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DLA to PIP success
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Dear Reader,

In this edition, we reveal that the DWP has gone back on a promise it made in 2018 to reconsider 1.6 million PIP awards after losing two court cases

We learn that the department tried to hide the fact it has investigated 69 claimant suicides, but the National Audit Office believes it missed more.

We find that Atos has yet again failed to meet targets for the number of unacceptable PIP reports.

We discover that just 13 claimants have been moved from legacy benefits to universal credit (UC) in the first 6 months that a pilot project has been running.

Not surprising then, that the end date for the full roll-out of UC has been pushed back again.

And, finally, we are unsurprised to find that Boris Johnson has misled the House of Commons about both UC and about claimant deaths.

 

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DWP GOES BACK ON PROMISE TO REVIEW 1.6 MILLION PIP CLAIMS
The DWP has gone back on an undertaking it gave to review a total of 1.6 million PIP claims after it lost two court cases in 2016 and 2017.

Instead many claims will not be reviewed, the number of back payments is likely to be less than a twentieth of the original estimate and the cost a tiny fraction of what was expected.

The cases in question were known as RF, which related to carrying out activities safely, and MH which related to the mobility component of PIP and overwhelming psychological distress.

In 2018, when the DWP announced a review of all PIP claims as a result of MH, Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work told the Commons:

“We will be going through all cases in receipt of PIP and all decisions made since the judgment in MH to identify anyone who may be entitled to more as a result of the judgment . . . This will be a complex exercise and of considerable scale, as we will be reconsidering approximately 1.6 million claims.

However, the department now says that it has changed the procedure so that it will only review cases it thinks most likely to benefit.

Other claimants will just get a letter asking them if they want to have a review.

Hundreds of thousands of claimants will be left to decide whether they believe that complex changes to eligibility criteria affected them or not.

If they think they have been affected it will then be up to them to ask the DWP to look at their award again.

Given the fear that many people have of the DWP taking away their benefits, it is likely that many people will have absolutely no desire to have their award reviewed, even if they are assured that they will not have it cut as a result.

In 2018, the DWP said that it believed up to 220,000 people might be entitled to a higher award and that the process could cost up to £3.7bn by 2023.

So far, with over 800,000 reviews carried out, fewer than 6,000 awards have been made at a cost of just £28 million – less than 1% of the original cost estimate.

Whilst some of the 220,000 would be people who had yet to make a claim in 2018, future claimants are unlikely to have been such a high proportion of the total by 2023.

In the absence of any explanation for the huge differences in the outcome of the review so far, it would be hard not to suspect that something underhand has taken place.

 

DWP HAS INVESTIGATED 69 SUICIDES, BUT NAO SAYS THERE WERE MORE
The DWP has investigated 69 suicides of benefits claimants since 2014, but is likely to have missed many more, the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

This is information that the DWP tried hard to cover up.

It even refused a freedom of information request by the chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, on the grounds that it would cost more than £600 to answer.

The NAO found that the DWP had carried out 69 Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) related to claimant suicides since 2014.

21 of the IPRs were completed between April and November 2019, compared with only 13 in 2018 and two in 2017.

This suggests that the DWP has only just begun to take the matter seriously as a result of increased media scrutiny.

In addition, the DWP had failed until recently to set up any formal system for coroners with concerns to contact them.

This means that many of the reviews have only happened because of pressure from relatives or the media.

The NAO believes that the DWP have overlooked many cases, arguing: “It is highly unlikely that the 69 cases the Department has investigated represents the number of cases it could have investigated in the past six years.”

The urgent need for an independent review of claimants deaths is now undeniable.

Whether it will ever happen whilst the DWP holds claimants’ lives so cheaply is another matter.

 

ATOS STILL FAILS TO MEET TARGETS FOR LEVEL OF UNACCEPTABLE PIP REPORTS
Figures released by the DWP show that Atos yet again failed to meet its target for acceptable PIP assessment reports in 2019.

The figures show that 4% of all reports that were audited were deemed unacceptable. The target for Atos is for less than 3% of all reports to be unacceptable.

A further 16% were acceptable only with amendments.

Another 16% were acceptable, but the health professional needed feedback to improve the quality of their reports.

This means that just 64% of all PIP reports by Atos were deemed acceptable without any qualification.

And, as the Work and Pensions Committee has pointed out, the DWP’s idea of acceptable still leaves a lot to be desired:

“The Department’s quality standards for PIP and ESA set a low bar for what are considered acceptable reports. The definition of “acceptable” leaves ample room for reports to be riddled with obvious errors and omissions.”

So, even the figure of 64% acceptable is likely to be a long way from what most people would regard as the truth.

 

MORE ESA TO UC DELAYS
UC continues to produce nothing but fear and uncertainty for claimants.

The latest news is that just 13 people have been moved onto UC in the first 6 months of a pilot of the ‘managed migration’ of claimants of legacy benefits such as ESA.

The pilot is intended to cover 10,000 households and provide lessons to ensure things go smoothly when managed migration is extended to millions more from November.

Regardless of problems with the pilot, the roll-out of managed migration has already been delayed by 9 months, to September 2024,

The civil servant in charge of the project, said the difficulty is that claimants are desperately avoiding moving from other benefits to UC, telling a meeting filmed by the BBC:

"We've got a lot of anecdotal evidence of people being scared to come to universal credit.”

Because claimants are reluctant to move to UC, they are avoiding changes of circumstances that would lead to them having to transfer to the benefit via ‘natural migration’.

Instead, nine hundred thousand more claimants than expected will wait until they are forced to move via ‘managed migration’, which will mean that they will get some transitional protection of their existing income.

 

BORIS JOHNSON MISLEADS MPS ABOUT CLAIMANT DEATHS AND ABOUT UC
Boris Johnson has managed to mislead MPs twice about benefits since the last newsletter.

He told the Commons that UC had already helped 20,000 people into work.

But, as the UK Statistics Authority pointed out, that simply isn’t true.

For one thing, 20,000 is the number the DWP claims will have been helped into work when UC is fully rolled-out, which won’t be for at least another four years.

And, as the National Audit Office have explained, the figure is a fantasy one in any case. It’s impossible to separate UC from all the other factors in the economy that contribute to rising or falling employment.

In a second untruth, answering a question about Errol Graham, the claimant who starved to death after his benefits were stopped, Johnson claimed that an independent Serious Case Panel (SCP) was looking into the tragedy.

In fact, one of the few things we know about the newly established and deeply shadowy SCP is that it is staffed entirely by senior DWP civil servants.

So, not independent in any way.

Except, possibly, independent of the truth.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

DLA to PIP success
“Hello to all who work here, A BIG THANK YOU!! I have been awarded my pip transfer from DLA for ten years I couldn't believe it when I opened the brown envelope. I have read so many horror stories about the DWP. I had to read it 3 times to make sure it was right. I have found this website to be extremely helpfull and supportive a number of years ago and it have been a lifeline. for the last 7 years. Please read all the paperwork and help from the website and take you're time do it dont give up. I could not have done the pip 1 form and answering the descriptors without the help Gordon and the team. Thank you again and god bless you all .”

 

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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.

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BENEFITS NEWS
DWP goes back on promise to review 1.6 million PIP claims as back payments plummet

More than 69 claimant suicides in six years, says NAO, after DWP decided £600 was too much to spend on counting the deaths

Boris Johnson misleads MPs about claimant deaths and about UC

Dutch court outlaws use of benefits ‘robots’ of type being built by DWP

Tribunal call centres open for longer

Full UC roll-out delayed again because claimants are scared to transfer

Atos still fails to meet targets for level of unacceptable PIP reports

DWP loses yet another court battle as it fights to grossly underpay disabled claimants

Just 13 people moved onto UC during first six months of pilot, full roll-out may be delayed

 

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.

DLA to PIP award
“Thanks to the detailed information in the B&W guide, I included information in my PIP application that I wouldn’t have thought was relevant. Although my assessment was conducted over 2 sessions, weeks apart, I went from DLA High Rate Mobility / Low Rate Care to Enhanced Rate Mobility/ Standard Rate Care ... Result ! Thank you B&W”

Good news after Mandatory Reconsideration
“I just wanted to encourage all members not to give up and fight for what they believe they should be entitled to. I came on the forum a few months ago seeking support regarding my PIP’s outcome l was going through the DLA to PIP’s transfer. Like others l felt very upset about the assessment report and was also scared to a mandatory reconsideration as l had be awarded the care part but only 4 points mobility l took on board the great advice and focused on what I believe was overlooked. I wrote several example of incidents that happen after the PIP assessment and got confirmation from professionals who had been supporting me l submitted the evidences and referred to it in my written statement. It took almost 10 weeks to hear back but l got awarded enhanced rate l was actually seeking standard so l was very surprised l now have enhanced care and mobility until 2022 thanks again for the valuable advice”

Tribunal win after 0 points at assessment
“My daughter had lifetime award DLA. I went with her to Assessment 10/18. Rejected with 0 points for any topic. Report bore no resemblance to meeting I attended. Mandatory reconsideration result - no change 0 points. Waited till 01/20 for Tribunal, not with any real hope at justice. Result - she was awarded enhanced PIP for Daily Living for 3 years. What a weight off our minds..”

DLA to PIP success
“I was transferred over from DLA to PIP in September i filled in the form using your guides which explained everything simply and clearly ,I was lucky enough to get a paper based review and got the letter yesterday saying I was awarded care and mobility for an ongoing period .firstly thanks for all the help and secondly it shows that sometimes the system works well.”

Success at MR stage
“Well, I never thought it would write this -but I have got my enhanced PIP and scored 12/12 on mobility following a MR. This is simply thanks to your advice and guidance on this site.”

MR Decision success
“I just wanted to let you all know, the dreaded brown envelope arrived today with my MR decision, but it was far from the expected bad news I was dreading! After a very stressful few months, and a lot of work using your great guides, and help from people here on the forum. I was still fully expecting to be gearing up to go to appeal given the low chances of the decision being overturned at the MR stage. So as you can imagine I was utterly elated today to get my letter telling me I have gone from no award for either component to enhanced in both for 3yrs!!!! I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone on the forum that has given me support and advice whilst going through this, it has been invaluable in this horrible process. I hope that posting my success will show others that it is possible to fight the system and get the award you are entitled too. Thanks again”

Tribunal success
“My friend’s appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal was allowed just before Christmas. Many thanks are due to B&W for the many documents you make available that helped this outcome.”

Our PIP success story
“.. I once again thank Steve, Gordon & the crew for just 'being there' for us, and providing the facts & figures which we need. I don't post very much at all, but B&W is my 'reference library' - as it has the up-to-date authoritative information we need.
Part One - The Original 2016 PIP Appeal Hearing.
Our daughter has been receiving PIP for her learning disabilities - and it has boosted her fragile confidence tremendously in that she has been able to buy things which 'enable' her in so many respects.. But time flies, and her 2-year PIP award expired recently - so we had to go through the usual PIP 're-application' process a year earlier than the norm. However, in 2019 she turned 18 years old.. If I may, I would like to share our PIP renewal 'story' here - perchance that it may help and encourage others.
In 2016, after a DWP decision & reconsideration to award zero points, HMCTS agreed to an appeal tribunal hearing with just myself present as my daughter's representative (and carer)... My realistic (but unspoken) expectation was to merely be awarded the Standard (lower) PIP rate for Daily Living, and no more - but my submission actually argued for over 12 points on both the Daily and the Mobility Activities. I entered the tribunal hearing room, took my coat off and sat down with sleeves already rolled up… At this point, the tribunal Judge interrupted me to explain that they had already discussed the claim and had agreed that my daughter was in fact entitled to the Standard PIP rate for Daily Living and for Mobility !!! .. The Judge also explained that the PIP award would only be for a 2-year period, as there was a possibility that my daughter's condition could improve or have less impact within that period…

Part 2 - The 2019 PIP Renewal.
The PIP Renewal form..We went through each of the Daily Living & Mobility Activities and found that the replies to these would be almost identical to those given in the original 2016 PIP application..I decided to enter a statement in the "Any further information" section …Our daughter subsequently received a DWP 'Letter of Entitlement' - without her having to undergo yet another 'disability assessment ! But in addition to 'waving through' her PIP renewal without further ado, the DWP had increased both her Daily Living and Mobility levels from 'Standard' to 'Enhanced' - and for 3 years !!! We had only asked for the claim to be continued at the 'Standard' level set by the 2016 Appeal Tribunal - so this was an unexpected bonus - and it meant that our daughter could apply for a 'Motability' lease on a new car, which she has now done.
I have posted this 'story of our journey' here in the hope that it might inspire others to 'be bold' in the face of the DWP and not to be deterred by the HMCTS Appeal Tribunal service.. remember that you are NOT alone, because Steve, Gordon & the team here are backing you up - not just with various opinions, but with factual information - and I thank them for all the help that I have been able to take from here over the past few years. It's about time I did !!!”

BOOST YOUR PIP, UC AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA 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: 64752

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

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