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Successful DLA to PIP Application
“Just wanted to thank Benefits and work for helping me to complete successfully the complex PIP form on behalf of my wife. Without following your brilliant guide I’m sure she wouldn’t have been awarded enhanced rate care and mobility until at least 2029 without a medical assessment. Thanks once again, no more sleepless nights for at least 10 years!”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 29587

 

Dear Reader

In this edition we learn that arguing that claimants ‘need putting down’ is not enough to get you sacked as a Tory candidate.

We also have a frank admission from the Tribunals Service that they can’t cope with the number of PIP appeals they have to deal with.

There’s the welcome news that the benefits freeze is going to end next year.

And more welcome news that the DWP has not got away with a cynically misleading ad campaign.

We have another PIP training day coming up in the new year.

And, finally, we ask you how important benefits policies are in swaying your vote at the general election.

 

CLAIMANTS “NEED PUTTING DOWN” CANDIDATE STILL STANDING
Every day seems to bring news of another prospective MP who has been forced to stand down because of some appalling comments unearthed in their social media history.

And yet, it seems, that saying that benefits claimants “need putting down” and laughing approvingly at the idea of attacking homeless people with a bat is too minor to require a Tory candidate to be replaced.

Francesca O’Brien, who is standing in the Tory target seat of Gower made the comments five years ago on her Facebook page, after watching ‘Benefits Street’.

She has now retracted the remarks, saying “. . . my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused”

Most people would probably consider that this went far beyond simply a poor choice of words.

It is the hate-inciting and violent attitude that stood behind those words that would make most people consider O’Brien utterly unfit for public office.

Sadly, the secretary of state for work and pensions, Therese Coffey, doesn’t agree.

She is happy to still endorse O’Brien as a parliamentary candidate, saying that it should be up to the people of the Gower to decide if they want her to be their MP.

We’ll watch the result on the day with great interest.

 

TRIBUNALS SERVICE OVERWHELMED BY PIP APPEALS
A report by the Tribunals Service admits that they can’t keep pace with the number of PIP appeals.

The ‘Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report’ admits that “the rapid rise in appeal numbers has outstripped our ability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of panel members to keep pace”.

Appeal numbers plummeted in 2013, from a high of over half a million, after the DWP introduced its cynical mandatory reconsideration hurdle.

However, numbers are on the rise again, more than doubling from 112,000 in 2014 to 238,000 in 2018.

To try to cope, the Tribunals Service appointed 130 new judges, 225 medically qualified members and 125 disability qualified members last year.

They are also trying other methods to reduce the backlog, including cramming more PIP appeals into each session and trying to resolve more cases before they reach a hearing.

But the one thing that would really cut their workload - the DWP getting more decisions right - is unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

BENEFITS FREEZE TO END NEXT YEAR
The five year long benefits freeze will finally end in April 2020, the government has announced.

However, the rise in benefits rates will be just 1.7% next year.

According to a Resolution Foundation report, the freeze has left claimants 6% worse off than they would have been.

The Foundation says that the real value of basic out-of-work support in 2020 will be lower than it was in 1992, adding that:

“Relative to earnings, unemployment support has fallen to a record low of 14 per cent, down from 27 per cent at the emergence of the Beveridge system”

So, over 70 years on, support is half of what it was when the country was just emerging from a devastating war.

 

DWP GUILTY OF PUBLISHING FALSE CLAIMS
It’s absolutely no surprise to learn that the DWP have been misleading tabloid readers about universal credit on a grand scale, at the taxpayers’ expense.

But what is surprising is that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) actually upheld complaints about the deliberately deceptive DWP adverts disguised as news.

Regular readers will know that the DWP paid for an extensive ‘myth busting’ campaign in the Metro newspaper and online earlier this year.

The project provoked a backlash from claimants, who organised the removal and destruction of many thousands of copies of the Metro from train and tube stations.

Now the ASA has ruled that the advertising campaign must not be run again.

They decided that:

  • DWP claims that people on UC move more quickly into work could not be proved;
  • the DWP did not make it clear that UC advances are loans that have to be repaid;
  • the DWP assertion that claimants could simply arrange for UC to be paid to their landlord was not true;
  • the DWP obscured the fact that the online adverts were written by them and were not independent news.

The DWP, rather than apologising, simply says it is ‘disappointed’ with the decision.

 

DISCOUNT ON PIP TRAINING DAY FOR PROFESSIONALS
Following a very well received PIP training day in Nottingham last week, we are now running the same course in Birmingham in February.

There’s a 20% discount for early booking.

Details are further down in this newsletter.

 

WILL BENEFITS POLICIES DECIDE YOUR VOTE?
Finally, we definitely don’t want Brexit wars to break out on the pages of Benefits and Work.

But we would appreciate your comments below the line about how important a part benefits policies are in deciding who will get your vote.

Are plans for benefits the most important issue for you?

Or just one among many issues of equal importance.

Let us know your thoughts. There’s a link to the article in the News section below.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

DLA to PIP success
“I have just been through the DLA to PIP mangle and been awarded Enhanced Care/Mobility.... Thanks Guys.”

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: 29587

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

 

PIP TRAINING DAY 20% DISCOUNT
Thursday 27 February, Birmingham

“Excellent course. Feel more confident in completing PIP forms.” Andy Smith, Futures Housing

“Really enjoyable course and trainer.” Maria Taylor, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust

“Covered everything I needed to know.” Paula Halkic, Lancs & Morecambe MS Society

Places are now available for our next PIP open training day for professionals.

Book before the end of November and get a 20% discount on the advertised price.

Get more details and download a booking form.

Birmingham too far away? Complete our brief training request form and let us know where you’d like us to run a training day and what subjects you’d like covered.

 

BENEFITS NEWS
PIP training day discount

We have another open PIP training day for professionals, this time in Birmingham on 27 February. There’s a 20% discount if you book before the end of November.

Will benefits policies decide your vote?
With another election in full swing and the parties yet to publish their manifestos, we want to know whether their policies on benefits would be enough to swing your vote?

DWP found guilty of publishing misleading universal credit ads
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints that the DWP misled readers about universal credit (UC) in a national advertising campaign costing over £250,000 earlier this year.

Health and benefits problems are main causes of food bank use
A report for the Trussell Trust shows that the two main drivers of food bank use are ill health and problems with the benefits system, it was revealed today.

Claimants “need putting down” Tory candidate should still stand, says DWP secretary of state
A Tory candidate who said that claimants on Benefits Street “need putting down” and that she liked the idea of attacking homeless people with bats should still stand for election, the secretary of state for work and pensions said today.

Tribunals Service unable to keep up with rise in appeals
The Tribunals Service has been unable to keep up with the rapid rise in appeals.

Benefits freeze to end in April 2020
The benefits freeze will finally end in April 2020, the government announced yesterday.

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL

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 success
“Big Thank you for the information that I used and got Contribution ESA support group”

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 excellant literature and the help on this forum which help me fill the form in for my husband who is registered as blind.”

PIP changed to ongoing award
“I was awarded Enhanced rates for both care and mobility in January 2018 for 3 years thanks to your great guides giving me the courage to ask for a Mandatory reconsideration as i was originally awarded standard for both (i could never have done it without your help). This morning the dreaded brown envelope arrived and i thought wow they have sent my review form early as i was expecting it in January 2020 but to my delight the letter says they have looked at my PIP and have awarded me Enhanced for both care and mobility again for an ongoing period. The letter states it will contact me to see if my needs have changed after October 2029, I am in total shock …So once again i would like to thank you all on this site for all the help and hard work you put into helping people like myself.”

PIP guide is a big help!
“I have just finished completing my pip2 on behalf of my daughter. After so much stress and anxiety about filling it out I managed to complete it this morning. I signed up to be a member so I would have access to the guides and I have to say it really helped me step by step on how to complete the form without rambling on and just getting to the point regarding my daughters needs and issues. I just want to say thanks for writing the guide and all the over resources that are available. And breaking down all the terminology in a more simplified way so I was able to know what they were asking for. Now the waiting games begin. I know she will probably be sent for a f2f assessment but I’m not really worried about that. Thanks again for all of the support”

DLA to PIP – thank you
“I have been on DLA for several years and have been using your PIP Members Guides to prepare to apply and change over to PIP. Been informed that I have been awarded Enhanced on both parts of PIP ongoing award for both parts. Thanks for all the work you have put into these benefit guides.”

DLA to PIP successful outcome
“Thank You, thank you, thank you, Benefits and work for helping me to complete successfully the complex DLA to PIP form, after months of stress and worry I have been awarded enhanced rate care and mobility until at least 2029 without a medical assessment. Thanks once again.”

“I cannot thank you enough”
“I am a long-standing subscriber because the work you do is marvellous.I transitioned from DLA to PIP 15 months ago and despite having been on DLA higher rate mobility was awarded only the standard rate under PIP, along with the standard rate for care.
Unsurprisingly a mandatory reconsideration resulted in no change, so I determined to go to tribunal appeal (for which I waited 9 months) which I have just won. I have now been awarded the PIP enhanced rate for mobility, which means I can keep my Motability vehicle which I use to get to my work.
This whole process has been a long nightmare, but my success is due in very large part to your superlative PIP guides which have been invaluable. I cannot thank you enough.”
Charlie

“Thank you so much”
“Thank you so much for your invaluable guides. Received the dreaded brown envelope today, and have been moved over from DLA to PIP. The comprehensive information on your website helped so much in filling in the form.”
Rosie

“So thank you and keep inspiring people”
“A big thank you for the help I got from your guides and members letters
My son’s health physically and mentally has been caused by an underactive thyroid gland from birth, and the fact it was not diagnosed for 21 years.Now he is 50 his health mentally and physically is badly affected but he does not fall in a category when it comes to claiming extra help .
I worry about the fact that as I am in my 70s I won’t be here for ever to help
I got help from my MP to access applications for UC and PIP it has taken many months ,and knock backs but thanks to discovering your guides ,and your members stories I fought on and was going for appeal when my son received a phone call, fortunately I was with him and negotiated a PIP award without appeal for next 3 years We both cried tears of relief!!! So thank you and keep inspiring people to stand up to this inhuman benefit system.”
Lewis’ mum

“Thank you so much”
“I support my brother who has mental health illness and has been on benefits all his adult life. I went into panic mode when he received an ESA claim form but thanks to your very comprehensive guide, I was able to get a Decision keeping him in the Support Group. The even better news was that we did not have to attend a face-to-face assessment. Unfortunately, my brother does not have access to a GP or psychiatrist who will write a letter supporting his claim (even though I have offered payment) so it was even more important for me to have clear guidelines when completing the form.I have recommended your site and membership to everyone I know in a similar position. Thank you so much.”
Kate

 

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: 29587

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