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Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and DLA Updates

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. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

PIP success
“I would just like to thank you all for the great advice and guides as i would have never have got through my first f2f without you. I have been on DLA and for the past 10 years low rate dla due to mental health and not feeling in my right state of mind to be able to contest the award although i knew this was wrong. This time thanks to your great site I asked for a MR and after reading all your guides i have just been awarded enhanced both for mobility and daily living I could not have done this without you thank you all so much .”
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 Dear Reader,

In this update we reveal that the DWP have admitted to getting the law relating to PIP wrong again. Many thousands of cases will have to be reviewed and claimants given back-payments.

Meanwhile, the DWP have confirmed that ESA claimants who were hugely underpaid will receive no compensation for things such as prescriptions charges, which they were wrongly forced to pay when they should have been exempt.

We also warn that waiting times for appeal hearings, particularly PIP appeals, are set to grow because the Tribunals Service hasn’t got enough staff to cope with the flood of new cases.

At the same time, legal changes will allow the number of people on an appeal panel to be reduced and for some functions currently carried out by judges to be taken over by other officials.

And, probably not unconnected, there’s news that the online PIP appeals pilot, which allows you to lodge your appeal online, is being extended to more of England.

Finally, there’s news that our forum will be closing for a week later this month to allow Gordon, our brilliant but sadly still sole moderator, to have a much needed break.

 

DWP GOT PIP LAW WRONG AGAIN
The DWP have abandoned two court cases after admitting that they got the law relating to ‘Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition’ wrong for years.

Claimants with conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes are most likely to be affected, though many other conditions may also be involved, and thousands of claimants may be owed large back-payments.

This latest admission follows hot on the heels of the decision by the DWP in January to admit that they had got the law relating to PIP mobility wrong and would have to review hundreds of thousands of decisions.

The new issue relates to the DWP awarding only one point to claimants who needed help with taking medication and monitoring a health condition.

They have now conceded that this was wrong in many cases and claimants should have been awarded more points.

As a result, the DWP will have to do a review of many thousands of cases to see if the decision should be changed.

However, at present, the DWP are insisting that from 16 March 2017, when they changed the law relating to this activity - at the same time as the ill-fated changes to the mobility component - they have been interpreting the law correctly.

But the issue is far from settled yet.

Garden Court Chambers have warned that because the DWP changed the law without any formal consultation process, then the changes may themselves be unlawful.

In that case decisions made from that date would also be wrong and have to be reviewed.

Expect a court case on this subject soon.

Meanwhile, if you think you might be affected, read the full article on the site and keep checking these newsletters for further updates.

We’ve also updated our claiming PIP guide to warn readers of the issue.

 

ESA BACK-PAYMENTS TO BE KEPT AS SMALL AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE
In March of this year we reported on another major DWP error.

The DWP failed to award income-related ESA to around 70,000 claimants who were transferred from incapacity benefit to contribution-based ESA from 2011 onwards.

As with PIP, the DWP are having to do a massive review of cases to identify everyone who has been underpaid and issue them with back-payments.

Affected claimants are owed between £2,500 and £20,000 each. Although, some will be paid thousands less than they missed out on because the DWP are attempting to rely on a legal technicality to avoid repaying all the money they owe.

Now, in evidence to the public accounts committee, the DWP have made it clear that they are looking for other ways to pay back only the minimum sum legally possible, regardless of how much claimants have actually lost out on.

One way they are saving money ripped-off from claimants is by refusing to compensate them for the years in which they had to pay prescription charges, even though they would have been exempt if the correct decision had been made.

Protecting the public purse is, it seems, more important than treating sick and disabled claimants justly.

 

APPEAL WAITING TIMES ON THE RISE
The waiting time for appeals, especially PIP appeals which require a three person panel, are on the rise.

According to the president of the Tribunals Service:

“The rapid rise in appeal numbers has outstripped our ability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of panel members to keep pace.”

Appeal numbers have gone up from 112,000 in 2014-15 to 157,000 in the year to the end of March 2016. But the president has warned that provisional figures for 2017 ‘indicate much larger increases’.

The Tribunal Service is currently recruiting and training an extra 700 panel members to try to cope with the growing backlog.

The main cause of the rapid rise in numbers is undoubtedly the mass reassessment of working age DLA claimants for PIP.

 

LEGAL CHANGES TO TRIBUNALS
Probably not entirely unconnected with the story above, the government has now enacted changes to tribunal rules.

These mean that the president of the Tribunals Service has the power to decide how many panel members should sit on different sorts of tribunals.

The government dropped its original plan to make single panel tribunals the default for the future. But it is still open to the president to decide that, for example, a three person panel will only be needed for more complex PIP cases.

Other changes allow clerks to carry out as yet unspecified tasks and make decisions that are currently the preserve of judges.

This could, for example, relate to issues such as whether to postpone a hearing or require the DWP to provide specific evidence about a case.

 

ONLINE PIP APPEALS PILOT EXTENDS OVER MORE OF ENGLAND
Again, possibly not entirely unconnected with the desire to reduce waiting times and cut costs, the digitisation of appeals is continuing.

The pilot which allowed claimants to lodge their PIP appeal online has now been extended from the Midlands to large parts of the south east of England.

It is expected that the scheme will cover the whole of the country by the summer, with other benefits to follow later.

 

FORUM TEMPORARY CLOSURE
The forum will be closed after the evening session on Friday 15 June and will reopen for the afternoon session on Monday 2 July.

Gordon, currently our sole moderator, is in need of a break. As yet we have not managed to find any additional moderators, though we continue to be happy to hear from anyone who would like to help out.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

ESA success
“A big thank you for all the detailed help in your guides. My 28 year old daughter with learning difficulties has just been awarded ESA on appeal. We didn't have to go to a tribunal, they looked at the paperwork and overturned the decision. Knowing how many appeals are successful from the info on your site made me persevere. Thanks”

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: 38658

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
DWP admits to getting PIP law wrong again, many thousands of claimants will get back-payments
The DWP have abandoned a court case after admitting to getting the law relating to personal independence payment (PIP) wrong again for years,

DWP to keep ESA repayments as small as legally possible
The DWP confirmed to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week that they will pay the minimum amount they can legally get away with to claimants who were underpaid ESA as a result of DWP errors.

Legal changes to tribunals
The government is making legal changes to allow tribunal staff to carry out some of the functions which are currently the role of judges.

Online PIP appeals pilot extends over more of England
The Tribunals Service widened the areas of the country covered by the pilot of their online PIP appeal service, which Benefits and Work first highlighted in April of this year.

Waiting times grow as Tribunals Service struggles with flood of PIP appeals
The Tribunals Service is struggling to recruit and train an extra 700 panel members after being hit by a flood of personal independence payment (PIP) appeals.

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL
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 coversThank you for your advice
“Since joining this group, which I have found a fantastic resourse of information and advice I have scored a hattrick! ESA sucess Suport group paper based assessment! Pip Enhanced on both personel living and mobility thank you for providing the information. I wish I had found you sooner as I scored zero on my claim the first time round and at MR . Due to circumstances at the time I was out of time for taking it to tribunal. So started a new claim. Thanks once again!”

DLA success
“Just to say ,following the wonderful guides on this site ,today I got the letter giving high rate care, low mobility for 5 yrs. Thanks again”

PIP Award April 2021
“Pip review done and completed! Sent the review form beginning February along with additional information due to deterioration in health and needs. Had a home assessment in April and got decision letter last week and was awarded higher rates. It took 5 weeks from assessment until the decision letter arrived. I asked for a copy of the assessors report 3 days after the assessment but I was told that I would not get a copy until a decision had been made! I asked for it again and it was here 5-6 days later and this was before my decision had been made. Huge thank you to Benefits and work for their invaluable site! Good luck to all who is still waiting for their decisions!”

PIP success
“Hi I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks for the support and help offered by this website. My PIP forms arrived [in] April and last week on Tuesday I received my results, I got Enhanced for Every Day Living and Enhanced for Mobility needs. The Benefits and Work guides as well as this Forum have been invaluable to me, thank you. The DWP called for additional reports on toileting which was originally marked as 0 points but the CM obviously had a dispute when assessing my submitted form and the initial report from the assessor. I got 12 points for Mobility and 15 points for Everyday Living, so Enhanced on both, with no reassessment required so its ongoing period. Thank you so much for elevating the stress and anguish when I received those mixed messages from DWP, and thank you for all your help and support, I’ve just ordered my new vehicle and hoist we are elated and recommend anyone thinking of using this site to go ahead and subscribe it’s informative and very helpful and supportive. Thanks again all.”

ESA review success
“Hi there, I've recently been successful in the completion of my ESA claim review(thanks to your guides as usual)”

“Joy upon joy”
“I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the information which allowed me to get through the process of going from DLA to PIP. I was very negative about the whole experience and didn’t think it would work out to my benefit But this morning the brown envelope arrived and Joy upon joy I was given the enhanced rate for care and mobility the same as when I was getting DLA. I must admit I found the Face 2 face process very difficult and very tiring. I am 100% convinced that without you I would have been taking my mobility car back and being left without transport which of course would have isolated me. Grateful thanks”
Trevor

“A burden has been lifted”
“Just wanted to let you know how much the website and members info has helped me to successfully move from DLA onto PIP.
On receiving and reading the forms from DWP it really felt like a huge hurdle to make the jump from DLA, they do seem to make it so difficult that many must give up.
After an interview at home was cancelled because of the "Beast from the East" weather, i decided to go ahead with the re-scheduled interview even though my wife was in hospital with cancer related problems - I couldnt face more delays and stress. A friend came and sat with me and i didnt even have a medical examination!.
Now my wife is home even more disabled and under palliative care, with me struggling to care for her with my own health problems. Finally, after 8 weeks, I got my letter yesterday and we were so relieved to get PIP on both counts so we can keep our motability car, which was our main worry as we live in a rural area.
So the membership of B & W has been well worth it! I had anticipated having to go to MR and maybe an appeal, but thankfully not! A burden has been lifted...I could not have coped with more stress!”
Ben

“I am delighted that I decided to join B&W”
“When I received the dreaded DLA to PIP letter in December I had no idea what to expect so I read everything I could about the process - mainly here at B&W. At 68 years old I was not looking forward to the possibility of months of waiting and then arguing with Capita and the DWP. The session turned out to be no worse nor better than I had expected and the staff in general were pleasant, helpful and respectful. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a letter today to say I have been awarded PIP - both components at the standard rate (equivalent to my previous DLA award). This took 5 weeks - better than I had expected - and I am absolutely positive that the B&W guides helped not only with filling in the forms and knowing what would be important to say on the day, but also with understanding how the whole system is meant to work! I am delighted that I decided to join B&W and would highly recommend it to anyone who needs to go through this nerve-wracking time; seeking and finding help is not always easy but every penny and every minute spent here is invaluable. Thank You”
Jim

“I can’t thank you enough”
“I bought a subscription last year after my mother’s PIP claim was badly handled resulting in her losing her motability car and her independence.
We attended her tribunal yesterday and the tribunal didn’t even ask her any questions and immediately awarded her the enhanced rate of mobility. This is down to the excellent advice and information on this website. I can’t thank you enough.”
Joanne

“I am so glad I found you online!”
“I just wanted to inform you that I attended a tribunal on behalf of my husband (as his representative; I am also his carer) to appeal against the decision not to award the mobility component of PIP. Thanks to advice given by Benefits and Work I was able to construct a very comprehensive appeal. The tribunal were very nice and sympathetic and allowed the appeal – they also stated in their decision that ‘review is not appropriate’! (Well, we know what that’s worth, but still.) So now were are waiting for the arrears to be paid (since last August) which I understand from the DWP can take 4-6 weeks, although the DWP clerk I spoke to did say the case managers seem to be getting through them more quickly – not holding our breath though).
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for all the brilliant info I obtained from your website – I am so glad I found you online!”
Viv

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: 38658

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