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Thank you!!! DLA to PIP on paper – higher award!
“I've been using your wonderful website and Members guides since you began. In August 2019 my ESA was re-assessed. No interview required and the decision was made on the papers alone; I was kept in the Support Group! In October 2019 my DLA to PIP transition began. Once again, no interview and I was actually awarded a higher rate on care and I kept my enhanced mobility! As you know the stress of the whole inhumane process is awful; moreso as you're trying to cope when in poor health. But following your guides to the letter, I managed to fill the forms in -a little every day - over a period of weeks. And it paid off in spades as I know they saved me from the further stress of interviews, mandatory considerations and appeals/Tribunals. Thank you so very much.”

 

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Dear Reader,

In this newsletter we can exclusively reveal that the DWP have lost 70,000 ESA underpayment claimants and saved themselves £75 million as a result.

We ask if your council owes you money?

We warn that ESA claimants will struggle to move onto universal credit, according to the Salvation Army.

And we discover that whilst the DWP have virtually given up on sanctions for ESA, they are still punishing large numbers of UC claimants.

We also highlight the claim that the minister for disabled people was amused and having ‘a bit of a smirk’ about a debate into DWP-related claimant deaths.

And finally, we ask you to make sure the DWP don’t get away with pretending that they listen to disabled claimants.

 

DWP LOSES 70,000 ESA UNDERPAYMENT CLAIMANTS
The DWP has closed the cases of 70,000 ESA claimants it was attempting to contact about possible underpayments, because it has lost track of them.

It’s certainly not bad news for the DWP.

It will pocket at least £75 million that should have been paid to some of the most vulnerable claimants.

The underpayments came about when claimants were transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA between 2011 and 2014.

The DWP failed to identify many thousands of cases where the claimant should have been entitled to additional premiums.

The missing claimants amount to about one in eight of all the cases the DWP have been looking at.

Around 15,000 of them are likely to be entitled to a back payment averaging £5,000 each.

The DWP say that if the missing claimants get in touch, the department will still look at whether they are entitled to anything.

But the DWP itself, having sent four letters to whatever address they held for each claimant from up to a decade ago and tried twice to ring a no longer used phone number, will make no further efforts to find them.

 

DOES YOUR COUNCIL OWE YOU MONEY?
Claimants like those above who were owed ESA by the DWP may be owed money by their local council as well.

Because some claimants will have had to pay their local council too much towards their personal care.

This is likely to happen when councils take into account whether a claimant is receiving premiums, such as the enhanced disability premium, when calculating a claimant’s minimum income guarantee.

Claimants with premiums have their minimum income guarantee set at a higher level and thus have to contribute less of their benefits towards their personal care.

Enfield Council has sent letters to around 200 residents who it believes may have been overcharged for care as a result of the DWP’s error.

However, many other councils are either unaware of the issue or are reluctant to take any action to put money back in claimants’ pockets.

 

ESA CLAIMANTS WILL STRUGGLE TO MOVE ONTO UC, WARNS SALVATION ARMY
The Salvation Army are not known for their radical views.

But they are the latest organisation to warn that the forced movement of claimants from ESA to UC is a disaster waiting to happen.

Researchers for the Salvation Army found that 85% of their users struggled to complete a UC claim.

42% said that mental health issues were the main reason they had problems claiming UC.

The Salvation Army is warning that there is now overwhelming evidence that unless the government provide more support for people to apply, vulnerable people will struggle to access their benefits.

The charity says that millions could be left unable to buy food, pay their rent, and take care of their children.

One claimant interviewed by the Salvation Army was a 36 year old father who told them:

“I suffer from anxiety and depression and have been coming to The Salvation Army’s foodbank since I was put on Universal Credit two years ago. It’s really tough and I’ve been sanctioned for missing appointments when I was ill. I’ve also been sanctioned for not looking online for work, but I don’t have access to the internet now because I had to pawn my laptop and my phone to get money to look after my kids.”

 

ESA SANCTIONS REGIME VIRTUALLY ABANDONED, BUT UC SANCTIONS REMAIN
The DWP has surreptitiously all but abandoned sanctions for ESA and JSA claimants, but left them firmly in place for UC claimants, the latest DWP figures show.

For ESA, sanction rates were at their highest in April 2014 when 5,565 claimants were sanctioned, representing 1.04% of ESA claimants.

Since then numbers have steadily dropped.

In the latest month for which figures are available, June 2019, there were just 122 sanctions, representing 0.04% of ESA claimants.

For JSA, the number sanctioned has fallen to just 95.

For UC, the percentage of sanctions has fallen from a high of 9.3% of claimants to a current rate of 2.4%

But that is still very much higher than for ESA or JSA and amounts to a massive 38,181 claimants in the last month figures are available for.

It is not news that will be welcomed by ESA claimants waiting to be migrated to UC.

 

MINISTER ACCUSED OF BEING AMUSED BY CLAIMANT DEATH DEBATE
Labour MP Debbie Abrahams accused the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, of having ‘a bit of a smirk’ and finding something ‘amusing’ about a debate on Monday into the deaths of claimants.

Tomlinson denied the accusation, which came almost immediately after Abrahams had read out a list of 20 claimants who had taken their own lives.

The Labour MP is calling for a full independent inquiry into benefits-related deaths

Abrahams also talked about the inquest into the death of Errol Graham who died of starvation after his benefits were stopped.

She described how angered his family were by the behaviour of the QC acting for the DWP who, she said:

“ . . . tried to intimidate not just the family but others, shouting at the police officer who found Errol’s body about what else he had seen. In particular, they were deeply offended that the police officer was asked whether he had found any takeaway menus or cartons.”

If a DWP minister was smirking during a debate about claimant deaths and if the DWP did try to place the blame for starving to death on a vulnerable claimant, then an independent inquiry may be far from adequate.

The complete disbanding of the entire hate-driven department may be the only solution.

But an inquiry would be a good place to start.

 

SSAC WANTS TO KNOW IF THE DWP LISTEN TO YOU
Which brings us on to our final item.

Have you ever tried to take part in one of the DWP’s consultations?

Did you feel that the DWP listened to you?

Were your suggestions taken seriously and acted upon?

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) are consulting on how the DWP should involve disabled people in changing how it works.

They especially want to hear from you if you have taken part in a previous DWP consultation exercise.

The DWP will undoubtedly portray themselves as an organisation that consults extensively and listens carefully to the views of disabled people and their organisations.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Take part in the SSAC consultation and tell them how much the DWP really listens.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

DLA to PIP success
“Today I got my pip mandatory reconsideration letter, I’d like to thank everybody for their help. This site is a godsend. My original decision was standard for both, I was 2 points off of enhanced for both.
Today I got the letter saying they had changed their decision to enhanced for both what a relief.”


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: 67248

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
Minister accused of smirking and being amused by claimant death debate

SSAC want to know if the DWP listen to you

ESA sanctions regime virtually abandoned, but UC sanctions remain

Exclusive: DWP has saved over £75 million by losing 70,000 ESA underpayment claimants

Attendance allowance claims taking three times as long

Does your council owe you money?

ESA claimants will struggle to move onto UC, warns Salvation Army

Secretive Serious Case Panel will not investigate individual deaths

 

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.

Thank you – your guides were invaluable!
“Just a quick post to say the biggest thank you I could possibly give to everyone at Benefits and Work. I received my PIP review form in late December and subscribed here so I could use the guide. I also used your diary template and included a ton of evidence - a lot of stuff I probably wouldn't have thought to include if it wasn't for your guide. I've had never had a DLA or PIP review go ahead without needing a mandatory reconsideration and lots of involvement from health care providers, MPs etc, and my migration from DLA to PIP was truly hellish, so I was expecting a rough time ahead to keep my award. Just over three weeks since DWP received my form back, I got a brown envelope through and I felt sick opening it... but it was a good letter for a change! My award is staying the same and for a slightly longer award time than my last. No face to face required. I am elated, this takes so much stress of my mind (which was affecting my health big time), and allows me to focus on keeping moving forward with my health issues and treatment. Thank you so much, the guide is worth every penny of the subscription”

ESA Award
“Hi, I received my decision letter and have been put into the support group with the help of these guides, so many thanks for that.”

PIP Renewal success
“Hello! With this sites support I was able to complete my PIP and UC50 form. They were both renewals. I was awarded the higher rate of PIP for 3 years, my brown envelope arrived 3/4 weeks ago.”

ESA fast decision
“After waiting almost a year for a WCA, I have received a decision within 2 days of the assessment taking place. I now will have contributions based employment and support allowance reinstated. It's been very tough especially with no payments for more than 3 months and being solely reliant on the good will of family and friends. I'm also very grateful for the advice, support and guides found here. Just wanted to say a massive thank you to all for this forum”

Daughter’s successful DLA to PIP
“Hi All, been a member on here for years, since my cancer in 2012 and found this site to be most helpful. My daughter who has learning difficulties has just had a successful DLA to PIP transfer and has enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility. She was only on lower rate for each before, so a very welcome boost for her finances. . . Many thanks to this site for all the information and making things relatively easy for filling out forms.”

PIP Review
“I thought I would post this just to say that good things can happen with PIP. I sent my review form off just under 4 weeks ago and I have got a letter today saying that my PIP is going to carry on at an enhanced rate for both daily and mobility for an ongoing period without the need for a face to face assessment. The only evidence I had was a letter from my doctor confirming my ailments. I did put a lot of information on the form though and did not just put no change like the mods advise, so thank you to them. I find it painful to write so I typed most of the information on separate sheets of paper.
I hope this helps people to know that it is not all bad news with PIP.”


PIP Appeal success!
“Delighted to say after scoring just 2 points at my PIP assessment in March 2019 I have just won my appeal and have been awarded both Daily Care and Mobility both at the higher rate, both awards state it is unappropriate to fix a term.”

Phone call from PIP before Appeal
“So I’m waiting for a pack for an appeal for PIP when this morning I received a phone call from a lovely lady from DWP who was looking at my case prior to sending out a pack, She said that she has decided to award me enhanced rate for care and at the moment standard for mobility! She was so lovely and said she wanted to ask a few questions around my journey planning etc because she wanted to make sure she had all the facts and was hoping to give me more points, I cried so much because I felt so overwhelmed and wasn’t expecting any of this ! She said she will call me back later with the final decision, I thought I was dreaming ha ha.. But what I wanted to say was a massive thank you to this group especially Gordon as he has always been the one to answer my questions
I could not have done my appeal with out you all and the forum has been my inspiration and has kept me going when I’ve felt so helpless”


Thank you. My transfer from DLA to PIP
“I want to thank you for the excellent t PIP guides, I printed it off and read through the guide. When answering each question, I referred carefully to your notes. I previously had DLA Middle rate care and high Mobility. It took me a full month of writing with many attached sheets and papers of medical evidence. I decided to be truthful and viewed my worst day throughout my writing up. I sent pages of medical letters attached. I was examined by ATOS. I kept the interview on a professional but pleasant footing. If people follow the super guides you have provided they should not go far wrong. I have achieved standard Care and Enhanced Mobility. but I know this is fair and the assessor was fair to me. My case will not be reviewed for ten years. Thank you so much to all at Benefit and Work , you helped me more than you will ever know”

 

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: 67248

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