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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
“Thank you! Thank you for your help in guiding me through the P.I.P nightmare. I got both at the highest rate and I am well relieved. It was a time of worry and stress. I was told when I got DLA that it would be for life, not when I reached 63!! Still, it's done for now and I just wanted to say thank you.”
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Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we learn that the budget has provided little in the way of help to sick and disabled claimants who are unable to work.

It means that the prediction made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission last week, that some claimants may be £6,500 a year worse off by 2020/21, is still largely correct.

The companies carrying out PIP and ESA assessments, on the other hand, are massively better off we can reveal. They are now being paid four times as much as they were in 2010, well on the way to half a billion pounds a year.

We also explain why MPs have condemned universal support for UC claimants as “woefully inadequate”.

And, proving just how right the MPs are, we have an exclusive account from a librarian with only ‘rudimentary’ training who is being forced to provide universal support.

Finally, in one bit of good news, we discover that there has been a huge increase in the number of employment and support (ESA) claimants who will receive back payments of £5,000 or more.

 

CRUMBS OF COMFORT FOR CLAIMANTS IN BUDGET
There were a few crumbs of comfort for sick and disabled UC claimants in the budget.

For those who can work, there is an increase in the work allowance of £1,000 from April 2019.

And from July 2020 there is the welcome news that income support and income-related ESA and JSA will continue in payment for a fortnight when claimants begin the transfer to UC.

The transfer process itself - managed migration - will take place more slowly, beginning in July 2019 and not completing until December 2023.

But anyone hoping for a dramatic climbdown over UC, or an end to the benefit freeze as part of the ‘end to austerity’, will have been bitterly disappointed by this budget.

 

DISABLED HOUSEHOLDS TO BE £6,500 A YEAR WORSE OFF
Households with a disabled adult and a disabled child in them are the biggest victims of austerity, set to lose £6,500 a year by 2020/21 according to a report produced last week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Whilst the figures will have to be revised following this week’s budget, they remain substantially correct apart from the increase in the work allowance.

And the budget is unlikely to make any difference to other findings in the report, including the fact that disabled adults are more likely to be living in poverty and more likely to have to use food banks.

 

FOURFOLD RISE IN COST OF BENEFITS ASSESSMENTS
Whilst times continue to get harder for claimants as the prime victims of austerity, it’s turned out to be boom time for Atos, Capita and Maximus.

The cost to the state of benefits assessments for PIP and ESA has risen from £112.8 million in 2010/11 to £449.3 million in 2017/18.

That’s a fourfold rise in income for the private companies at the heart of the welfare reform agenda.

 

MPS CONDEMN UNIVERSAL SUPPORT
There may be unlimited amounts of money available for assessing claimants, but it seems there’s a lot less when it comes to supporting them.

So much so that the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has condemned the help given to UC claimants under universal support as “woefully inadequate”, in a report released this week.

The DWP currently only fund a single two-hour session of Personal Budgeting and Digital Support, at the start of a UC claim.

Committee chair Frank Field said;

"Universal Support is not 'universal', and it hasn’t been offering much in the way of support. The plan now is to offer budgeting advice, but not debt advice, to people who don’t have a budget left after their debt payments.

“DWP must not push one more claimant onto Universal Credit until it can show that it will not push them over the edge. To ensure a truly universal system of support is delivered, the DWP should only move claimants onto Universal Credit when Citizens Advice and other delivery partners have the capacity to offer tailored support to every person making a claim for the benefit."

 

LIBRARIANS FORCED TO HELP WITH UC CLAIMS
Benefits and Work received exclusive proof last week of just how woefully inadequate universal support is.

A librarian contacted us to voice their concern that, after only ‘rudimentary’ training, they are having to support people with UC claims. In the process they are learning personal details about serious issues such as cancer and suicide attempts.

Claimants are referred to the library for ‘digital support’ with UC claims by the DWP, the local authority and citizens advice bureaux.

Sometimes staff have to type details into the form for claimants because, for example, they have had a stroke and are unable to use a keyboard.

As well as being obliged to learn what they felt was highly inappropriate information about claimants, the librarian was also concerned that people were unlikely to get the correct award.

The librarian told us:

“We don’t get to hear the outcome of claimants or get any feedback but I suspect that claims will be given the minimum as not all relevant information can be collected.

“I find it very disturbing.

“I personally have completed around 20 ADS (assisted digital support) trying to be sympathetic to each client and 'trying' to avoid seeing their personal circumstances.

“I really think this is an invasion of someone's privacy.

“However, most people are willing to share their personal business as they are bewildered with the process and in my opinion 'beaten'.

“In our town CAB are actually sending clients to the library.

“On top of all this people don't have the necessary ID to complete their application so are being referred back to the Jobcentre to have their ID verified which is in the next town and incurring additional expense for their travel.

“It's all very worrying.”

We’d be interested to hear from anyone else who provides, or has received, support with a UC claim in a library or other inappropriate setting.

 

HUGE INCREASE IN NUMBER OF £5,000 ESA BACK PAYMENTS
Finally one small item of good news.

The number of incapacity benefit (IB) to ESA transfer claimants who may be entitled to a back-payment has risen from an estimated 70,000 to an estimated 180,000.

The increase in numbers is due to the DWP being forced to make payments all the way back to the date of the move from IB to ESA for affected claimants. In addition, the DWP have discovered a higher level of missed payments than their original sample had suggested.

The average award is expected to be in the region of £5,000.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

 

 Benefits and Work guides covers

Support Group until 2030!
“Thanks to B&W guides my recent ESA review was successful without a medical. As there was no end date on the award notice I rang their office. I was so relieved to hear I’m in the support group until 30/4/2030, by which point I’ll be 62! I’m hoping & praying this is the last time I have to go through the uncertainty of this process. B&W are truly lifesavers!”

 

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PIP award!!
“Many thanks for invaluable help from B&W's, I have just got higher, higher until 2028 no face to face. Such a relief.”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: 27459

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.
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BENEFITS NEWS
MPs condemn universal support
The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has condemned the help given to universal credit (UC) claimants under universal support as “woefully inadequate” in a report released this week.

Crumbs of comfort for UC claimants in today’s budget.
There were some small crumbs of comfort for universal credit (UC) claimants in today’s budget. But there was little extra help for claimants who are unable to work because of sickness or disability.

Some single disabled people more than £300 a month poorer under universal credit
A report produced last week by Citizens Advice (CA) reveals that some single disabled people could be more than £300 a month worse off under UC.

Disabled households to be £6,500 a year worse off
Households with a disabled adult and a disabled child in them are the biggest victims of austerity, set to lose £6,500 a year by 2020/21.

Librarian concerned at inappropriate role in UC claims
Benefits and Work has heard from a librarian who is deeply concerned at the role they are being forced to take in assisting people with universal credit (UC) claims.

DWP considering making claimants wait even longer for the phone to be answered.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has revealed that the DWP is considering making claimants wait even longer for an answer to their calls for help with universal credit.

Astonishing fourfold rise in cost of benefits assessments – over £450 million a year now paid to private companies
The annual cost of assessments for benefits by private sector companies, Atos, Capita Maximus now stands at £449 million a year. This represents a fourfold rise in costs.

Huge increase in number of £5,000 ESA back payments
180,000 ESA claimants who were underpaid when they were transferred from incapacity benefit are expected to receive an average award of £5,000 each in back payments over the next two years.

 

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 Benefits and Work guides coversencouraging, bit of the newsletter.

PIP Result
“Thank you Gordon and the team. I have received my pip decision I got 28 points for daily living and 12 points for moving around and a ongoing award to be reviewed AFTER August 2028. I followed some of the best information online and of course by you Gordon. So when they say sometime AFTER August I really don’t know when I will actually reviewed. I was on higher rates for care and mobility under DLA. Thank you one and all.”

DLA to PIP success twice over
“In 2016 I had to complete the first PIP form for my husband and the whole process nearly brought me to my knees. It was only thanks to the guide and Gordon's sound advice that we had a successful result - Enhanced Care and Enhanced Mobility - Ongoing. I knew at some time I would have to go through the process myself. Happened this year when I was also having to do an ESA review for my husband the dreaded brown envelope arrived telling me I had to change from DLA to PIP. I downloaded the guide once more and read through it and tackled the form again. I cannot thank B&W enough because I got Enhanced Care and Enhanced Mobility - Ongoing - a huge relief.”

PIP success
“I was awarded enhanced for PIP earlier this year and so very thankful to the guides which I spent months highlighting and comparing to pip assessment guide. Thank you so much to whoever writes them… you deserve a medal and to all who input it and manage this website and forum, special thanks.”

PIP Tribunal success
“At medical awarded nil points. Mandatory review no change. At tribunal today, awarded enhanced rate of care…My thanks to gordon, and B&W.”

PIP renewal success
“…I was successful in winning my PIP tribunal appeal and I would just like to give my belated great thanks to Benefits and Work, Gordon and the whole team with all the help and support they provide, I really appreciate it and I am grateful.”

PIP success
“Many thanks to B+W and the fabulous guides..This year I had my Esa review and was successful with this on a paper based review and being kept in the support group.Three months later I have been successful with Pip and enhanced rate on both mobility and care and with a paper based review too and for ten years. It's been a testing time but I followed the guides fro B+W and this reassured me. I scored over 50 points on both. Some of the points were lower than expected on some of the care criteria but i'm delighted with the outcome. It's been a hard year thus far and no one should have to go through this,i'm so glad it's over for now.I was on dla indefinite with High rate care and low rate mobility before.Thanks again,Money well spent with you”

ESA Review success!
“I would like to thank everyone involved with this fantastic site ~ I have received the brown letter today (no phone call)..I have been placed in the Support Group with no assessment ~ I am going to call DWP on Monday to ask when my next review is. I could not have got through the form with out your help so i do thank you ALL. I have been so stressed - The waiting !!! It has taken 7 weeks from when they received my completed form until i had a reply from them, So glad that the form must have been read and all the evidence i supplied had been taken into account. At least i can try & relax a little for now. (until PIP Review) Once again THANK YOU ALL for all of your support”

Positive news thanks to this site
“got the my pip result today.. high rate mobility standard care,,, basically same as i was i was on with DLA... it was my first face to face interview had been granted indefinite DLA 2 yrs ago... so this was all very stressful ... form filled sent assessment all in all took about 5 months.. but with research on here and all the comments it helped me 100%.... it is until 2021... so will go through it all again ... but it is what it is... i hope you get what you deserve.... much love for the moderators for their time and patience”

Good news at last
“Having sent my completed Work Assessment Questionnaire back to them in June I have today after over 3 months of worrying finally got confirmation that I am staying on ESA and still in the Support Group without having to go for a medical. Such a relief. Many thanks Benefit & Works for much needed information on filling in the form but also got help from Citizens Advice who typed it out for me. Would just like to add if it helps anybody else in the future - I was awarded enhanced mobility for my PIP so I sent the DWP copy of my award so do not no if this helped in their decision not to ask me to go for a medical.”

DLA to PIP – fantastic result!
“I cannot thank Benefits and Work enough, for their guidance in filling in the horrendous pip form. (which took me 2 weeks). Just under 10 weeks ago I filled in the PIP forms, I returned them and had to go through a face to face medical examination, shortly afterwards. In my case the people who examined me, were very professional and did treat me with great respect.. Today I have received notification that I have been awarded enhanced care and mobility till 2028. This is a fantastic result-after all of that worry and heartache. I cannot thank you enough..!!!”

Good news – finally put in Support Group
“I am pleased to say that I have been moved from the WRAG to the support group, at least 2 years of not having to make myself more ill by attending job center meetings! The relief is huge. Thank you for the website and forum, and thank you for help and support you provide.”


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: 27459

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