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 ongoing period
“Hi at last the brown envelope arrived, and with trembling fingers I opened it, and to our delight my husband received enhanced both the mobility and care, (DLA he received middle rate care and higher rate mobility) and this was down to all the excellent literature and the help on this forum which help me fill the form in for my husband who is registered as blind.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 27489

 

Dear Reader],

In this edition we have a troubling warning about the rise of robots at the DWP.

We also learn that fraudsters who prey on universal credit claimants are, with a single exception, getting off scot-free.

There’s a report about the vile comments about claimants that have been recorded by a DWP whistleblower.

We are asking for your experiences of complaining about the DWP and its agents and your opinion on whether a guide would be helpful.

And finally, if you are a professional in search of an open-training day, we’ve got a request form you can complete to tempt us into your neck of the woods.

 

BENEFITS ROBOTS ON THE RISE
The DWP is investing heavily in creating robots to work on benefits claims without any human intervention, according to the Guardian.

In total, over 100 types of benefit bot are being created.

16 bots are being used to help communicate with claimants and process claims.

Machine learning is also being used to try to detect fraud, meaning that claims could be refused without claimants or staff being aware how decisions were reached.

For example, tests are underway to decide if machines can judge whether claims for childcare and housing costs are truthful.

DWP staff are also working, largely in secret, on creating “digital images” of claimants using information from a wide range of bodies, including private credit reference agencies, the police, the Valuation Office Agency, the Land Registry and the National Fraud Initiative.

Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions select committee, warned that vulnerable claimants “will be left at the mercy of online systems that, even now, leave all too many people teetering on the brink of destitution”.

“We’ve already seen, in the gig economy, how workers are managed and sacked, not by people, but by algorithms,” he said. “Now the welfare state looks set to follow suit, with the ‘social’ human element being stripped away from ‘social security’.”

 

ONLY ONE CON ARTIST PREYING ON CLAIMANTS PROSECUTED
Only one out of hundreds of fraudsters has so far been prosecuted for preying on claimants and stealing their UC advance payments.

Back in July we reported on what had become a huge problem of claimants being defrauded of UC payments.

Fraudsters obtain claimants details by pretending they are applying for a government grant for them. They then apply for UC on the claimant’s behalf and pocket most or all of the advance payment.

Even the DWP admit that 10% of all UC advance payments may be for fraudulent claims.

One DWP official claimed that in their region 200-300 claims a day are fictitious, with £1,200 to £1,500 in advance payments for each claim.

Yet, with many thousands of such fraudulent claims having been made, the DWP have admitted that they are investigating just 107 individuals in connection with the scam.

Worse still, so far only one person has actually been referred to the crown prosecution service (CPS). They were successfully prosecuted, but so far no other cases have even got as far as the CPS.

The DWP makes much of its National Benefit Fraud Hotline aimed at targeting claimants – very often absolutely unfairly.

To have put just one con artist preying on claimants before the courts so far is shameful and will do little to deter criminals from continuing to defraud claimants.

 

UC STAFF MAKE VILE COMMENTS ABOUT CLAIMANTS
A tape made by a DWP whistle-blower records staff making vile comments about UC claimants

The staff also admit that they don’t know how to do their job.

One manager, talking about UC claimants says:

“The police sometimes have sting operations where they gather people together.

"We should nominate one person to throw a grenade in.”

Referring to sick and disabled claimants, another manager says:

“It does my head in. They’re getting something for nowt, they don’t really have to do a great deal to get it. And they still whinge.”

Another says they “have absolutely no time” for claimants with depression and anxiety.

The staff also complained about their impossible workload, saying that they have to manage 700 cases at any one time.

One admitted: “I don’t know what I’m doing half the bloody time.”

 

DO YOU NEED A GUIDE TO COMPLAINING ABOUT THE DWP, ATOS, CAPITA AND THE REST?
Last week we heard from a member who was keen on us producing a guide to complaining about the DWP?

Clearly if we did publish such a guide it would also need to include complaints to:

  • Atos
  • Capita
  • Maximus

Plus your MP.

And the Independent Case Examiner.

Possibly some bodies for health professionals too.

Before we look any further into this, we’d really like to hear from you.

The initial responses we’ve had suggest that some agencies, including the DWP, will often try to just ignore a complaint in the hope that the claimant will give up.

Sometimes they will take action on the individual claimant’s problem but still not deal with the complaint through their formal procedure.

So, have you had experience of complaining to any of these agencies?

If so, how did it go?

If not, what made you decide not to?

We’d really appreciate your input.

 

OPEN TRAINING NEAR YOU
Our PIP course in Nottingham has only one place left and we are now looking to book another venue to put on an open-training course.

Are you a professional looking for training in PIP, or another benefits subject?

If you’d welcome the chance to attend one of our training days, we now have a brief online form you can use to give us some details about where you are and what you are looking for.

Completing the form doesn’t commit you to anything.

But it does give us an idea of whether there are sufficient numbers of people looking for training in your part of the country to make an open-training day viable.

So, complete the form and we could be coming your way soon.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

Support Group success
“…thank you so much for the excellent guides and advice you provide. I have just received a letter confirming I have been placed in the ESA Support Group, this was a paper based decision… I'm so relieved this decision has been granted”

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: 27489

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
Do you want us to put on open-training near you?
Are you a professional looking for training in PIP, or another benefits subject.

DWP creating over 100 types of benefits robots
The DWP is investing millions in creating robots that can work on benefits claims without any human intervention, the Guardian reported today.

Should we publish a guide to complaining about the DWP?
We’ve had a request from a member to publish a guide about how to complain to the DWP.

UC staff taped making vile comments about claimants
The Sunday Mirror has been handed a tape by a DWP whistleblower in which staff make vile comments about universal credit (UC) claimants and admit that they don’t know how to do their job.

Only one UC con artist preying on claimants prosecuted so far
Only one fraudster has so far been prosecuted for preying on claimants and stealing their universal credit (UC) advance payments, the government has admitted.

Over £37 million paid out so far to SDP claimants
The DWP has so far paid out over £37 million to claimants who lost out on the severe disability premium (SDP) when they were migrated from legacy benefits such as employment and support allowance (ESA) to universal credit (UC).

 

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.


ESA Support Group
“… A family member received a long-awaited brown envelope today and they have been kept in the support group with no end date. We used the guides on the site and undoubtedly this helped us put their case across in a way that we wouldn't have been able to without this aid.”

PIP award – direct transfer from DLA!
“Back in June, the dreaded letter arrived asking to claim PiP, with a lot of help from the Website and Guides, I managed to fill in the form, not helped by the fact that trying to kick the addiction to DHC gave me horrendous withdrawal symptoms. Had an appointment for a face to face with ATOS- the nurse recognised me from my former employment and wouldn't see me. Second appointment came a few weeks later. After another 3 weeks I had a direct call from the Decision Maker to ask further questions about my lack of mobility. I had the brown envelope last week and have been granted both help & enhanced mobility. A miracle! Many thanks B&W.”

A big big thank you
“After 12 weeks and 4 days after the Face to Face Interview, I finally got the Brown Envelope today !
They've awarded me Standard rate for Daily Living and Enhanced for Mobility. I can't tell you the profound relief I feel from this award. I almost certainly got this by following the guides you provide on this site !!! :o) For me , I had to read the guides over and over and used the examples given to answer the questions appropriately and wrote down on A4 papers my answers roughly at 1st. Then, left them and came back to them to review and refined them as needed. I had them spread out all over the floor and made it my absolute priority to put my attention on the PIP and switched the TV off. As I am an insomniac I spent a few all nighters on them. Thankfully it was all worth it :o) Before the face to face I also re-read my answers so I could say the same as I put on the form. So thank God and Gordon & other helpers that this site is here and well worth the 16 quid or whatever it was to have the full access . I'll now have the money for needed taxi's and other things.”


ESA success
“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to those involved in writing the guides; I am new to claiming benefits and was absolutely dreading the whole process, but thankfully I have had a positive result first time applying for ESA - I've been put in the Support Group without even needing a face to face! The forms were horrendous but would have been impossible were it not for the assistance in the guides, which are truly excellent and worth every penny of membership. So a big fat THANK YOU!”

ESA and PIP success
“Hello everyone, I’m overjoyed to report that my husband has been awarded ESA Support and PIP Standard for both Care and Mobility. The ESA Letter arrived three weeks to the day I posted the esa50 form back, which by any reckoning is lightening speed. PIP has taken four months. We were one pesky point off enhanced for care and two points off enhanced for mobility and while I could argue the toss, I’m not going to. We’re both relieved and delighted that this awful process is behind us. The award is for three years. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be celebrating today were it not for the Member’s Guides and the wonderful moderators. Gordon and BIS, thank you both for your support and excellent advice these past months. May god bless you and yours. And thanks too to the countless people who post here, for those many queries helped me build a solid, winning case.”

PIP success
“Thanks to this forum and the guides,i've been awarded Enhanced rates for both components. Its well worth subscribing for access to the guides. Thank you”

Great PIP result – thank you!
“Just wanted to let you know that my PIP result has come through and been better than I dared hope for - a five-year award at the enhanced rate! I'm even getting something for the mobility rate, which I'd lost when I was on DLA. This is all a massive relief as my health has become much more complex to manage in the past couple of years, and the money will allow me to pay for support not available on the NHS. Benefits & Work's guidance has been absolutely invaluable and I want to thank everyone involved with the site for your support.”

DLA to PIP success
“I had a face to face assessment at home a couple of months ago (I didn't ask for it to be at home but was pleased not to have to travel). I felt it didn't go well as I became agitated and upset. I asked for, and received, a copy of the assessors report which appeared fair and accurate. However, I didn't hold out much hope of retaining my 'lifetime' DLA after reading of so many people being turned down. After all I 'only' have osteoarthritis and a cognitive disorder! The dreaded brown envelope arrived a few weeks later and imagine my surprise when I opened it ..... not only have I retained High Rate Mobility but I have been awarded High Rate Care too. The letter states I will be reviewed again in 10 years by which time I'll be in my 70's. Thanks to all at Benefits and Work who's newsletters were an encouragement to me as well as the user guides.”

Enhanced PIP award at first attempt
“Can't thank you enough for the guide for completing PIP forms, without it we would have been missing lots of information and points that were relevant. The process of completing the form actually took longer than the rest of it put together. It took us 8 weeks to fill in the forms because of how exhausting it was for my partner, but it took only 5 weeks from them recieving the paperwork to us getting the award, including an assessment where he recommended std care and enhanced mobility for 2 yrs, despite our calculations on your pip form giving her enhanced for both easily.
In the end enhanced was award for both for 10yrs, which I understand is the effective 'ongoing' award. The shadow that has been hanging over her for the past few years has finallly lifted”


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: 27489

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