Login FormClose

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 Award success
“I have just opened the dreaded brown envelope which arrived today less than 4 weeks after my home face to face assessment! I have been awarded standard daily living and enhanced mobility and so relieved as this is my first claim ever. I have been suffering ever worsening health conditions but have always felt daunted by the form filling and procedure involved. I followed the instructions given in your guide to the letter and I would like to thank you so much for all this invaluable help. Keep up the good work! My advice to anyone out there who felt as I did is to give it a try, never say never!!!”
Read More Feedback

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 84625
More About Coupons.

 

Dear Reader

In this edition we reveal that you are 3 times more likely to get a PIP home assessment in some parts of the country rather than others.

We have the largely good news that yet another version of the DWP letter telling GPs to stop issuing fit notes has been sent out.

There is the shameful revelation that underpayments of PIP are the highest ever recorded for any benefit – and the DWP are blaming claimants, as always.

And the equally disgraceful news that the DWP unlawfully destroyed a report about their failure to keep claimants safe. It’s another criminal act they have got away with.

Finally, in an effort to inspire others, we’re asking you to tell us how a PIP award has changed your life.

 

PIP HOME ASSESSMENTS
For many claimants one of the worst aspects of a PIP claim is having to endure a very long and painful journey to a distant assessment centre.

However, where you live in the country has a huge effect on whether you are likely to have to undertake such a journey or whether you will be visited at home.

Figures released by the DWP show that if you live in Wales or the Midlands, where Capita carry out assessments, you have around a 50% chance of a home visit.

If you live in the North or South of England or in Scotland, where IAS (formerly Atos) have the PIP contract, the chances drop to about 16%.

There is no logical reason why claimants should be treated so differently, it’s solely about how each company thinks it can best profit from PIP assessments.

 

NEW FIT NOTE LETTER
The DWP have created a new standard letter to GPs to inform them that they should stop issuing fit notes to a given claimant, who has been found capable of work.

Having previously removed all mention of reinstating fit notes if a claimant is appealing the decision, the information has been put back.

The change has only come about after protests both from medical bodies and MPs.

And, as always, the DWP have failed to offer any sort of apology to all those who have suffered because their GP was misled about when to issue fit notes.

 

PIP UNDERPAYMENTS
The national audit office has once again qualified its opinion of the DWP’s accounts, as overpayments and underpayments continue to rise.

The highest level of overpayments is for universal credit, with a startling rate of 8.6% - the highest for any benefit since tax credits in 2003-04. Claimants failing to declare income and earnings correctly was the main cause of overpayments, according to the DWP.

The estimated rates of PIP overpayments rose from 3.1% in 2017-18 to 3.5% in 2018-19.

Meanwhile, PIP underpayments rose from 3.7% to 3.8%. This is the highest level ever recorded for any benefit.

As usual, the DWP have blamed claimants, arguing that the main cause of both overpayments and underpayments is claimants failing to report changes in their condition.

They insist that in 85% of cases it is the claimant who is at fault for underpayments.

But with hundreds of millions a year being saved through underpayments, the DWP is unlikely to try to improve the system anytime soon.

 

UNLAWFUL DESTRUCTION OF REPORT
The DWP unlawfully destroyed a report written by disabled people under a Community Partners initiative.

They created the document after becoming alarmed by the DWP’s failure to safeguard claimants in the 18 jobcentres they were working with.

When Disability News Service (DNS) tried to obtain a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act , the DWP:

ignored requests for as long as they could;

then denied any reports had ever been written;

then handed over some reports, but not the safeguarding one;

then said the report had existed but had been destroyed after 12 months, in keeping with their data protection policy.

However, the 12 months would have run out at least four months after DNS requested a copy, making the destruction entirely illegal.

It is a criminal offence to deliberately destroy documents that are subject to an FoI request in order to avoid disclosing them.

Sadly, if predictably, the Information Commissioner’s Office decided that, although the DWP had clearly destroyed the document unlawfully, there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal prosecution.

So, once again the DWP get away with flouting the law, whilst claimants live in fear of being prosecuted for the most innocent of mistakes.

 

HAS PIP CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Can you help us to inspire people to claim PIP for themselves or, perhaps more importantly, to help other people claim PIP?

Many years ago, we wrote our first guide to claiming DLA.

As part of that process we asked claimants what difference getting DLA had made to their life.

We got answers like these:

‘Since getting DLA my confidence has definitely improved’.

‘DLA pays for me visiting the hairdresser once every six weeks and has made me “rich” enough to be generous, i.e. the odd bunches of flowers for friends’.

‘Getting DLA makes it easier for me to travel a lot more, because I can go by taxi’.

‘Before I got DLA I didn’t have enough to live on, so it has made an enormous difference to my life. I now feel more independent too and life has become less of a struggle’.

We’re currently working on an online training course for would-be moderators for the site.

It will be a hard slog completing the training and we realised it would help if people doing the training had a vivid picture of the difference they could make to other people’s lives, if they help them with a successful claim or appeal.

So, we’d be really grateful if you could tell us, in a sentence or two, what getting PIP means to you.

You can add a comment below the article on the site or drop an email to the address given there.

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: 84625

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
Text of new GP fit note letter published
The DWP have now corrected, at least in part, a misleading letter which deliberately discouraged GPs from issuing fit notes to ESA claimants.

PIP claimants who are 3 times more likely to get a home assessment
The DWP have released figures about the number of PIP home assessments carried by IAS (formerly Atos) and Capita.

Has PIP changed your life? Help us inspire others.
Can you help us to inspire people to claim PIP for themselves or, perhaps more importantly, to help other people claim PIP?

DWP gets away with unlawfully destroying report on failure to safeguard claimants
The DWP unlawfully destroyed a damning report about its failure to safeguard claimants in jobcentres.

PIP underpayments highest ever recorded for any benefit
The level of underpayments of personal independence payment is the highest ever recorded for any benefit.

Further complaint about DWP fake news
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has added its voice to those making a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the DWP’s fake news UC campaign.

 

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 encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

After PIP MR I’ve gone from 2 points to 27
“Despite being on DLA for 20+ years, after ATOS f2f assessment I scored just 2 point out of the possible 108 for PIP benefit. After a wait of almost 13 weeks I got the results of my Mandatory Reconsideration on Monday and I've now scored 27 points and been awarded both mobility and care at the enhanced rate!!! I'm still in a state of shock and can't quite believe what has happened. I knew the chances of being successful at this stage was just 19%, and as I had no additional evidence to give them I didn't hold out much hope of being successful. All I did was say why I disagreed with the original decision. I say "All I did" like it was no big deal but it took me weeks and I ended up with 7 A4 typed pages. And because of the stress of it all I'm now on diazepam and antidepressants. Looking at the points I've now scored in each section I have to say I agree with them all. But although I've now got what I believe I'm entitled to, I have to say I feel extremely lucky to do so. I've read so many shocking and heart-breaking post on this forum I know so many haven't been as lucky as I've been. And it shouldn't feel like luck, but it does. It should feel like justice. Thank you Benefits and Work for producing some brilliant Guides, I couldn't have got here without your guidance and support of knowing I wasn't the only one going through this ghastly process. I just wish everyone could get what they deserve and are entitled to.”

ESA50 success
“Hi, I am posting to say a huge THANK YOU!! I was asked to complete an ESA50 form back in January of this year. I could not have completed it without the help and advice from the B&W guidelines… After 5 weeks of worry and anxiety, today I received the dreaded 'brown envelope' through the letter box and shaking as I opened it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I will remain in the support group!! If I could write a thousand Thank You's to the B&W website it would not be enough to express how grateful I am for the amazing and informative advice, related to completing the ESA50 form…many thanks once again”

Good news!
“Thanks so much for all the advice I've got from this forum. Got a phone call on Monday to say they are not making me go to another tribunal but reinstating my pip at same rate as before. Couldn't believe it until I saw my bank account this morning. After 2 years of being initially found "fit to work" and losing ESA and pip, trying to work, going through the Universal Credit process and almost having a breakdown, I can concentrate once again on trying to feel well. Don't give up anyone, just follow all the brilliant advice on this website. Thanks again Gordon for your advice and help.”

Revised ESA decision after MR
“I received letter today re a revised decision to treat me as having Ltd capability for work. Thank you for all the help I received from the member guides, which helped me to calm down and keep going..”

PIP success
“…awarded standard on both components… mandatory reconsideration did not change award, set appeal on motion Jan 19…got a call from DWP 21st June advising they changed the decision on moving around to enhanced, today I got the full decision and have gone from a 3 year review to an ongoing period…a big thank you again to all the team.”

DLA to PIP mandatory reconsideration success
“Just to share that after being assessed my son got 0 points for daily care and mobility we asked for a mandatory reconsideration and just received the letter. He was awarded enhanced daily care with 15 points and standard mobility with 10 points. Better than expected result. Thanks to the forum for advice and information”

DLA to PIP success
“A massive thankyou to this wonderful group. I could not have done it without your guides and support. From start to finish took 8 weeks. Decision without assessment. I was well prepared with evidence from 6 Consultants, and other health professionals which I gathered together over the last year whilst waiting my turn to migrate. Completing the forms took my husband and I more than a week. I repeatedly checked and checked again using your excellent members guides. Enhanced for both. I had been on DLA mobility high and middle care ‘Indefinite’. Do keep up the good work and to everyone - don’t give up.”

PIP tribunal success
“Thank-you so much for your help. Finally received oral hearing tribunal results for 30th May 2019. Enhanced Mobility and daily living. (letter from courts)..”

Awarded higher rates of PIP
“Great news. I have been awarded both higher rates of PIP ongoing without an assessment thanks mainly to the guides and Forums on this website and a smaller part, the Citizens Advice Bureau.”

ESA success!
“Thanks to the fantastic guides and and advice from moderators on this group, I have just received a confirmation letter from the DWP saying that I have been awarded ESA and in the support group. This is the first time I have applied for ESA and am so relieved”

PIP mobility success
“Just received my enhanced mobility for pip. Three time applied. First time I did nothing was not a member of benefit and work. So I applied again refused so sent of RM. Turned down. Felt I could not put myself through appeal. So applied again refused so I was going to see it through this time so sent of RM.waited 12 week and just got word I was awarded enhanced mobility. Till Feb 2021.thanks for all your advice .I have ppms.thanks again for all your advice.”

 

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: 84625

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