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PIP success
“I have just received official notification that I have managed to get PIP restored for my older Autistic brother. This was the result of preparation through information on this site, and a telephone assessment with someone who really understood his condition. This may be "the luck of the draw" but it is a massive load of my mind. It's also the end of 18 months of serious stress for my family. The bonus is that it will not be reviewed for 10 years. I am so grateful to this organisation for the information, without which I wouldn't have had a clue where to start.”

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Dear Reader

In this edition, we share the results of our survey which has uncovered the techniques used by the DWP to cheat PIP claimants out of mobility awards for mental health.

In response to the DWP’s tactics, we have updated PIP claims guide – it now includes 8 pages solely on ‘Going out’ – and we are offering members the chance to attend a two hour webinar on the PIP mobility component for mental health.

We also reveal that face-to-face assessments are still suspended for all benefits, but PIP reviews, reassessments and renewals have restarted.

We warn that sanctions are back for universal credit, with the coronavirus exemption removed.

We learn that there has been a sharp rise in the death rate for PIP claimants, but the DWP say they won’t pay to look at the figures for other benefits.

And we report that a ‘Stop benefits deaths’ petition has been launched. At the same time as the EHRC refuses to investigate claimant deaths and the DWP declines to apologise for them.

Finally, we explain the late arrival of the results of our telephone assessment or face-to-face survey.

 

HOW PIP CLAIMANTS ARE CHEATED OUT OF MOBILITY AWARDS
PIP claimants with mental health conditions are being cheated out of awards of the mobility component by assessors and decision makers who are failing to collect evidence and misapplying the law, Benefits and Work can reveal.

The shocking evidence for these tactics comes from our survey of over 1,000 newsletter subscribers who have applied for the PIP mobility component because of mental health.

They have told us how their evidence about problems with planning and following a route was simply not included in the assessor’s report.

'Can you plan and navigate a journey?' No, my son does this. 'Do you use an app to plan your

journey?' My son does this. (I told him I always use a taxi, always the same company, always

with my son, only ever go to doctor and hospital appts usually. None of this appeared in the

report).

Others were misled about whether they might qualify:

When I asked the assessor to consider my mental health, they said unless I was cowering in the corner and unable to speak I wouldn't get any consideration for mobility on mental health grounds.

asked if I had a car? I said yes and she said if you can drive you wont be awarded the mobilty part !!

In many cases a tiny amount of evidence was used to unlawfully justify refusal. Much of this related to driving a car, as above, or simply having a current driving licence.

Said I had a driving license that I had used as ID

Said i drive myself and work full time ,neither is true .what is true is i own a car that unable to use

most of time and have lifts from husband or use taxi. not been to work for almost a year.

In fact, as the decision maker knows, when deciding on eligibility for the mobility component the law requires the DWP to look at the ability to follow a route on foot, using public transport and by car.

All three, not just one.

But being able to use taxis, getting to hospital appointments, turning up at a face-to-face assessment or even walking the dog were also wrongly used to refuse awards.

She can plan a journey and can get to the shops with her friend using a taxi and is able to

attend her psychiatric appointments by taxi without being accompanied (I had said I do this and

used the same taxi for years and the same driver - all was disregarded)

said i was able to go to my hairdressers who I have known for over 25 years.

Stated attendance at face to face was evidence enough to say no difficulties with mobilising

and coping with travel plans etc

I was asked if I go out at all, so said I walk the dog at 11pm when there is no one around and it

is quiet. Because I could do this, I wasn't given mobility.

In reality, being able to undertake one-off journeys, such as to an assessment or a hospital appointment, or even familiar journeys does not mean you don’t qualify.

Many other factors, such as the ability to follow unfamiliar routes, being able to reliably undertake journeys and the effect on you afterwards must all be taken into account.

That’s what the law says.

Sadly, its definitely not what the DWP does. As many of the people who responded to our survey discovered to their cost.

 

UPDATED GUIDE AND WEBINAR
To help our members deal with these unlawful tactics, we have updated our guide to PIP claims and reviews.

It now contains 8 pages just on completing the Going Out page of the PIP2 How your disability affects you form.

Which is a ridiculous amount of information for a single page of a form, we agree.

But it’s the most complex of the PIP activities.

And it is worth £62.25 a week, for those who meet the criteria for the enhanced rate.

So we think it’s worth spending some time getting it right. Especially when the DWP work so hard at getting it wrong.

It is also why we are running an extra-long, 2 hours in all, members only webinar on claiming the PIP mobility component on mental health grounds on 20 July.

Over 250 members have already registered to give themselves the best possible chance of getting the correct decision, but there are still spaces left.

Both the guide and the webinar will help ensure that you give all the evidence that’s needed to get the appropriate award in your case, even if you have to go to a tribunal to do so.

 

FACE-TO-FACE ASSESSMENTS STILL SUSPENDED
The DWP has announced that face-to-face assessments for benefits remain suspended, to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus. But this will be kept under review.

Meanwhile PIP and DLA reviews and reassessments will gradually resume from this month, starting with those claims which were already underway when they were suspended.

The DWP say they will shortly be writing out to some PIP and DLA claimants asking them to complete paperwork to resume their reviews, reassessments and renewals.

If your paperwork has already been returned, you may soon hear from an assessment provider.

 

UC CORONAVIRUS SANCTIONS EXEMPTION REMOVED
The DWP have updated their universal credit guidance to remove the exemption from sanctions for claimants who are affected by coronavirus.

The guidance was changed to remove the wording:

'You will not get a sanction if you cannot keep to your Claimant Commitment because of coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

There is no explanation of how this will work in practice, but it gives DWP staff more freedom to apply sanctions to disabled claimants who are a greater risk from COVID-19 and have altered their behaviour accordingly.

 

SHARP RISE IN PIP CLAIMANT DEATHS
There has been a sharp rise in the deaths of PIP claimants since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures, obtained by Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, show a rise of 15% in the deaths of PIP claimants in April this year compared to last year.

Abrahams also asked for the figures for universal credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance.

However, the DWP have refused to make these available as they “could only be provided at disproportionate cost”.

Abrahams told the Disability News Service:

“It’s just not good enough that DWP ministers dismiss my request for these data – they should know about the deaths of claimants in all circumstances to understand what this means for the social security system that is meant to be there to support them. I’m not letting this go.”

 

BENEFITS DEATH PETITION
Rethink Mental Illness have launched a petition calling for an in dependent inquiry into benefits deaths, arguing that:

‘The clock is ticking. The Government will move people from Employment and Support Allowance to Universal Credit in November – it is crucial that we understand the circumstances of these deaths before embarking on this change.’

The petition is supported by a wide range of other charities, including Child Poverty Action Group, Disability Rights UK, Liberty, Mind and the MS Society.

Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has finally refused to investigate benefits deaths after dragging its feet on making a decision on the matter for over a year.

It is now blaming the pandemic for its shameful lack of action.

At the same time, the Work and Pensions Committee has condemned DWP secrecy over its investigation into benefits deaths.

The secretary of state, Therese Coffey, is still refusing to give any information whatsoever about the Serious Case Panel which was supposedly set up to ensure that the DWP learnt lessons from the deaths of claimants.

This refusal extends to not even saying what the terms of refence of the panel are, let alone what findings it has made.

Coffey has also refused to say whether any families have received an apology from the DWP.

Which strongly suggest that not a single apology has been made.

Never apologise. Never explain. Ignore the law.

It may not be the DWP’s motto, but it certainly could be.

 

TELEPHONE OR FACE-TO-FACE?
Many thanks to the over 3,000 readers who completed our survey asking which would you choose, PIP telephone or face-to-face assessment? We had intended to give you the results in this newsletter.

But almost 1,500 respondents also left comments, some of them quite detailed.

When people take the trouble to leave a comment, we always aim to read and try to learn from them.

Which means we haven’t finished analysing the results yet.

But we will have them for you in the next newsletter.

And they are definitely worth a read.

So, we’ll be with you in a fortnight, in the final newsletter before our summer break

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

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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.

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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.
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BENEFITS NEWS

How PIP claimants are cheated out of mobility component awards for mental health

Face-to-face assessments still suspended but PIP reviews, reassessments and renewals restart

UC coronavirus sanctions exemption removed

Sharp rise in PIP claimant deaths as DWP says it won’t pay to check figures for other benefits

Coffey refuses to say if a single apology has been issued to benefits deaths families

EHRC refuses to investigate benefits deaths

Stop benefits deaths petition launched

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL

With most PIP and ESA reviews and reassessments on hold and the number of new PIP claims plummeting, the forum is much quieter at the minute.

But, 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.

UC phone assessment and LCWRA – thank you!
“After months of waiting, I had my phone assessment at 1pm yesterday and got my decision at 11am today! Thank you so much for your guides (and especially the tip of writing notes beforehand)
I don't think I've been this happy in years!”

PIP Result
“Thank you so much for everyone's help & the guidance forms on this website
I got my PIP award, standard rate for both. Had my telephone assessment on the 15 May & had money paid into my bank account on the 8 June. Certainly was unexpected, very quick result. Had a confirmation letter on Saturday.”

My successful PIP story
“Hi All.. This is what happened to me when I applied for PIP. It was my first application having been turned for DLA several years ago. 2019:
14 August I phoned to start the application… 12 November Assessment… 2 December Decision made and award letter received. Standard Daily Living. No Mobility. For an ongoing period. 16 December I posted my MR letter together with all the original evidence… 3 February A Case Manager phoned me to discuss the points made in my MR letter… 12 February I received the decision.. Enhanced Daily Living and Standard Mobility.. 5 March I posted an on-line Appeal for Mobility.. 29 May A letter from the Tribunal Service. The appeal had been lapsed as a new decision had been made…
8 June After a phone call to the DWP I received a decision letter. Enhanced Daily Living and Enhanced Mobility for an ongoing period. I had hoped for Standard Daily Living and Enhanced Mobility at most so I am over the moon with the result.
All of this took place after my 65th birthday and my conditions are mainly Musculo-skeletal. Most of my evidence was old but I had an up-to-date GP report. From this experience I learned that:
You use the guides (they are invaluable and so so good)
. . . Use lots of examples of how your conditions make life difficult . . . Don’t limit yourself to the space on the PIP2 form . . . I couldn’t have done any of this without this site, the guides, Gordon, Gary and BIS, and all the other contributors and would like to thank you all.”


Support Group without medical
“hi..thanks for all the help i was awarded support group without medical..”

Can't begin to express how relieved I am
I just wanted to let you know that, thanks to your comprehensive guides, I remain LCWRA on UC.
It was completed on paper and the assessor called me to confirm one point. This was on Friday and I heard back Monday morning with good news. Can't begin to express how relieved I am.
Thank you for these guides. They are invaluable and take away a majority of the stress related to the form.
Clare

Thank you, thank you.
We have just received the news that our son's claim for PIP (moving from DLA) has been successful. More than successful in fact - he has moved to the enhanced rate for Daily Living, from the standard rate, and has also been given a 10 year award. He remains on the standard Mobility rate. It has been a tough process, not least because he had a telephone assessment which was very stressful. He is autistic and assessments are very hard for him, even with support. I'm not sure how we would have managed without the guidance on the Benefits and Work website, as well as the recent Covid-19 webinars. Thank you, thank you. We now feel a huge sense of relief.
Sarah

Thank you for your wonderful website
I applied for UC50 on Wednesday. ( had to wait 3 months before I could apply because of CV19.) My application was received on Friday. Got a phone call to clarify some questions on Tuesday. Got a letter today on my UC journal saying I have satisfied the criteria for LCWRAG ! Overjoyed . Thank you for your wonderful website.
Jane

Thank you all so much
Thank you all so much for the wonderful online support, webinars and information regarding PIP. I applied in January and, with your site’s help, I self completed all the relevant forms and then had a telephone assessment 3 weeks ago. I have just received notification that I have been awarded enhanced rates for both daily living and mobility until December 2022. This has been backdated so I’ve had a lovely surprise appear in my bank account.
I would never have had the confidence to complete the forms and participate in the near 2 hr telephone assessment had it not been for your help.
Gill

 

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: 85647

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