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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.

PIP appeal success
“Just to let members know, DWP refused PIP for my daughter and also refused mandatory reconsideration...she asked for appeal, low and behold today they have looked again at their decision and granted standard care...so no appeal. What a result, thanks for all the help I found in your guidance notes. A victory ...”
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Dear Reader,

In this edition we highlight the DWP’s promise that most new PIP claimants nearing state pension age will receive an ongoing award with just a light-touch review after 10 years.

We also pass on a warning. Claimants getting help with a UC claim from Citizen’s Advice may lose out as a result.

We reveal the latest PIP statistics, which show that over half of DLA to PIP mobility claimants have lost some or all of their award.

And we disclose the shameful fact that one in five PIP assessment reports are either unacceptable or have to be altered.

 

NEW ALMOST-PENSIONER PIP CLAIMANTS TO GET 10 YEAR AWARDS
There is a real irony in the fact that the biggest justification for introducing PIP was the allegation by the government that many DLA claimants got the benefit for life, without their eligibility ever being checked again.

Under PIP, it was claimed, recipients awards would be regularly and rigorously checked.

Bu just a few years in, the DWP is being forced to find excuses for doing away with the regular checks on an increasing number of claimants, because their conditions are only likely to get worse.

It turns out, frequent reassessment leads to bad publicity for the DWP.

The recent case in the national media of the paralysed, terminally ill claimant fighting to highlight previous broken reassessment promises is a cruel example of the pointlessness of many such checks.

More importantly from the DWP’s point of view, reassessments cost a lot amount of money and don’t appear to lead to savings in awards.

So, the government has announced that from 31 May, new PIP claimants whose review would have been scheduled for after they reached State Pension age will instead receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at 10 years.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

“We are determined to improve our support for disabled people, and stopping needless PIP reviews for pensioners is the right thing to do.

“This step means new claimants to PIP who reach State Pension age before their review is due won’t have one unless they tell us their needs have changed, and the next step is to bring this in for all pensioners.”

The DWP also announced that the 10 year light touch review will be extended to existing PIP claimants above State Pension age in the coming months.

The decision came too late to help the terminally ill claimant mentioned above, but many others will benefit.

It will also not mean, as some had hoped, that current DLA claimants waiting to be ‘invited’ to apply for PIP will now be spared if they are at or near retirement age. As before, only those who were 65 or over on 8 April 2013 will not eventually be instructed to apply for PIP instead.

 

UC CLAIMANTS RISK LOSING OUT WHEN HELPED BY CITIZENS ADVICE
Scottish MSP’s have raised fears that claimants who seek help from Citizens Advice to make a claim for universal credit (UC) risk losing out, because their date of claim will not be protected.

Glasgow City Council has warned of further ways in which claimants are ‘genuinely being put at risk’ because of the terms of the contract between Citizens Advice and the DWP.

Until 31 March support with UC was provided by local authorities, often through libraries.

People who went to their local library for help would have their UC claim dated from the day they first went for support, even if all the necessary information was not provided until a later date.

However, under the contract negotiated between Citizens Advice and the DWP, the claim is only dated from the day it is received by the DWP.

Claimants who are unable to provide all the necessary information on the day can still have their date of claim protected, but only if they make a separate trip to a Jobcentre to do so. In Glasgow six of the local jobcentres have been closed by the DWP in order to cut costs.

Around 20% of claimants in Glasgow need a second visit to complete their claim. The figure for the rest of the UK is likely to be similar.

MSP Bob Doris argued:

“The removal of this financial safeguard for some of my most vulnerable constituents is alarming and unacceptable.

“Glasgow City Council has said 200 Glaswegians will miss out every month because of this. Flaws in the Universal Credit system require to be fixed not made worse for the poorest in society.

“The UK Government needs to quickly reverse this cash grab . . .”

Sandra McDermott, from Glasgow City Council, warned of other ways in which the support from Citizens Advice does not match that previously provided by local authorities.

This includes the removal of funding for budgeting advice and the fact that Citizens Advice are only funded to help set up a claim. They are not paid to keep it running afterwards, as local authorities were, under their contract.

McDermott warned:

“Therefore, claimants are genuinely being put at risk, both now and in the future.”

 

OVER HALF OF DLA TO PIP MOBILITY CLAIMANTS LOSE OUT
Over half of claimants who are getting the mobility component of DLA lose it entirely, or have it reduced, when they are forced onto PIP.

The proportion of claimants losing out was revealed in figures released this month by Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people.

According to the statistics, 39% of DLA to PIP mobility claimants lost their whole mobility award.

A further 13% had their award reduced.

37% were given the same level of mobility

Just 12% had their mobility award increased

The figures do not take into account the result of mandatory reconsiderations or appeals.

 

ALMOST 1 IN 5 PIP REPORTS UNACCEPTABLE OR HAVE TO BE ALTERED
Almost 1 in 5 PIP reports created by Independent Assessment Services (IAS, formerly Atos) were either unacceptable or were only acceptable after changes had been made to them. The shameful figures were released this month by Justin Tomlinson.

A shocking 19.4% of IAS PIP reports which were audited were found to be either ‘Unacceptable’ or only ‘Acceptable with amendments’.

A further 17% were acceptable but required the health assessor to be given feedback about aspects of their report.

That such a high proportion of reports are of such poor quality six years after PIP was introduced is a matter a matter of enormous concern, especially to claimants who are likely to lose out because of sub-standard assessments.

It’s another reason why the drive to reduce the number of reassessments is very good news indeed for claimants.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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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: 25458

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
Terminally ill claimant fights to raise awareness of broken reassessment promise
A claimant with only months to live who received a PIP review letter has vowed to fight to raise awareness of the unfairness of the system.

Charity complains to ASA about DWP fake news
Anti-poverty charity Z2K have made an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the DWP’s taxpayer funded fake news campaign.

New almost-pensioner PIP claimants to get 10 year awards
New PIP claimants whose review would have been scheduled after they had reached State Pension age will instead receive an ongoing award.

UC claimants risk losing out when helped by Citizens Advice
Claimants who seek help from Citizens Advice to make a claim for UC risk losing out because their date of claim will not be protected.

Over half of DLA to PIP mobility claimants lose out
Over half of claimants who are getting the mobility component of DLA lose it entirely or have it reduced when they are forced onto PIP.

Almost 1 in 5 PIP reports unacceptable or have to be altered
Almost 1 in 5 PIP reports created by Independent Assessment Services (IAS, formerly Atos) were either unacceptable or were only acceptable after changes had been made to them.

 

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.

PIP Result
“…At age 65 I received a letter advising my DLA was ending and if I wanted to, I should apply for PIP. I duly phoned and started the PIP application process. The forms arrived and after examination I decided I needed expert help in compiling/responding to the questions. I found the benefits and work web site excellent in advising on how to present accurately my case to the DWP. After joining and studying the guides, I completed said documents, attaching appropriate medical evidence and as a backstop approached age concern, who reviewed Everything. My medical assessment was arranged and advised for a home visit, the assessor was courteous, professional, thorough, friendly, open as to the process. 5 weeks of anxious waiting I received a PIP award. Without this sites guidelines plus age concern who also use the excellent guides from here, I am in no doubt my DLA TO PIP would of been horrendous. It’s all about presentation of evidence. Thanks Benefit and Work for your excellent guides and advise”

Thank you Gordon
“I don't not if you remember but a couple of weeks ago I asked for some advice regarding my assessment report that I had received. On the report I scored 8 for mobility and 10 for daily living. I have been on DLA high in both for 13 years. I was not happy with the report and I asked you whether I could write in regarding my concerns about the report before a decision was made and the fact they had recommended a review in a year because of recent shoulder surgery. You advised me yes and how to word the opening of the letter.I knew from the pip criteria that I would never get the enhanced in mobility as it's different criteria from the DLA but I felt I was entitled to enhanced in daily living.
Anyway the dreaded brown letter arrived and the assessor changed her report and scored me 13 points for daily living so I got enhanced in daily living and standard for mobility. I have also been given the award until 2023. So they definitely did take note of my letter.
Thank you once again.”

Thanks all and Gordon
“Well after nearly a year I have received a letter out of the blue that my pip has changed to the ongoing award, I was starting to prep to re appall as I was only awarded 2years prior after fighting an appeal and getting the enhanced I now have been given the 10years award I Deserve, thanks again”

Ongoing PIP award with no review
“My PIP award was due for renewal in June 2020 so was expecting the renewal forms shortly (one year early). The brown envelope arrived this morning and I was expecting to be told the review forms would be arriving soon. Couldn't believe what I was reading, had to keep reading over and over. The DWP say that they have looked at my PIP award again and decided that I am entitled to enhanced care and enhanced mobility for an ONGOING period. No forms to fill in, no stress of a face to face assessment. I turned 65 years of age earlier this year so maybe the promise of not making pensioners go through assessents has finally started. I can't quite believe it, I had been so stressed thinking about it. After a dreadful year health wise at least now I don't have the worry of a review hopefully for a long time.”

PIP appeal success
“I went with my friend to her pip appeal as her rep I was armed with all the advice from from your site & ready to go, As soon we walked in the judge said you have won the mobility award, then afer a few questions from the DWP rep the jugde decided to award my friend the daily living award as well, both were at the enhanced rate, Just wanted to thank you for the tools & they gave me the confidence that if needed I would have achieved the same result”

ESA success
“I'd like to send huge thanks to Gordon and B&W for the excellent guides and advice on the site. I'm delighted to say that family member has been placed in support group with no F2F. It has taken 8 weeks from sending back ESA50 to receiving the decision letter (ESA72SC). The decision letter states “we won’t ask you to go for another assessment unless there is a change in your health condition”... Once again, many thanks and best wishes to everyone.”

Blue Badge success
“Hi Everybody, Just a note about my experience. I got my current blue badge because I was on DLA higher rate. It expired on 22nd April 2019. I did not get enough PIP points last November, but apparently I could carry on using my BB until it ran out..I thought it would be a waste of effort applying. But my PIP tribunal was unlikely to happen before December 2019 .. So I had to give it a go as my BB gets used every time I go out. My local council (Harrow) needs 3 months to process a BB application if you are not automatically eligible…I filled in the council form using my PIP information and evidence. On the morning I was meant to be assessed, the Assessor phoned me up to say that I did not need to come in as I obviously qualified and that she was awarding me my BB immediately. I cried with relief… Apparently the council can choose to desk check an application rather than send it for assessment. They have their own points system and if you "pass" you get a BB…Anyhow, I learned the following.
1. GIVE IT A GO - YOU NOTHING TO LOSE.
2. DON'T BE SHY - PILE ON THE EVIDENCE.
Many thanks to this website for being so encouraging.”

“just want to express our thanks for so much useful information”
“Just want to thank the team for all their advice for claiming PIP and ESA for my daughter. She has been in receipt of DLA/PIP for 20 years now and was awarded the enhanced rate for daily living and the standard rate for mobility at her last assessment in 2015. Having had to reapply in 2018, DWP decided not to award her anything at all! We went through with the Mandatory Reconsideration, but was refused again, so we started the tribunal appeal with a council member to represent us. All this has taken many hours and great stress and anxiety and my daughter has been very distressed at the thought of the appeal process. During all this, my daughter has had to go through the face-to-face assessment with the ESA but fortunately they saw how distressed she was and have moved her from the WRAG to the Support group. Consequently, PIP has since been on the phone to us and have offered to change their previous result of 'nothing' to the 2015 payment and have cancelled the appeal application. So, we are both delighted and just want to express our thanks for so much useful information which has helped enormously in completing all the forms.”
Molly

“Thank you so much”
“Thank you so much for posting useful information on your site. Today I won my PIP court appeal and had my higher rate mobility element restored.
The ATOS assessor, who was an occupational therapist who knew nothing about Sarcoidosis had reduced this element of my benefit and said I was fitter than I was ten years ago. This despite reports from two of the leading specialists in the UK explaining how my condition had worsened.
The Judge, Doctor and an Assessor who held my court case today were left laughing at some of the descriptions I gave compared to the decision. That says it all really. My advice to anyone who has their benefits cut or refused is to never give up and to read your site "cover to cover" and ask their Consultant to supply as much medical evidence as possible so that the individual can get exactly what they are legally entitled to.
Many thanks again”
Maria

“a sincere thank you for the help”
“I’ve been meaning to contact you for some time. Just to say a sincere thank you for the help your site provided, when I made a successful claim for my PIP. In addition, due to his disability, I also helped a friend submit his successful claim for PIP. Again, your site was essential.
Many thanks for your help.”
James

“a massive thank you”
“Just thought I'd let you know as your guides played an invaluable part in my PIP claim that I was awarded Enhanced Rate for both components for an ongoing period.
Without the B&W site I doubt that I'd have received what I got so a massive thank you for all you do and have done and continue to do for disabled people.”
Pete

“I still can’t believe it”
“In December, I had an assessor visit my home for my Pip interview. I have epilepsy, with related memory issues, which mean that I cannot be left to prepare or cook any meals, amongst other things. My family have banned me from the kitchen after I set fire to two dishes on the stove. The assessor seemed to understand my issues, but when I received the review, I discovered that they had rejected my claim for living assistance, but given me the enhanced rate for mobility.
There were several errors on the report, but what was most shocking was where the assessor’s report had been overruled by a ‘senior nurse’ who had never met me. We appealed immediately and we studied the guides intently.
We based a lot of the appeal on The Upper Tribunal Ruling that was recommended in the guides. Unfortunately, The stress did contribute to my having a seizure and I fell into a radiator, leaving me with a broken nose and heavy swelling on my cheekbone and bruising on most of my face. Even the doctor said the bruising was impressive! We took photographs of my injuries and submitted them with a letter to illustrate why the tribunal’s ruling was more applicable than the 50% ruling that was usually used by Pip assessors.
My husband is a retired health and safety inspector and fire risk assessor and he used his knowledge to highlight and challenge the assessor’s ability to conduct a risk assessment. We submitted the form and waited.
I didn’t expect a positive outcome, especially when week after week went by. Last week, we came home to find the envelope waiting for me. I opened it and much to my shock the claim had been reassessed and I’d been given the enhanced rate for living for three years! I still can’t believe it. I’ve gone from lower rate mobility and standard rate living on my disability living allowance to enhanced rates on both.
I don’t think I would have got either component without the guides available here. I’m so grateful for all the advice and seeing the encouraging and positive messages posted. Thank you. To anyone going through this nightmare, don’t give up. Keep fighting.”
Eva

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: 25458

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