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DLA to PIP Award
“Having been awarded ESA support group with no face to face assessment using your helpful guides I almost immediately faced completing forms to transfer from DLA to PIP. I completed the forms again with the help of your Guides and was phoned to arrange a Medical assessment. I was in hospital at the time and it took from September to February for an assessment to be arranged on the ground floor. I was very apprehensive but the male nurse who assessed me was polite and he listened. Within a month I was awarded standard rate care and enhanced mobility so was very relieved and I just want to express my thanks to your excellent organisation.”

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Dear Reader,

After the blizzard of benefits news in the last edition, things have become much quieter, with parliament in recess and the nation gripped by the unfolding crisis.

However, there’s a warning from the Disability Benefits Consortium that some disabled claimants could be thousands of pounds a year worse off because of coronavirus.

And plans to improve the benefits system for disabled claimants in Scotland have had to be put on hold.

But we have the good news that some claimants will see more money in their bank accounts, as the DWP suspend recovery of overpayments.

And there’s also a welcome relaxation to the rules around carers allowance.

Finally, we’ll be running some free short webinars over the coming weeks. The first will be about PIP changes, but we’d like your suggestions for webinar topics for the future.

 

SOME DISABLED CLAIMANTS COULD BE THOUSANDS WORSE OFF
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has pointed out to the government that a £20 a week increase in universal credit will not apply to claimants of legacy benefits such as ESA.

This is in spite of the fact that legacy benefit claimants are facing the same financial challenges as everyone else, even more so in many cases because of the effect of years of frozen benefits.

In addition, disabled workers who lose their jobs in the coming months because of an economic downturn will have no transitional protection (TP) when they are obliged to claim UC.

As the Consortium points out:

“Disabled people in work and parents of disabled children stand to lose far more than most people if they lose TP – sometimes amounting to thousands of pounds a year. This will make it even more difficult for them to recover from the economic shock of the next few months.”

The DBC are calling for a range of extra measures to help disabled claimants, including the restoration of the Work-Related Activity Group (and UC equivalent Limited Capability for Work) addition.

Sadly, there is no indication that the government is listening.

 

SCOTTISH BENEFITS CHANGES POSTPONED
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Scottish government is to postpone changes to benefits which had the potential to make life easier for disabled claimants.

The introduction of Child Disability Payment and the Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment, as well a new method of decision making which is aimed at ending face to face assessments, have all been put on hold.

No new date has yet been set for their creation, but a statement should be made in late summer 2020 giving an update.

 

CARERS ALLOWANCE CHANGES
Temporary changes to carer’s allowance rules were announced last week by the DWP as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Carers will be able to continue to claim carer’s allowance if they have a temporary break in caring because they, or the person they care for, gets coronavirus or if they have to isolate because of it. Under normal rules there are restrictions on breaks in care, but these have been lifted.

Providing emotional support, rather than just more traditional forms of care, will also now count towards the carer’s allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

 

BENEFIT OVERPAYMENT RECOVERY SUSPENDED
Some claimants will see a temporary increase in their benefits payments because the DWP have suspended the recovery of benefits overpayments for three months from last week.

Deductions for the recovery of universal credit and legacy benefit overpayments, social fund loans and tax credit debts are being paused.

The DWP say that the majority of deductions will be suspended automatically.

Recovery of overpayments by private sector debt collection agencies have also been suspended.

However, the DWP is continuing to recover advance payments of universal credit.

 

FREE BENEFITS WEBINARS
We will be running a series of free, short benefits webinars over the coming weeks.

The first will be on changes to personal independence payment claims and appeals as a result of coronavirus.

We’d like to hear your views on what other topics you think would be most useful.

We’ve created a very short survey – just two questions – to gather opinions and suggestions. Please complete the survey if you have literally a minute to spare.

Until the next newsletter, we hope that you stay safe in these desperate times. Don’t forget the Coronavirus forum if you have troubles – or encouraging words - you want to share.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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: 57426

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

Free PIP webinar

Benefit overpayment recovery suspended for three months

Carers allowance whilst isolating and for emotional support

Changes to Scottish benefits postponed

Disabled legacy benefits claimants to be hit by coronavirus changes

 

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.

Finally – PIP award
“I had my assessment on 15/11/19 after ringing a few times today I finally got a decision. I was previously on DLA care lower and DLA Mobility higher. The report gave me standard on both. I was told on 16th " someone" was looking at my award again. I have now been given Standard care and enhanced mobility. I cried as can keep my mobility vehicle now. Award lasts 3 years so can breath now until the process starts again. Thank you everyone and good luck on your journeys”

PIP Tribunal success
“Would like to give people hope I won my tribunal today given standard care 10points (given 6 at assessment and no change at mandatory reconsideration)has been a long journey from new claim June 2018 to my tribunal today so pleased ordeal is now over I can now relax a bit as award length 4yrs so got a bit of time to enjoy not been stressed out. Please persevere and keep hope”

Thank you – PIP award
“Just a quick message to say thank for all the support and advice that I have received from this site. After a waiting since the 29th November for a decision regarding my Mum’s change of circumstances (PIP) she has now been told that she will get the standard care allowance and the enhanced mobility allowance. The award was for 10 years as she will be eligible for state pension at the end of the year. She cried in relief as she couldn’t face applying for other benefits and had been surviving on just the standard mobility allowance for the last 18 months.”

PIP change of circumstances success
“Hi Gary, Gordon and BIS, just to let you know that I received my award letter today. I've been changed from 11 points on Daily Living to 18 and from 10 points on Mobility to 22. I know I posted on another thread about going for a mandatory reconsideration as they recommended an 18 month review and based on length of award only. Thankfully they've increased it to 34 months which I am happy with. Thanks so much again for the guides on here and for your advice given. Best wishes to all”

DLA to PIP success
“So, since my second assessment I had no text to say they had all the information they needed and I would hear in 6 weeks etc. But today, I received my award of enhanced for daily living & mobility. Thank you to everyone here and the guides.”

“well worth the subscription”
I am pleased to be able to tell you that I do not need to renew my subscription because my PIP claim was accepted. I have just received my first payment this week. I was awarded the standard rate for care and the higher rate for mobility, which means that I have been able to keep my Motability car. I am absolutely positive that having access to all the material from Benefits and Work enabled me to present a clear case and cover every aspect completely. So thank you very much; the information and help is well worth the subscription.
Maria

“the fabulous work you guys do”
Hello
here i am again, giving thanks, again. I feel its absolutely vital to give credit to all at B&W because i know many, many others, like me, are encouraged by what we read from ordinary Joes, like me.
I was on a lifetime award of DLA and then applied for PIP. I was awarded enhanced rates for both parts for only 2 years until April 2020 but was called again for an assessment in December 2019, 5 months before my award expired. As i have been doing from the year dot, i filled in my PIP 1043 form to the letter of advice from the Benefits & Work guides and had a F to F assessment early December. I received my brown envelope today. I sat for an hour with, i'm embarrassed to say, a glass of wine at 11 IN THE MORNING!!!! Just too frightened to open the damn envelope. So, pulled the letter out. Awarded the same, enhanced rates for both parts for........5 YEARS!!!!!!
I dont care what any of you think....i drank the wine, every last drop!!! I am sooooooo delerious with relief after the stress that every one of us feel during these dark days of welfare reform, i earned it. And boy, was it good.
I will never never never put pen to any benefits claim form without following the advice in the B&W guides. Every form I've completed using the guides has brought me success. Long may you reign, Steve, Holliday and every other person behind the fabulous work you guys do. Thank you.
Lillian

“I found your advice invaluable”
Just a quick note to say that I found your advice invaluable when appealing against two PIP decisions on behalf of relatives who were unable to do so themselves. You gave me all the information that I needed and it all helped me structure my appeal in the best way. Needless to say, the Mandatory Reconsideration was a waste of time, but both final appeals were successful, one going from zero points to standard daily living and mobility, the other from zero points to standard daily living. The appeal judge and panel were friendly and supportive and the representatives from the DWP were both (privately) appalled at what is going on, with so many original judgements being wrong. The whole process took more than a year from start to finish, but it does go to show – it is worth persevering. If you have a good case you have every chance of finally succeeding.
Ben

“my sincerest thanks and appreciation”
“I just wanted to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation for the work put in by your team to help claimants such as myself through the PIP process. After an 8 month slog, with the DWP defiantly awarding me 0 points in respect of every single category of PIP, at both the first decision and then the mandatory reconsideration stages (not to mention justifying it all in the response to my appeal), I finally was awarded 8 points for daily living by the Tribunal. With the prior 8 months of daily living payments at the standard rate backdated, I’ve now been paid around £2000, which means so much to me – especially at a time of unemployment and reemployment presently so difficult due to coronavirus and the freezes on hiring.
Your explanatory guides are absolutely invaluable - especially in encouraging claimants to focus on the impact of their conditions on their daily activities. Drawing attention to words such as “reliably”, “repeatedly”, “to an acceptable standard”, and so on, is spot on! Also, knowing how to scrutinise the integrity of an ill-informed Health Practitioner’s report, question the validity of their “expert” ability to carry out a mental state examination, and align that report to the DWP’s own decision-maker advice documents, makes it so much easier to challenge the blatant discrimination. It’s sad to see the DWP’s failures to recognise mental impairments continue, with a focus on words like “cognition” and “functional” clouding the judgment of those at the DWP should know better about conditions like anxiety disorders and depression.
Thank you again for your work and I wish you all the best for the future. I have no doubt that so many more will benefit from just and informed decisions at the First Tier Tribunal as a direct result of your efforts.
Kind regards and thanks again.”
Josh

 

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: 57426

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

 

Correction:  in this newsletter we originally said that tax credits would not be increased, this was incorrect.  Please see our Coronavirus updates for the current situation.