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“Wanted to say a huge Thank you to everyone on this site as I have just received my PIP award back dated to September last year. I followed everything you said to do at each hurdle I met and I won in the end. I couldn't have done it without you. Many many huge thanks.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 74824

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition we reveal more about PIP telephone assessments, including the shouting, eating, rude assessors, barking dogs, unread forms and unasked questions.

We invite members to download the latest PIP claims guide. We’ve included even more vital information if you’re expecting a PIP telephone assessment.

We discover that the government has found the DWP entirely innocent of misleading people, despite the Advertising Standards Authority coming to the opposite conclusion.

We highlight calls for the publication of ‘missing’ coroners reports into claimants’ deaths.

We recommend a Public Law Project webinar for advisers.

And we remind readers about the free Benefits and Work webinars.

 

WHAT PIP TELEPHONE ASSESSMENTS ARE REALLY LIKE, PART TWO
We have now published part two of our findings on PIP telephone assessments, based on over 300 responses from people who have been through the process.

We can now reveal that almost one in five claimants are recording their PIP assessments.

Some who don’t do so regret it afterwards:

“I regret it deeply now. I told the consultant everything that I struggle with and I was awarded 0 points. The letter I've got says everything differently.”

“Unfortunately not, I wish I had. I felt pressured to answer questions at a certain speed, and felt the assessors manner was loud and intimidating, amongst other things.”

We’ve even heard from one claimant where the assessor recorded the interview:

“I was told by the Assessor that she will be recording the assessment, and she asked if I mind, I did not mind at all. Loud dogs barking in assessor’s place or home, half way through the interview. She made no effort to remove them from the area. It was off putting. I think the assessment would of been cut short if they were my dogs barking that loud. A rude, fast talking assessor, who lacked insight about my real medical issue.”

Almost a fifth of people had technical problems with the call.

The number one problem was poor sound quality:

“I frequently couldn't hear him and had to ask him to repeat himself again and again. He seemed to be mumbling and too far away from his phone. He became annoyed and rude just because I couldn't hear or understand him.”

The vast majority of respondents did not have problems with their assessor’s manner.

But a small minority, 8%, found the assessor unfriendly.

Some had a truly unpleasant experience:

“Upset me greatly with her manner. Seemed to be eating also, the whole experience made me feel like nothing, and she told me she had another person after me to talk to.”

“Shouting at me. Forcing me to hurry up.”

“Assessor was very harsh and rude to me. Shouting at me putting pressure on me to answer quickly. Interrupting me saying I didn’t ask that. She made me so scared and anxious I started crying.”

“She was loud, insensitive, and totally fixated on getting to the end of the assessment as fast as possible (possibly because she was running late).”

Another problem highlighted by the survey was assessors not reading the PIP2 form prior to the assessment

“He actually said ‘I haven't read it, have I?’ when I referred to my claim from and supporting evidence as if he thought I was stupid to think he had.”

“Did not have form to hand. offered to send copy . Declined. said she had two other cases that day with no forms”

Many people also felt too few relevant questions were being asked, particularly about the mobility component:

“She asked if I could walk whatever distance. I can physically but due to my mental state (agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks etc) no I can’t most of the time but Didn’t get a chance to explain because she fired another question before I could think. That was the same for most of it if not all.”

A failure to make reasonable adjustments was also reported by a number of respondents, even though it wasn’t an issue we had specifically asked about:

“I wrote, emailed and had someone phone on my behalf to tell IAS and DWP that I have social anxiety and can't use phone. There was no option or I would lose claim. So I took a diazepam to enable me to pick up phone and then had a very stressful, unsatisfying conversation with a HP who had no idea about mental health issues and focused mainly on my physical capabilities. I scored 2 points and have lost my claim.”

We’ve used all the information you’ve shared with us to improve our PIP claims guide even further, as we explain below.

 

EVEN MORE VITAL PIP ASSESSMENT INFORMATION
We’ve updated our guide to PIP claims after studying over 300 responses to our survey on readers’ experiences of PIP telephone assessments.

The guide now includes details of 10 ‘Problems to be ready for’ if you have a PIP telephone assessment, meaning you’ll be prepared for some of the biggest pitfalls that might lie ahead.

It is by far the most comprehensive guide to PIP telephone assessments available anywhere.

You can download the latest version of the Guide to PIP claims and reviews from the PIP page in the Members Only section of the site.

 

DWP NOT GUILTY AFTER ALL
The government has found the DWP blameless in relation to universal credit (UC) adverts last year which caused an outcry and were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The adverts, pretending to be news articles, were found by the ASA to be misleading in at least three different ways.

This included the fact that statistics used by the DWP to show that people move into work faster on UC were five years out of date and related to people who had only been in work for a few hours.

However, an investigation by Government Communication Service (GCS) claimed that the ruling by the ASA was ‘harsh’ and that adopting ‘a more facts-based approach’ would lead to ‘dryer less impactful messages.’

Of course, a facts-based approach might also lead to the truth being told about UC, something which the DWP seems keen to avoid wherever possible.

 

LABOUR CALLS FOR MISSING CORONERS REPORTS TO BE PUBLISHED
Vicky Foxcroft, labour shadow minister for disabled people, has called on the DWP and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to publish two missing reports on the deaths of benefits claimants.

The coroners reports were written in 2015 and 2016 and were both Prevention of Future Deaths reports, which highlight failures in practice by the DWP which could lead to the deaths of more claimants.

These are reports which the DWP was required to act upon.

And the MoJ was supposed to publish on its website

Without publication, it is impossible to tell whether the DWP did act upon them.

Disability News Service has made a string of unsuccessful attempts to obtain copies of the reports.

The MoJ claim that it would be impossible to find them because the reports “are filed under a limited number of categories but these do not include reference to the ‘DWP’”.

However, only around 500 such reports are created a year, so it really wouldn’t be that difficult to identify the missing ones.

The DWP meanwhile, insist that the reports are confidential and it is up to the MoJ to publish them.

Meanwhile, claimants continue to die needlessly because of poor practice by the DWP.

 

PUBLIC LAW PROJECT BENFITS WEBINAR
The Public Law Project is running a two hour webinar for paid and volunteer benefits advisers on 11 June, looking at ‘Public law and welfare benefits during the COVID crisis’

The Public Law Project has been helping claimants and charities challenge unjust benefits regulations via judicial review for many years.

Amongst its high profile successes was the RF case, which overturned the government’s attempts to make it harder for claimants with mental health conditions to claim PIP.

The upcoming webinar aims to help advisers use public law, including judicial review, to support claimants during the current crisis.

The event costs £12, including VAT. There are a small number of free places for volunteer advisers, but PLP is a charity which has done a great deal to support claimants and needs people to pay if they possibly can.

Follow the article link in ‘Benefits News’ below for more details.

 

BENEFITS AND WORK FREE WEBINARS
If you missed Friday’s webinar for claimants on PIP Coronavirus Changes, you can still catch the recording. It runs for an hour and it’s absolutely free.

If you are a professional who offers support with PIP claims in the course of your work, there’s still time to register for the Professionals PIP Coronavirus Changes webinar, running again this Friday 5 June at 2pm – 3pm.

Feedback from the last time this was run was very positive, with every one of the 73 people who completed the post-webinar survey saying they would attend another Benefits and Work webinar:

“A nice short well-paced webinar giving information about changes to PIP related processes in the Covid-19 situation. Easy to digest information summarised on slides and illustrated verbally by the 2 affable knowledgeable presenters. I was able to pass on to advisors and caseworkers relevant points which they have found useful. Thank you, please let me know when you're doing more webinars.”

Glynis Boucher, Training Supervisor, Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove

“I attended the Webinar last Friday and thought it was interesting and helpful to my job as ‘Welfare Rights Advisor’ with Whitechapel Centre. I would certainly attend any future ones you may hold for professionals!”

Maureen Doyle - Welfare Rights Advisor

“It was great to join the webinar as it gave me all the key information and the presenters were knowledgeable and informative. I would like to thank them as they had worked so well together and gave the group the opportunity to feed into the questions and give their experience. At this time it felt we were connected!! Again, thank you.”

Christine Land, Macmillan Project Manager, Central Citizens Advice

You will need to register with your work email address, for this webinar though, not a Hotmail, gmail or similar one.

We’re also working on two new webinars, the first of which we aim to have up and running in the next month. More details in the newsletter as soon as they are available.

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: 74824

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
Public Law Project welfare benefits webinar

What PIP telephone assessments are really like, part two

Labour calls for ‘missing’ coroners reports on deaths of claimants to be published

DWP not guilty of advertising breach after all, government inquiry finds

 

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.

Thanks B and W – PIP award
“Just wanted to say a massive thanks for all the help and support, as just received notice that I've been awarded PIP. Couldn't have done it without you. Process was complex without your guidance. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciated your help.”

DLA to PIP result..
“Well, we did it! Enhanced Daily Living (13 points), & Enhanced Mobility (12)! It's taken close on a year and has been a mix of your help, my husband, and in fairness the DWP, Oh and me. So thank you for your support”

Thank you – DLA to PIP
“I would just like to say thank you after receiving news today that my DLA - PIP transfer has awarded me enhanced for both living and mobility. My friend who helped me fill in the forms used the guides from my subscription that I had downloaded to my laptop…. A big weight off my shoulders.”

DLA to PIP
“Yesterday I received my assessors report, full of inaccuracies and contradictions but scoring me 13 points for daily living, and 12 for mobility, brilliant news assuming that the DWP will act on the report and make an award in line with the points proposed by the assessor, and in no small part due to the advice, information and support offered here. Thank you!”

Thank you – successful DLA to PIP
“I had the dreaded brown envelope today. The one day when the postman was extremely late arriving at 5pm. Sitting her scared to open it I finally plucked up the courage to do it. I was award enhanced for both care and mobility till October 2022, such a huge relief and can finally rest after starting the transfer from DLA high on both over to PIP. I had 2 face to face consultations cancelled 1 a few hours before the appointment and the 2nd time as I was being wheeled into the assessment centre. Then the covid-19 hit and it was the waiting a phone assessment. The lady who called me was really nice and very friendly but I know that doesn’t always count for much. But I want to say a huge thank you to Gordon and all the team for the great guides that they publish to help us all with out these guides I wouldn’t be sitting her this evening know that I can relax for the first time in many many many months.Thank you again”

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: 74824

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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