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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.

DLA to PIP success
“Fabulous news! After all the messing about. DWP loosing completed claim forms etc. We had homebased F2F. Despite my worries and it lasting 3 hours by which time my son was beyond fatigued and in agony. I got his report back with claim award. He has high rate daily care and high rate mobility for ongoing award. To say I am relieved it’s all over is an understatement! I cannot Thank You all enough at BAW. Your guides helped me with his claim for DLA which with supporting evidence he had an indefinite award with high rate in all elements. Again your help and advice has been outstanding and I cannot ever put into words my appreciation… Your hard work in bringing this service is more than appreciated. Many Thanks”
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Dear Reader,

There’s a real mixture of good news and bad news in this edition.

On the positive side, we can reveal that very nearly three quarters of PIP and ESA claimants are now winning their appeals.

And guidance has now been issued to local authorities to ensure they open up the Blue Badge scheme to people with hidden disabilities at the end of October.

On the downside, there’s been a significant fall in PIP success rates both for new claims and DLA to PIP transfers.

And the wait for ESA mandatory reconsideration decisions is growing increasingly long.

Finally, definitely good news – the first edition of Mark Perlic’s PIP caselaw pack is now available and, as a Benefits and Work reader, you can get a massive 50% discount.

 

ALMOST THREE QUARTERS OF PIP AND ESA CLAIMANTS WIN THEIR APPEALS
The success rate for PIP and ESA claimants appealing to a tribunal has risen again in the latest statistics published by the Tribunals Service.

An extraordinary 74% of claimants of both benefits won their appeals in the three months to March 2019.

For DLA, the success rate is now 66% and for UC 63%.

The figures represents a 3% rise for PIP wins from the same period last year and a four % rise for ESA.

The advantages of going on to appeal if your mandatory reconsideration (MR) is turned down are clear.

And with PIP MR success rates at just 18%, there is definitely a very strong chance you will be turned down.

So, it’s regrettable that both PIP and ESA appeal numbers are falling even as success rates rise.

ESA appeals are down by 39% from a year ago, whilst PIP appeals are down by 9%.

If you come across anyone who thinks that appealing is a waste of time, please do put them straight.

 

BLUE BADGE FOR PEOPLE WITH HIDDEN DISABILITIES
New guidance has now been issued to local authorities on extending the blue badge scheme to people with hidden disabilities such as dementia, autism and severe anxiety.

Changes in the regulations will mean automatic eligibility for any claimant who scores 10 points in relation to the “planning and following journeys” activity on the grounds that they cannot undertake any journey because it would cause them overwhelming psychological distress.

But many other people with mental health conditions may also be eligible when the new rules come into force on 30 August.

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said:

“The changes will make a huge difference to thousands of autistic people and their families across England – helping them to go out in the way many others take for granted.

“Just leaving the house is incredibly difficult for many autistic people – and involves detailed preparation. Some autistic people have no concept of the dangers of the road while others are so anxious about plans going wrong, like not being able to find a parking space, that they don’t go out at all. Having a Blue Badge will be life-changing and help many to reduce loneliness and isolation.”

There are currently around 2.35 million blue badges in the UK. The new criteria are expected to considerably increase this number.

 

PIP CLAIM SUCCESS RATES FALL
The latest DWP statistics show a sudden fall in the success rate for new PIP claims and for DLA to PIP reassessments.

Overall, since the benefit was introduced, the success rate for new PIP claims stands at 42%.

However, for both March and April 2019 - the most recent months for which figures are available – the success rate has fallen to just 34%. This means that only just over one third of new PIP claimants get any award at all.

There is bad news for DLA to PIP reassessments as well.

The award rate for reassessments is 71% since the the first decisions were made in January 2014.

But in March of this year the success rate was just 60% and in April it had dropped to 56%.

The DWP have offered no explanation for such a marked fall in success rates.

We’ll keep readers posted as to whether this is a blip or a downward trend that needs explaining.

 

LONG WAIT FOR PIP MR DECISIONS
The news on PIP appeals may be good, but claimants are having to wait an increasingly long time to get to a hearing.

According to the latest statistics released by the DWP, the average wait for a PIP mandatory reconsideration decision had climbed to 51 days by April of this year.

For the same period last year the waiting time was 37 days.

Add to this the fact that the average waiting time for a tribunal is now 30 weeks, from the date the appeal is lodged, and it’s clear that justice is being shamefully delayed for PIP claimants.

 

50% OFF PIP CASELAW PACK
Back in April we told readers about the Mark Perlic’s PIP caselaw pack, in advance of publication.

Well it’s out now and it’s getting positive reviews both from Benefits and Work readers and from professionals:

“absolutely brilliant” said a mother who is helping her son appeal against the decision which refused him PIP when he formerly got Disability Living Allowance for both his care and mobility needs;

“unbelievably detailed content, and delivered so quickly” said a father who was seeking to put together a letter of mandatory reconsideration to obtain PIP for his daughter;

“This book deserves a wide audience and should be on the desk of every advice worker…It is described as the ‘First edition’. It is to be hoped that there will be many more to follow.” Hugh Howard - Regional Tribunal Judge

We’re delighted to say that Mark is offering a massive 50% discount exclusively to Benefits and Work readers, for both the printed edition and the USB stick.

And we just want to add that we don’t get a penny in commission or any other sort of payment for promoting the pack – we do it because we think it’s brilliant.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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: 74372

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
50% off PIP caselaw pack - out now
Benefits and Work readers are being offered a 50% discount on the hugely comprehensive, 465 page PIP caselaw pack, which is now available in print and on USB stick.

New guidance on extending blue badge to people with hidden disabilities
New guidance has been issued to local authorities requiring them to extend eligibility to the blue badge scheme to people with hidden disabilities from 30 August 2019.

Almost three quarters of PIP and ESA claimants win their appeals
The percentage of claimants winning their PIP and ESA appeal tribunals has risen to 74%, according to the latest figures released by the Tribunals Service.

Increasingly long wait for PIP MR decisions
Claimants are having to wait an average of over 7 weeks for a PIP mandatory reconsideration decision, which in the vast majority of cases will go against them.

Major fall in PIP success rates, now only 1 in 3 chance for new claims
DWP statistics released this week reveal a dramatic fall in the success rate for PIP claims both for new claimants and for DLA to PIP reassessments.

EHRC asked to investigate DWP deaths cover-up
Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has asked the EHRC to investigate the possible cover-up by the DWP of documents relating to the deaths of claimants, Disability News Service (DNS) has revealed.

 

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.

Thank you
“Got my decision letter today and have been successful. It is for an ‘an ongoing period’, with a review in 2029. My thanks to you Gordon and to B and W for the guides.”

From DLA to PIP
“I just want to say thank you, I’ve been awarded PIP for ten years, I was on DLA , thanks to benefits and works and all the help and information available. This site is well worth every penny of the subscription. I have been awarded a higher rate, it’s fantastic.”

Successful PIP appeal
“I've been in receipt of enhanced rate care and mobility pip for around 5 years and before that I got high rate DLA. I got a renewal form in August 2018 and had a face to face interview in November 2018. I got my decision letter in January and I had only been awarded low rate care, no mobility award, sent mandatory reconsideration and got the same result. It made absolutely no sense to me as my conditions haven't improved, nor are they expected to and I had supplied extensive medical reports and supporting information. I sent in the appeal form around 5 weeks ago and requested a paper hearing as I know I wouldn't manage an oral hearing. On Thursday last week I received a letter from the appeals service saying that the dwp had changed my award in my favour and the appeal would not continue. I'm not good on the phone so wasn't able to call dwp but I got a letter from them on Saturday to say I'd been awarded enhanced rate for both components, I can't tell you how relieved I am! Thank you for the excellent guides which I've used for years now.”

PIP ongoing award
“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 appeal 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”

Thank you
“…thank you. Your guides have been invaluable to me and my quality of life so I’m well on my way through the benefits minefield . . . I’ve just been told earlier today via the UC journal system that I’ve got the LCWRA, not sure of all the details yet but that makes both enhanced sections of PIP for an indefinite period and the LCWRA for however long that’s going to be.
It’s such a relief and the website has helped tremendously so thank you all. You provide a very valuable service. ”

“Fantastic guides”
“I got enhanced care and mobility early in the year for PIP as an Ongoing Award after my face to face and now in April 2019 again into the SG for ESA with no face to face assessment. I spent plenty of time probably 2 months going over 1 descriptor every couple of days reading the relevant part of the guides and comparing them to the PIP assessment guides and the Maximus WCA assessment guide.Word by word, then sentence and paragraph I highlighted the B&W guides and pulled out the important facts that applied to me and my health, and which descriptor and point I felt my health was affected. I didn't find the ESA easy at all so it took me longer to understand but I did it the same way I'd done the PIP form prior. I could not have done this without those guides and it's invaluable to people claiming these life saving benefits but time must be taken to study and get to know the descriptors which I'd say I spent 2 to 3 months doing.
It's disgusting at time of ill health and disability I had to sit for hours but I knew if there was any chance I had to do this and it's thankfully paid off.
Thank you again Gordon and all the team so very much.”
Sophie

“Thank you so much”
“I want to thank you so much for all the most helpful information and advice you provided me as a member of your website.As appointee I applied in May 2018 for transfer from DLA to PIP for my daughter. (On DLA she was awarded middle rate for Daily Living and Lower Rate for Mobility. She suffers from daily extreme social anxiety, daily migraines and extreme sensitivities and fatigue.) In June the PIP consultation with ATOS resulted in her losing all of her support, and being awarded zero points. This was upheld at Mandatory Reconsideration. Both reports were riddled with lies, omissions and wrong conclusions and this made me determined to appeal. Just 2 days ago our appeal was heard (we had no representative) and the panel was obviously appalled at the way the system had treated my daughter and she won her appeal. She moved from zero points to 22 points and was awarded enhanced rate for Daily Living and standard rate for Mobility. I would encourage all who are misjudged at the PIP during the PIP application to subscribe to your website, and to appeal.
Thank you so much.”
Willow

“Your guides were invaluable”
“I am pleased to let you know that my brother-in-law has received a letter from the DWP confirming that he has been placed in the support group and his weekly amount also includes extra money because he is severely disabled and the disability income guarantee.
He had been on income support for many years and the prospect of having to attend a Work Capability Assessment weighed heavily on him. Your guides were invaluable when completing the ESA50 form and preparing for the assessment. They helped me in supporting him by providing the relevant focus in explaining and writing about his situation.”
Glenn

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: 74372

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