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PIP award
“After waiting for 9 weeks the brown envelope comes through the door. i sat looking at it for a while and then ripped it open. Yes yes yes i got enhanced on both mobility and care. Being checked again in 2029 what a great birthday present. . . . I also got my esa a few months before i started this claim. I cant thank this site enough for all the help and advice.”

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Dear Reader

In this edition we highlight new guidance from the DWP which should improve the chances of a PIP award for people who experience chronic pain but do not use strong painkillers.

And, even though there is no date yet for a general election, we look at the start of an avalanche of new benefits policies and promises.

First up, Labour are pledging to abolish universal credit, scrap sanctions and axe the bedroom tax.

They are even offering to take us back to the future, by doing away with the DWP and reintroducing the DSS.

Plus they are planning to fund 200 community lawyers and a network of law centres.

The Tories, meanwhile are in a bidding war with Labour over who can offer the biggest increase in the national living wage.

But we suspect that the new work and pensions secretary’s glorious undertaking to “continue to improve universal credit” is going to be less of a vote winner.

 

POSITIVE PIP GUIDANCE ON CHRONIC PAIN

This week the DWP updated their guidance to health professionals carrying out PIP assessments.

It contains a positive change for claimants who have to live with chronic pain.

Up until now, health professionals have been free to make the lazy assumption that claimants who are not prescribed strong painkillers can’t be in much pain.

So, any claims that pain limits their ability to carry out activities can be ignored.

However, the new guidance tells them that “the level of analgesia used does not necessarily correlate with the level of pain.”

The guidance points out that GPs are encouraged not to prescribe strong painkillers for long-term pain because of the harm they can do the patient.

In addition, some patients may be intolerant to analgesics or they may be using other methods of controlling pain.

Health professionals are told that instead of relying solely on the amount of medication as evidence, they should expect the claimant to be able to describe:

  • the location,
  • type,
  • severity and
  • variability

of the pain they experience and the impact it has on their daily life.

So, as always, it’s vital that you give as much detailed evidence as possible about how your condition affects you.

But, provided you do so, the result should be a better chance of getting the correct award without having to go to an appeal tribunal.

 

AN END TO UNIVERSAL CREDIT, SANCTIONS AND THE DWP
Labour are promising sweeping changes to the benefits system if they win an election.

Though, at the moment, it is not at all clear how they would achieve their most headline grabbing offer, the killing-off of universal credit

As the Institute for Fiscal Studies pointed out, so far the details of their proposals do not “amount to anything close to a scrapping of universal credit”.

Nevertheless, the clear undertakings they have given would improve the lot of many claimants.

They include:

  • Scrapping the two child limit, the benefit cap and the bedroom tax
  • Ending benefits sanctions
  • Removing the 5 week wait for a first payment of UC and making an interim payment after two weeks
  • Ending the requirement to claim UC online
  • Hiring an extra 5,000 advisers to help people unable to make an online UC claim
  • Abolishing the DWP and replacing it with a Department for Social Security

For our (very much) younger readers, the DSS was the former name of the DWP until it was rebranded in 2001 by Blair’s Labour government.

So reintroducing the DSS would be a step back in time and could well amount to nothing but a nostalgic PR exercise.

But if the next government genuinely adopted the ethos set out by Margaret Greenwood, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions of “a social security system designed to end poverty, based on principles of dignity and universalism”, then that might actually make a difference.

Here at Benefits and Work, however, we won’t be holding our breath.

 

COMMUNITY LAWYERS AND LAW CENTRES
Labour’s proposal to fund 200 community lawyers and a network of law centres is one that few claimants would find fault with.

Except perhaps to argue that an awful lot more than 200 lawyers are needed.

But it would be a welcome move away from the current policy of making it almost impossible for most claimants to get timely, face-to-face help with their claims and appeals.

Just as importantly, it is very often advisers taking individual cases to the upper tribunal that result in changes to the law. These in turn can help many thousands of other claimants get the benefits they are entitled to.

So, even 200 new lawyers could make a serious difference.

 

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE BIDDING WAR
Labour and the Tories appear to be involved in a national minimum wage price war as an election draws nearer.

The Tories have now announced a target of raising the national living wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024 and reducing the age limit for eligibility from 25 down to 21.

Labour, however, have described the plan as a “pathetic attempt at catch-up” by the Conservatives.

They point out that Labour’s 2017 manifesto promised a national living wage of at least £10 an hour for all workers over 16 by 2020.

By 2024 that would be worth £10.81.

Either way, it’s a small crumb of potentially good news for those on the lowest pay.

 

TORIES PLEDGE TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE UC
We are tempted to refer to the latest secretary of state for work and pensions simply as [insert name here].

The chances of Therese Coffey still being in post in a few months’ time, whoever wins the election, are pretty slim.

And the chances of her making any difference to anything whilst in post are probably even slimmer.

Her claim that:

“Universal Credit provides a safeguard for the most vulnerable in our society. It supports strivers, who are not content living a life on welfare.”

doesn’t suggest that she is amongst the most insightful or honest occupiers of the post.

Whilst her big offer to voters:

“To continue to improve Universal Credit to ensure people get the money they need in a timely manner, are helped into work, and onto an escalator up to better work.”

is as uninspiring as it is unlikely to be fulfilled.

Perhaps most bizarre of all is her announcement of a:

“£4 million package to support people to find not just any job, but that dream job.”

If your dream job is to be paid huge amounts of money to make entirely meaningless promises, mixed with offensive stereotypes, to a packed conference hall, then we are really sorry.

Therese got there before you

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

ESA Support Group without F2F
“Completed a reassessment for ESA SUPPORT GROUP and was waiting for a medical
appointment to come through for a face to face. And this morning I received a letter to say I had been placed in the support group ( no medical ). Spent hours filling out the form with help from your guides , thank you so much”


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: 37284

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
Tories vow to improve universal credit
Therese Coffey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, told the Conservative Party conference today that she will work to improve universal credit, in stark contrast to Labour’s undertaking to abolish the benefit.

Updated PIP guidance should improve chances for claimants with chronic pain
Updated guidance issued to PIP health professionals (HPs) today should improve the chances of success for claimants who are managing chronic pain whilst trying to avoid becoming dependent on painkillers or who have other reasons for using only limited amounts of painkillers.

Conservatives to raise national living wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024
The Conservative Party has announced a target of raising the national living wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024 and reducing the age limit for eligibility from 25 down to 21.

Labour would fund 200 community lawyers and network of People’s Law Centres
The Labour Party would fund 200 new community lawyers and a network of People’s Law Centres if they won power at the next election.

Labour would scrap universal credit
The Labour party have announced plans to radically reform universal credit (UC) before scrapping it altogether, if they win the next election.

 

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.

DLA to PIP success
“Had letter Thursday to inform that the DWP has all info required to make a Descision. Had Descision today. Enhanced rate mobility to continue. Enhanced rate daily living added as well.
10 year duration. So pleased & must thank this website for guidance tips & resources. Thanx so much & good luck to all”


My PIP Journey
“Applied in Nov 2018. Assessment Jan 2019. Decision of 7 points so no award in March 2019. MR sent in June 2019. Letter awarding 8 points for Standard Care till Jan 2022 in July 2019. Online Appeal Submitted August 2019. DWP letter cancelling the appeal and awarding High Care and Standard Mobility till Jan 2023 in September 2019. Used the fantastic guides through the whole process. It's been a fight but worth it. Keep fighting everyone!”

Result of WCA
“hi .just want to say a big thank you to all moderators and your excellent guides and info. got my wca result today and staying in support group dont post much but come here everyday to read posts once again thank you.”

Thank you so much – PIP & ESA success
“After a horrendous three and a half months of stress I have finally been passed High Rate mobility and care until 2029.. Thank You so much to this Forum. Without your help I would never have had the strength to get through PIP and ESA which both came at the same time. ATOS refused me after face to face PIP,and I was turned down at Mandatory review for PIP until they realised I had an ESA face to Face who knew all about my illness and understood how it affects me. The DWP looked at both reviews and could quite clearly see that the ATOS face to face for PIP was lies about my muscular skeletal and misled the DWP into making the wrong decisions.. I do not have to go to appeal as a case manager has overturned it and I even got an apology as they said the forms should never have been sent in the first place as I had only just passed it in 2017 for ten years.... RESULT ....KEEP FIGHTING GUYS.”

No F2F for PIP
“I recieved my decision today for my pip reassessment. I got my pip renewed for 3 years continued at m Enhanced for both parts. I didn't have to have a face 2 face assessment so I am really relieved.
I just wanted to let the good readers of this forum to know about positive results too. Please don't give up and keep fighting the fight. Best of luck to everyone.”


PIP MR success
“I received my AR1 about 3 months ago. From reading the forums it became apparent that anyone called in to a F2F after an AR1 was essentially making a new claim. And so it was. After 10 days a very limp letter from the DWP arrived. If you have been successful then the letter has some heft to it; amounts and times of payment etc. Not this time. I had scored nothing for care (previously 15) or mobility (previously10). Even though I thought the assessment was made to fit an internal decision that had been made, (just because you are paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you) it was still one hell of a shock. I had no great hopes for the Mandatory Reconsideration. I provided new evidence from my GP, Hospital Consultant and Support Worker, but I thought my case had tribunal written all over it. Perhaps even more of a shock was to have prevailed at the MR, my award is not a long one (May 2022) so I know the DWP will soon enough be snapping at my heels. The report language is almost verbatim what was on my original, successful claim, it is odd. But now is the time to enjoy this brief shining moment, and hope that others are as fortunate as I have been. Thanks to the Gordon and the good people on these forums.”

DLA to PIP success
“Hi there, I'm writing to [say I’ve been] awarded the enhanced rates for both care and mobility… thanks to all the help and advice you give (BEST £20 I'VE EVER SPENT)…I was receiving DLA - I was getting the middle rate for care and now the enhanced rate in PIP, an increase of £28.95 a week..”

MR success
“I would like to thank Gordon,Bis and everyone who have helped with hubbys MR and we have recieved today the brown envelope but this time with better news. I dont want to sound over dramatic here but we would be lost without the Moderators and members. He needed 1 more point for daily living enhanced bringing him up to 12 points,there are still inconsistencies that i could argue but we are delighted with the result,not going to push for more points because i cant handle the stress and doubt we would successful anyway. What really hurt was the lies the assessor wrote and especially because she is a mental health nurse that she omitted to say. Please please do not stop trying if you need an MR or appeal,its so very important to research and research as much as you can and get your information across as best you can,i know every case is different but we are all looking for the best possible outcome and with the help from Gordon and the moderators you will find all you need to at least educate yourself on what you need to do and say and write. You are not scroungers you are people with disabilities who should be treated with respect,you are not liars and for alot of people on here have worked before becoming too ill and have paid into the system. Sorry im still angry and a bit sad how we all ended up nearly having to beg for what is rightfully ours. Anyway thanks again and i truly hope each and everyone of you get everything you obviously deserve.”

DLA to PIP success
“I have just got PIP Enhanced Living and Enhanced Mobility with the help of this site and the guides. This is exactly what I had when I had DLA Indefinite”

Thank you B&W – PIP success
“My Dad called me to go for a spur of the moment lunch today and when he dropped me home there on the sofa was a brown DWP letter waiting for me. I took some deep breaths and opened it not knowing what to expect. Well it's good news. I've been in receipt of DLA for around 15 years I think it's been roughly, high mobility and low care rates.
I've now been awarded enhanced daily living and standard mobility. Awards were what I was hoping for and thought I should get so I'm very relieved and happy. My award runs till 2023, was hoping it'd be longer given I have had a chronic illness for the last 27 years but I'm happy and can now relax and fully enjoy our family holiday coming up without worrying. I'd like to thank everyone here, especially Gordon as I'd have been lost without all the guides and support and the help from this wonderful forum of people. Good luck to everyone still going through this nightmare and don't give up.”

 

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: 37284

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