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Miracles happen: Pre Appeal, DWP Changed its mind
Cannot believe it, just 10 days before the Appeal, the DWP has changed its mind and previous award– enhanced for both – reinstated. In the last month or so I’ve come very close to giving up so can only say to others PLEASE DON’T as miracles can happen. . . Thank you so very, very much, I’ve used B & W’s pro formas at every stage and cannot imagine what I would have done otherwise. THANK YOU!!!!!

 

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Dear Reader,

In this edition we learn that the DWP have loudly trumpeted bogus changes to PIP and WCA assessments, whilst quietly announcing that the private sector are getting new contracts to carry on as before.

We discover that PIP claimants are coming under huge pressure to drop their appeals and accept lower awards than they are entitled to.

We have research that shows that claiming universal credit increases mental health issues and crime.

We reveal that the DWP are destroying evidence about claimant deaths at the same time as the work and pensions committee announce they are going to be quizzing the department on the issue.

And, if you live in Scotland, we have the good news that young people there will soon be given the option to stay on DLA until they are 18, rather than being forced to apply for PIP at 16.

 

BOGUS PIP AND WCA CHANGES, SAME OLD PRIVATE SECTOR CONTRACTS
The government has announced that it will begin piloting a small scale, in-house, integrated PIP and WCA assessment service, but not until Autumn 2021.

It was back in March 2019 that the DWP first gave an undertaking that they would work towards an integrated assessment service for PIP and the WCA.

So it will have taken an outrageous two and a half years to even begin the pilot.

It will only be “on a small scale in a defined part of the country, a Transformation Area”.

The new service will be run in-house by the DWP and will look at:

  • trialling better ways of carrying out face-to-face assessments;
  • how to ensure that only those people who need a face-to-face assessment will have to undergo one;
  • how to remove the need for claimants to give the same information twice.

There was no mention of piloting a joint assessment for both PIP and ESA/UC.

This will probably come as a relief to many claimants, who are fearful that a single assessment could wipe out both benefits at once.

Meanwhile, however, the minister also announced that the DWP are inviting private sector bids to run the PIP and WCA assessment services from 1 August 2021, when the current contracts expire.

The new contracts are likely to be for 5 years and will cover most of the UK, except for the tiny ‘transformation area’ and Scotland, where the Scottish government will be in control of PIP.

Any improvements discovered by the DWP in-house team will be passed on to the private sector contractors carrying out the bulk of the assessments

So, five more years of plenty for Atos, Capita and Maximus or their rivals and five more years of assessments and appeals for sick and disabled claimants.

 

DWP PRESSURING PIP CLAIMANTS INTO DROPPING APPEALS
The DWP are trying to intimidate an increasing number of PIP claimants into dropping their appeals and accepting a lower award than they are likely to be entitled to.

Claimants who have lodged a PIP appeal are receiving a phone call from a decision maker who offers them a higher award.

But they are told that if they do not accept the offer either immediately or within a few hours it will be withdrawn.

Claimants are not given time to get independent advice and are left feeling under enormous pressure to give in, even if they think the new award is still too low.

This is almost certainly unlawful and unquestionably bad practice.

If a decision maker believes a higher award is appropriate they should simply revise their decision, regardless of whether the claimant agrees or not.

What the claimant is not told is that, even if they accept the offer, they are free to then lodge an appeal against it and they do not need to go through the mandatory reconsideration process again.

We are updating our appeals guide to warn people of this sharp practice by the DWP and explain how to deal with it.

 

DWP HAS DESTROYED CLAIMANT DEATH EVIDENCE
The DWP is knowingly destroying evidence in relation to claimant deaths in what is increasingly looking like a deliberate cover-up.

The latest revelations come from a Freedom of Information request for details of investigations into claimant deaths carried out from 2010

The DWP responded by saying that records prior to 2015-16 have been destroyed or are incomplete.

They claim they did this in order to comply with The Data Protection Act

In fact, it is a breach of the Act to destroy data that is still required.

In this case, data about claimant deaths absolutely should be retained if not indefinitely, at least until there is no possibility of the same mistakes being made again.

To destroy this information, in some cases when their relatives have asked to see it and been refused, is at best negligent and, at worst, verging on the criminal.

Meanwhile, the Commons work and pensions committee has slammed the “incredible secrecy” over the DWP’s handling of claimant deaths and their inability to show that any changes have resulted from scores of investigations.

The committee has said it will ask DWP officials to detail what action they have taken as a result of a damning National Audit Office report on claimant deaths.

We can’t help feeling it will be a very a short session.

 

UC HARMS MENTAL HEALTH AND INCREASES CRIME
A study by Liverpool University looked at data provided by 52,000 individuals between 2009 and 2018.

The researchers found a 6.6% increase in mental health issues amongst UC claimants compared to non-claimants.

This amounts to an extra 63,674 people experiencing psychological distress, of whom 21,760 were likely to have reached the diagnostic threshold for depression.

The study deliberately excluded people who were unable to work because of a disability.

The study also found that UC did not increase the likelihood of moving into work.

Separately, Ben Bradford, professor of global city policing, University College London, has been researching the impact of Universal Credit on crime.

His findings are being reviewed and are yet to be published.

But Bradford says:

“We found quite a strong effect. The introduction of Universal Credit into an area looked like it had the effect of increasing recorded crime in that area.”

“Violent crime clusters very heavily in deprived neighbourhoods... this is not rocket science. Violent crime is more likely to occur in poorer neighbourhoods because they are poor, and being poor has an effect.”

 

DLA AGE LIMIT TO BE RAISED TO 18 IN SCOTLAND
The age limit for disability living allowance (DLA) is to be raised to 18 for existing claimants from September, the Scottish government has announced.

The Scottish government takes over disability benefits in April of this year.

They say that they want to spare families the stress of changing from DLA to PIP at the same time as young people may be going through a number of other changes in their life.

As a result, young people in Scotland who are getting DLA and are due to turn 16 from September will no longer be invited to apply for PIP.

The Scottish government is planning to launch a replacement for PIP in 2021.

Readers will be unsurprised to learn that no similar changes are planned in the rest of the UK, where the DWP is still in charge.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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PIP CLAIMS TRAINING DAY

Thursday 25 June, Manchester

“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

Get more details and download a booking form.

 

BENEFITS NEWS
DWP pressuring PIP claimants into dropping appeals

DLA age limit to be raised to 18 in Scotland

DWP announces bogus PIP and WCA assessment changes at same time as offering new private sector contracts

DWP to be quizzed over claimant deaths

Universal Credit increases crime

Independent experts find claiming UC increases mental health issues

Errol Graham family begin legal action against DWP

DWP claimant deaths cover-up

 

GOOD NEWS BY EMAIL
We haven’t published any email feedback for a while, so below is a small selection. 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 so much”
I received my decision about my new claim for PIP. Enhanced rate on care and mobility, thanks to B&W guidance. Thank you so much.
Andrea

“Thank you once again for your amazing guidance”
I just wanted to share my experience with you and say thank you. I have just moved from DLA to PIP. The process was horrendous but I was well prepared with your help. The form is possibly the worse form I have ever had to fill in and thanks to your guidance, which explained everything properly, I managed to fill it in. I then had the inevitable Assessment which was a nightmare and the following report was a joke. It was full of lies and the HP picked and chose what information to put in there. I then got the decision and was awarded lower rate for daily living and enhanced for mobility with a 1 and half year review date. I asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration and took the documents to my GP who called the report a load of rubbish and wrote me a letter. All my medical conditions are long term and degenerative. This is the surprising bit, the DWP made a decision within 2 days of receiving my evidence and I got awarded enhanced rate for both parts and an ongoing claim (indefinite). I can't believe they made the decision so quick. Please tell people not to give up and fight the department for what they are entitled too, it's worth the effort even if it does drive you crazy while you are going through it.
Thank you once again for your amazing guidance.
Naomi

“I couldn't have done it without your thorough guides”
I just wanted to say thank you for your very informative and helpful site. Having read your guides and information I felt equipped to deal with my Pip appeal. I had been invited to claim pip resulting in a reduced award than my DLA, i was then “reviewed” and saw my award reduce again. Armed with your helpful info, i went to appeal, I won, my award is now enhanced for both daily living and mobility and has been given as indefinite, an incredible result, I couldn't have done it without your thorough guides.
Dont give up, fight for your rights and arm yourself with knowledge
Thank you once again!
Chloe

“Thank you, thank you and thank you”
Just a quickish email to say a huge thank you to Benefits and Work.
My partner not only had to complete a limited capability form and attend the harrowingly stressful CHDA Assessment, but she also made a PIP claim and endured a Capita Assessment 10 days after our visit to our local CHDA Centre.
We made full use of your fantastic, informative and easy to understand guides and were chuffed to bits when it was confirmed she'd been accepted into the Lcwra group - within 3 days of her medical!
She has now just had confirmation that her PIP claim was successful and has been given enhanced mobility too. Elated, relieved, shocked are just some of the emotions we are both feeling at the moment. This is days after we read your bulletin about October's appallingly low new PIP claim acceptance figures from DWP.
Thank you, thank you and thank you. It might be hard to cobble together, or justify the small subscription fee for B&W when budgeting for basics is a struggle, but it is, by far, the best decision we made for us, our family and our sanity.
Thank you so much again - feel free to quote me far and wide!!!!!
Jon and Holly

“I cannot thank you enough”
I cannot thank you enough for all the help and advice that you provide. It gave me the confidence to take on the DWP after my son's reconsideration was turned down following the law change on psychological distress and the mobility component in PIP. I followed your advice and wrote to them disagreeing with their decision and included all evidence I had. This letter was completely ignored for months but it did prompt a full PIP review which awarded him enhanced/enhanced. I called the DWP about the original letter I had written regarding their earlier decision and was informed it hadn't even been looked at. I had a really helpful contact centre worker who promised that she'd raise the issue for me. 3 weeks later a letter arrived from the DWP awarding my son enhanced mobility from the date of the original claim and awarding a substantial back payment. Once again, thank you. I wouldn't have had the courage to stand my ground had it not been for the help and advice from yourselves.
Collette

“Thank you very much B&W”
“Invited to transfer from DLA higher mobility & care to PIP. Bought the B&W subscription and downloaded the guides. Spent a week understanding from these guides what PIP really wanted from me. I contacted my GP and wrote to my consultants (found out they didn't really know what PIP is awarded for) informed them about my daily living needs. I gathered some medical evidence from my own GP (no charge) to evidence subsidiary diagnosis' and treatments. You should ensure PIP really understand from your explanation, the impact on what you say you can or can't do daily (write these down or logged). At first, I received 11pts standard care; Mobility enhanced. I politely requested a mandatory reconsideration. I believed it was worth chancing the whole PIP being reassessed. Was awarded enhanced care and mobility, ongoing (at least 2029). Thank you very much B&W. Your guides are worth every penny.”
Viv

“thank you for putting it in language that is easily understood”
“I am writing to thank you. I have recently moved from DLA to pip and used your guides to help me both with the application and the assessment. Today I have heard that I have received the enhanced rate for mobility and daily living and even better my review date is 2029.  I do not think I would have done so well without your help so thank you for that and thank you for putting it in language that is easily understood.”
Beth

“we are grateful for your support”
In March 2016, I was awarded Enhanced Rate of PIP for both Daily Living and Mobility, until March 2020. I completed the renewal process last month, submitting it on 31st October. Today, I received that dreaded brown envelope from the DWP with their decision: Enhanced Rate for both again, until 19th November, 2029. Yes, ten years; no medical, no Mandatory Reconsideration, no tribunal.
When I applied for DLA, I did not know about your website; the process took 16 months and went to tribunal, where I was awarded 3 years Higher Rate for both in less two minutes in the room - no exaggeration. The initial PIP application, when I was transferred from DLA, took 40 hours, 20 typed pages (dictated), plus 11 pieces of evidence. The renewal process took me 15 hours, 14 pages, and 9 pieces of evidence. In both applications, I used your website and the resources to complete the form. I cannot thank you and your team enough for helping me get this much needed award renewed so seamlessly. I was terrified, I was put back on high doses of antidepressants, and was back to having meltdowns almost every day (I’m autistic).
Your work here is vital, so please know that on behalf of both my family and myself, we are grateful for your support.
Josephine

 

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: 82375

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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