set out for the hearing, telling me I needn't bother to attend…
The lesson I would draw is that claimants who think their award is incorrect should not be discouraged by the DWP tactics and the intimidating paperwork and the months of waiting. The tribunals are staffed by good, honest people who want justice…
I hope this will encourage other people who have conditions which are difficult to prove. Just read all the info and advice here at B&W - it could make such a difference to your life.”


PIP Result
“Many thanks to all who run this site, I have found it very very helpful even when my questions have seemed daft, but needed reassurance… my award for pip came and it is for the higher rate on both, it says indefinitely... The advice I was given regarding recording the assessment was spot on, and I would recommend doing it by the book with them, ebay was a good place to find dictaphones, knowing you are recording they have to be honest and straight with your assessment. Many Thanks.”

PIP awarded
“just to say thankyou for all your advice etc after my f2f for my pip claim from dla i have fantastic news and i,ve been awarded standard care and enhanced mobility ...i,m still waiting for the letter to arrive and been told my pip payments wont start till june though unsure why as my dla was to end in april . but been awarded till 2020 which isnt long and my conditions are not gonna get better but i,m truly greatfull and feel very lucky ...”

Many thanks B&W
“I really never anticipated what waiting for a brown envelope could do to a human being, now I have been a member sometime before my PIP was due for assessment but November this year my award was due for renewal and fair play I did have 12 months left on my current one, after filling in the PIP questions in the post it went, but having read what people go through it started me worrying and fretting so please take notice and enrol to be a member to this amazing site, the information and advice on here is the best you will get any where. Got my award enhanced on both, which to be fair I was on before, but different criteria on PIP award questions have changed so it could have resulted in me losing out if I had not studied the forums.. Many thanks to you all for your help and support.”

Tribunal success
“Very pleased to report. My tribunal success yesterday thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction and this forum for the help”

ESA and PIP success
“Just wanted to say a big Thank You, for the advice and guides on this site. It has taken a while to sort. I have been put back in the ESA support group and been told I will no longer be 're-assessed due to my health conditions (I have multiple problems including MS and registered blind- partially sighted)and now have just had my PiP letter to say I have been awarded enhanced rate for both care and mobility until 2028. It has been a lot of work by my sister to get here but could not have done it without your help and comprehensive guides.”

PIP appeal win
“Hi [B&W] thanks to your guides, we won our appeal for our brother and he got back his award for standard rate care which he was originally awarded in 2015, but lost it after an award review in June 2017. …Thanks for all your help.”

 

BOOST YOUR PIP AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
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: 63585

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