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Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Our fortnightly bulletin, with over 80,000 subscribers, is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Find out what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

ESA Review success
“Just today received my ESA reassessment results, and only after waiting 4 weeks too. Thanks to the incredibly informative advice given by your guides (and a great covering letter by my own GP) I've been I've been kept in the support group and without a face to face either! So thanks to Benefits and work for your great advice as per. I literally don't know what I'd do without you.”
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You can read this newsletter online.
https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3931-24-april-2019-update

 

Dear [fname],

In this edition we reveal that over a third of a million PIP claimants are now subject to only ‘light touch’ reviews.

We also learn that another £1bn benefits scandal may be brewing, as the true cost of the existing ESA debacle is revealed.

The work and pensions committee ask why the government kept a highly critical universal credit report secret for a full 18 months.

And we hear more about the latest casualties of the work capability assessment for ESA. Including the victim of an acid attack forced to attend a tribunal. And the claimant who discharged himself from hospital for a day to attend his appeal, but who has now died.

Plus the DWP’s ‘joke’ response to the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition.

And the derisory payment made to the PIP claimant who was subjected to foul abuse by the DWP.

 

PIP LIGHT TOUCH REVIEWS
Over 375,000 people have so far been given ongoing awards of PIP since 2013, meaning that they have only a light touch review of their award after ten years.

Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, gave a statement earlier this month in which the figures were revealed.

This may seem like the DWP putting claimant welfare first. But the decision on who is subject to an ongoing award is based on avoiding wasting money reviewing claimants where a change in the award is very unlikely.

Nevertheless, in the midst of the many tales of terrible treatment of claimants, it is a welcome exception.

 

ANOTHER BILLION POUND BENEFIT SCANDAL
The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has warned that another billion pound benefits scandal may be on the way, this time linked to universal credit.

The committee has published details of the likely cost of £1bn to put right the errors made when claimants were transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA.

This includes £40 million to cover the cost of 1,200 staff, including 400 new civil servants, solely working on checking for errors in payments to affected claimants.

Now, however, the committee says that:

“ . . . we are already starting to hear about people whose incomes have been slashed because they've been wrongly advised to claim Universal Credit, and there's no way back. If Ministers want to avoid another billion pound scandal, they need to get a grip on this - and fast."

Based on past performance, the only thing the DWP will do is deny there is any problem at all for as long as they can get away with it.

 

UC REPORT KEPT SECRET
The Work and Pensions Committee are also hounding the DWP over the reasons it kept an ‘alarming’ report that was critical of UC secret for 18 months.

The report was completed in November 2017, but its existence was kept secret until this month.

The document was withheld throughout a period when MPs were scrutinising the workings of UC and when the government decided to accelerate the full service roll-out of the benefit.

It was also hidden whilst the government was trying to push through legislation on the managed migration of claimants on ESA and other legacy benefits onto UC.

The committee has written to Amber Rudd demanding to know who saw the report and why its publication was delayed for so long.

 

WCA VICTIMS
A woman who suffered 50% burns to her face and body as the result of an acid attack was awarded zero points at her work capability assessment.

The claimant has been left in pain when standing and sitting, has had to endure repeated reconstructive surgery and lives a very isolated life as a result of the emotional trauma she has endured.

The DWP ignored the medical evidence she provided, so she was forced to attend a tribunal where she was awarded 24 points in the space of a 20 minute hearing.

Her representative said:

“This case should not have been before a tribunal. Already our client is suffering from life-changing burns that have a significant impact on her physical and mental health. The anxiety of appealing the decision and attending a tribunal has been extremely upsetting.”

Another victim of the WCA was Stephen Smith.

In February, photos of the severely ill Smith, who weighed just six stone, made the national press. He had to discharge himself from hospital for the day to attend a tribunal after he failed the WCA.

Smith had COPD, osteoarthritis, an enlarged prostate and used a colostomy bag. At the time he also had pneumonia.

Tragically, it has now been reported that Smith died last week as a result of his illnesses.

A friend of Smith says that he never recovered from the pneumonia he was suffering when he left his hospital bed to attend his appeal hearing.

 

‘JOKE’ RESPONSE TO JUSTICE FOR JODEY PETITION
Jodey Whiting was another victim of the WCA who, tragically, took her own life.

In a newsletter last month we asked you to sign the petition set up by Jodey’s mother calling for an independent inquiry into benefits-related deaths.

The petition has now had over 35,000 signatures and has received a response from the government.

However, the response makes it clear that the government sees no problem with the way that the DWP carries out assessments and that they have ‘no plans to hold an inquiry into deaths of claimants’.

Jodey’s mother has branded the response ‘a joke’, adding:

“They should have practised what they are trying to preach now. They are responsible for Jodey’s death.”

Supporters of the petition now need to get a total of 100,000 signatures before it will be considered for a debate in the House of Commons.

 

DERISORY PAYMENT TO DWP FOUL ABUSE VICTIM
Also in a newsletter last month, we told readers about the foully abusive term used by a DWP decision maker to describe a PIP claimant in a set of appeal papers.

The story subsequently made the national media and was referred to in the House of Commons.

As a result, the DWP have suddenly changed their mind and awarded the claimant PIP without a hearing or any additional evidence being provided.

They have also written to apologise and are considering a ‘consolatory payment’ of up to £250 for the distress caused to the claimant.

Happily, it appears that her representative is unlikely to settle for such a derisory sum and legal action may now follow.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

PIP Appeal Win
“In Dec 2016 I was awarded Standard Rate for both care and mobility after my face to face home review in October 2018 it was reduced to Standard Rate Mobility. Started the MR process which didn't get logged properly so didn't get the result until beginning of March 2019 which was no change. Started the online appeal process and was informed DWP had until 5th April to respond. Received an email on 29th March to say appeal was closed as DWP had ruled on my favour. I was over the moon when the letter came the following week to say I had been awarded both enhanced care and mobility until 2024. I feel it is so wrong what people have to go through to get what they are entitled to though and I would advise people to appeal. Thank you very much for your help.”

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

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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
Acid attack victim forced to endure ESA tribunal
A female victim of an acid attack had to endure the distress of attending a tribunal to get her ESA restored despite having 50% burns to her face and body.

Another billion pound benefits scandal may be on the way
The DWP is heading for another billion pound benefits scandal, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has warned.

Over one third of a million PIP ‘light touch’ awards
More than 375,000 PIP claimants have been given ‘ongoing’ awards of the benefit, meaning that their award is ongoing but will be subject to a ‘light touch’ review after 10 years.

DWP kept UC problems report secret for 18 months
The DWP has been condemned by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee for keeping a report into ‘alarming’ problems with universal credit (UC) secret for 18 months.

ESA claimant who left hospital bed to fight for benefit dies
A seriously ill and emaciated claimant who had to leave his hospital bed in February to argue for his award of ESA to be reinstated has died of his illnesses, it has been revealed.

Derisory response to the Justice for Jodey petition
The DWP have refused to take any further action on claimants’ deaths in response to the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition receiving over 10,000 signatures.

PIP restored to claimant foully insulted by DWP
The DWP has restored a claimant’s PIP award and apologised after she was the subject of foul abuse in a set of appeal papers.

 

GOOD NEWS BY EMAIL AND 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.

“Thanks for all the help and support”
I would just like to provide some positive feedback, a family member of mine was going through the DLA to PIP process and I found the forums and especially the PIP Guide invaluable in helping us. We managed to get enhanced on both Mobility and Care rates.
Thanks for all the help and support it means a lot,
Ben

“Your member guides are wonderful”
Your member guides are wonderful. I have just been awarded enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility for PIP.
When I changed from DLA to PIP, I was awarded no points. I had to go through mandatory reconsideration and then tribunal. The first tribunal did not get my medication right so I was allowed to appeal. The second time I was awarded standard rate for daily living. This was after paying a disability advisor £1200 to help me at both tribunals. I was reviewed 1 year later despite being awarded PIP for 3 years. My condition had changed and using your member guides I achieved success after my assessment which I recorded as well.
Lucy

“so so helpful”
Just heard this morning ( 17 weeks after the medical!) that the DWP have agreed that my niece whom I care for, who has mental health issues, ptsd and autism, has limited capability for work. It’s such a relief to her. It took us 20 hours to fill out the medical form and the medical itself was a terrible experience. But we followed your guides and advice all the way through they were so so helpful. Thank you!
Caroline

“Thank you to you all for your guidance”
I have just had a phone call from the DWP with an offer of PIP to avoid going to court for a full tribunal.
Thank you to you all for your guidance through your website; I thought my situation was hopeless, which was not helping with the symptoms of stress and anxiety that plague me daily. However, with the guidance from your site, I decided not to give up and to keep pushing on.
Thank goodness I did!! No delayed wait for a court date, or stress of a court appearance for me. Thank you again to you all for your guidance.
Alice

THANK YOU All !!!!!!
Would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Benefits and Works website. In November 2017 my son who had just turned 16 and is Autistic was asked to apply for Personal Independence Payment. He had been in receipt of Disabilty Living Allowance since he was diagnosed at 11 years of age. He was receiving the higher rate for the care component and the lower rate for mobility. We filled in the PIP questinare using all the really helpful guides on your websites, which we've have done so for several years when applying for DLA. Our son was asked to attend a face to face assessment at a local medical centre, but we requested a home visit which he was granted. Our son's Autistic Spectrum is his social and communication skills, for which he has a Special Educational Health And Care Plan, which includes 20 hours of additional one to one support with his 6th form education. My wife is our son's appointee, and on the day of the his assessment she told the assessor that he really struggles to communicate with people he is unfamiliar with and asked her is she could answer the question on her son's behalf, but the assessor insisted that our son answer the questions himself. He really struggled to answer the questions and as we tried to help our son she very rudely told us not to speak and for our son to answer all the questions on his own. The 1st three questions were, do you have a driving licence ? Do you own a car ? Are you taking driving lessons ? Our son was 16 years of age and was clearly unable to do any of these ? Which we pointed out to her, she told us not talk for our son and let him answer the question himself. She was a very cold person who lacked any compation or empathy. We received the award letter around 3 weeks later informing us that our son was only being awarded the standard rate of daily living and nothing for the Mobility component of PIP. We reqested a copy of the PIP assessment which contained many lies, including that our son had no problems communicating during the assessment. We asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration which was unsuccessful, and requested an a appeal at a tribunal which was held this week, some 13 months since we applied for Personal Independence payment. We didn't take our son to the hearing as he couldn't and wouldn't be able to attend such a daunting prosses. As our son's appointee my wife was asked many questions by the Judge, Doctor and Didsabilty Assessor regarding his daily life. Also attending the tribunal was a representative from the DWP, who at the end of the hearing was asked if he wanted to ask any questions, and astonishingly his reply was, and I quote ! I'd like to appolagise on behalf of the DWP, on this occasion we got it wrong ? The Judge asked us to leave the court whilst they made a decision. Around 10 minutes later we were called back into the courtroom, the Judge told us that our appeal had been successful and that she was awarding our son Enhanced Daily Living and Enhanced Mobility for 4 years. It's been a long and draining prosses to fight and win against such a cruel system, but we couldn't have gone this far without the fantastic help and support of the Benefit and Works website and all the team involved with it,THANK YOU All !!!!!!
Adam

Thank you – ESA Review
“Thank you used your guides for ESA review. My son has been put in the support group with no finish date. Keeping the letter in a safe place just in case. I have been dreading him having to have a face to face interview as he has complex needs. With your help it went through just on the paper work. Thank you for all your help.”

ESA Renewal – thank you
“Just let you know happened this morning. Checked by bank account on line I am ESA IR and sent my renewal form 27 Feb. To my dismay seen I paid JSA quick payment on Fri my heart sank no they decided that I am not entitled to ESA I R anymore. So I phoned the DWP. Well seems that if they pay you quick payment it ALWAYS goes under JSA as ref not ESA. They said that this happens as it did 3 months ago so they don't worry still I ESA IR. Then he said you have been placed in the ESA I R last Wednesday for 2 years I nearly fell off my chair.
I thought it was a April fool's joke. A letter will be sent out in the next 7 days. So so thankful to Gordon and the guides without them would be lost thank you again…Thanks Gordon again and the guides”


Thank you B&W
“I have been a lurking member since October last year and have found this site and the contributions of others so helpful for my DLA to PIP assessment, so thank you to all.”

Success
“I'd like to share my recent success with being awarded PIP straight after the assessment without needing to appeal. This week i was also awarded esa LCWRA support group without being asked to go for an assessment. My care co ordinator put in extenuating circumstances and that seemingly was accepted . Im aware that this is not everyone's story and i really didn't expect it to be mine. What has been such a huge factor is not going it alone. I used a charity support agency , my union , CAB and of course this forum . The document for applying for esa with mental health problems was a key player in being awarded so i would like to give huge thanks to the team here at B&W .. its links to PIP and being aware that ESA may share info with them was a real eye opener . Ill.continue to use this forum and keep an eye out if i can be helpful to others .”

PIP Review success
“Thank you Gordon and B&W for your help…I was previously assessed for PIP in 2012 scoring 12 points for care and 12 points for Moving around for a 3 year period. In September 2018 I received the review papers to be received by DWP by 5 October 2018, I stated no changes and did not have any new medical evidence... Today I received the decision…no change stated from 12 points for each in 2012 to be reviewed by 2019 to 16 points for care and 24 points mobility and the best news is that it's now an on going award. Just shows that opinions and advice from assessors is as varied as each human being. Hope I get some piece now for the next 10 years when I'll be 70. Thanks again to you all.”



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: 24437

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

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