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Can't overstate how incredible the website is and how much info I have gleaned from it. I have no doubt that you're indirectly saving people's lives.
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Dear Reader,

We begin this edition with the startling news that the DWP has begun a search for potentially thousands of PIP claimants who are owed up to £13,000. We have free downloadable info and, for the first time, a short video explainer as well.

We also have the good news that PIP success rates for telephone assessments are similar to face-to-face assessments, though the same may unfortunately not be true for DLA to PIP reassessments.

We reveal that the DWP are now reviewing thousands of PIP claims a month, but some of our members are concerned they may have been lost from the system.

We are reassured that PIP claim numbers are rising again after their recent huge fall.

We warn that the DWP are not allowing all ESA claimants to bypass the mandatory reconsideration system.

We offer our sincere thanks to the over 700 people who responded to our survey on claiming PIP for arthritis.

We have an additional date for our Claiming PIP Mobility Component On Mental Health Grounds Zoom training.

And we share some feedback from over 600 people who completed our readers survey.

 

PIP CLAIMANTS OWED UP TO £13,000
The DWP is beginning a review of PIP claimants to try to identify those who are owed up to £13,000, because it got the law wrong.

However, not everyone who is eligible for additional payments will be contacted and the DWP have yet to explain how they will look for them.

The search is the result of a Supreme Court decision in July which found that the DWP had not been awarding the correct points to some claimants with mental health conditions who need prompting or social support to engage face-to-face with other people.

Some claimants will have missed out on awards of the standard daily living component since April 2016 and will be entitled to around £13,000 in back payments of PIP.

Plus back payments of means-tested benefits premiums in some cases.

Others who claimed more recently, or who should have got the enhanced rate but only received the standard rate, will be entitled to smaller but still substantial sums.

Amongst those who may have missed out are:

people who have regular meetings with a mental health professional, without which they would not be able to manage face to face encounters;

people who need the input of particular friends or relatives with experience of supporting them in social situations – rather than just any well-meaning friend or relative - to help them manage face to face encounters.

The DWP are to carry out a search going back to April 2016 for potentially affected people, including claimants who didn’t get an award of PIP at all.

But not everyone is confident this will be a well-managed process.

And some people will not be looked at, including people whose claim was made before 6 April 2016 and those whose award was made by a tribunal. You will need to contact the DWP yourself in these circumstances.

The issue is quite a complicated one.

So, we’ve written a detailed, downloadable explanation which tells you who may be affected and what your choices are. We’ve put it on the main PIP page so it doesn’t disappear down the news headlines in a week or two.

You can also watch a 7 minute video explainer in the same place, the first of what we hope will become a regular feature.

Please share the link as this huge error has received very little attention, which no doubt pleases the DWP.

And, in the members’ area, we’ve updated the PIP claims guide with more information on this activity as a result of the judgement and the change in DWP guidance.

Make sure you use the latest version of our PIP claims guide if you’re making a claim based on mental health or if you think you may have been affected by the DWP’s mistake.

We’ve also provided some sample letters for members who want to proactively contact the DWP about a possible backdated award.

 

REMOVAL OF REQUIREMENT TO SUBMIT MANDATORY RECONSIDERATION REQUEST
As a result of the Connor decision we reported on back in July, you no longer have to go through the Mandatory Reconsideration process if you have been found fit for work under the ESA work capability assessment (WCA).

Instead, you can go straight to lodging an appeal and you will be paid ESA again once you have done so.

But beware, the DWP insist that if you have failed the WCA because you didn’t return your ESA50 or didn’t attend a WCA assessment you still have to go through the Mandatory Reconsideration process, and you will not be eligible for ESA again until you have appealed.

We’ve updated our ESA appeals guide in the members area to reflect this.

 

PIP TELEPHONE ASSESSMENT SUCCESS RATES
Success rates for new PIP claims do not seem to have been greatly harmed by the switch from face-to-face assessments to telephone ones.

Percentages fluctuated at the beginning of the pandemic, but for the last three months they have averaged 37.5%.

Whilst this is lower than the overall average, this number had been falling for a long time before the pandemic began. There were only two months last year when the success rate went above 38%

What we don’t know is whether the award rates are still the same. We have no statistics to tell us if more or fewer people are getting the enhanced rates of PIP since the move to telephone assessments.

For DLA to PIP reassessments, the story is a different one.

The average success rate since reassessments began is 71%.

But that percentage has plunged in the last two months and was down to 40% in July.

However, very few DLA to PIP reassessments have been taking place since the pandemic began, so these figures may be an anomaly.

We’ll keep you informed as more figures come in.

 

PIP REVIEWS RESUME
The DWP has begun reviewing existing PIP claims in earnest again.

The number of PIP reviews went up from just 240 in June, to 14,050 in July.

This is still only a third of the level of reviews prior to the pandemic.

But it suggest the DWP is beginning to return to business as usual.

However, the DWP has also mistakenly been sending out letters to some PIP claimants telling them their PIP has been stopped because they failed to return a review form that they never in fact received.

They refuse to say how many claimants are involved.

And separately, we’ve heard from members who have not received a PIP review form or a further extension of their PIP award, in spite of the award being within six months its end.

Some members who contacted the DWP have been told that if they had not done so their award would have ended in January, as there was nothing on the system to say a form should be sent out.

So, definitely back to chaotic business as usual at the DWP.

 

PIP CLAIM NUMBERS ALMOST BACK TO NORMAL
The number of fresh claims for PIP is also returning to normal after earlier falls.

In April of this year there were just 25,000 new claims, which was 42% down on the same month last year.

But in July 2020 there were 45,000 new claims. This is just 8% lower than the level a year earlier.

It’s a hopeful sign that claimants are managing to overcome the difficulty in getting support that the pandemic has caused.

 

CLAIMING PIP FOR ARTHRITIS
A huge thank you to the over 700 readers who completed the survey on claiming PIP for arthritis. The survey is now closed, but we have had some very powerful and moving responses

The purpose of the survey was to help create resources to reach people who may be missing out on a life-changing benefit.

It was prompted by the revelation that fresh PIP claim numbers had dropped dramatically since the pandemic began.

As reported above, the number of claims is climbing again.

But many thousands of people who could be helped by this benefit will undoubtedly still be missing out because they don’t know they are eligible or are reluctant to claim.

As two of our survey respondents told us:

Make the claim! I suffered for years trying to manage to live on ESA. Do it today! Best thing I

did for myself.

Please make the claim! Arthritis ruined my life for years whilst trialing and failing new

medications, PIP would have helped so much whilst I wasn’t able to work for being off sick

constantly.

So, we are pushing on with the project.

We’ll keep you posted.

 

NEW DATE - MAKING THE BEST POSSIBLE PIP MOBILITY CLAIMS ON MENTAL HEALTH GROUNDS
We have an additional new date for our Zoom course for professionals: Monday 2 November.

If your service users struggle to get the correct award of the PIP mobility component based on their mental health conditions, this course could make a major difference to the support you can give.

We explain how to provide detailed, accurate and persuasive evidence that demonstrates any entitlement to points for the activity ‘Planning and Following Journeys’.

The course contains a wealth of practical tips and useful examples that could make the difference between no award and the enhanced rate of the mobility component.

More details and online booking here.

 

READERS SURVEY
Finally, many thanks also to the over 600 people who completed our readers survey.

We’re still working our way through all your feedback and suggestions and it will be a while yet before we’ve read them all.

But, in the meantime, we’ve replaced our usual Good news from the forum slot below, with some Feedback from the survey instead.

Everyone here has been touched by some of the kind things that you’ve said about our work.

Thank you, it really is appreciated.

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.

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BENEFITS NEWS
Has the Benefits and Work website helped you in any way?

14,000 PIP reviews in July

PIP fresh claims on the rise again, but mandatory reconsiderations still low

Switch to PIP telephone assessments has not greatly harmed fresh claim success

Is DWP failing to send out PIP review forms?

PIP claimants wrongly accused of failing to return PIP forms

DWP found guilty of coronavirus health and safety breaches

 

FEEDBACK FROM THE SURVEY
in the last newsletter we asked readers to complete a brief survey. One of the questions we asked in the survey was:

“Has the Benefits and Work website helped you in any way with a benefit claim or appeal?”

Below are some of the responses we received. You can read more of them here.

Myself and my daughter have both won PIP appeals using your website and guides. I will continue to support you even though I don't have any problems at present.

Yes I went from DLA to PIP last year, knowing I could get the help I needed from you made such a difference and made a huge impact on how I worded things and the amount of detail I put in. Without this site I'd have not known where to start with new and very different PIP system. Thank you!

Yes, my initial PIP decision was negative, but I submitted a mandatory reconsideration with the help of the guides & was successful on both counts. The additional money from the benefit makes a huge difference to me. Without the members only guides I would not have known how to approach the MR so I am very grateful.

Yes - we don’t know where we’d be now with benefits for our disabled son without the guides on claiming PIP or facing a Work Capability Assessment. In both cases it felt like taking a massive exam but all the hard work we put in through the B&W guides was worth it. We can’t thank you enough.

Yes! Got PIP enhanced both components ongoing thanks to your guide! For invisible condition; a miracle!

Massively. Can't overstate how incredible the website is and how much info I have gleaned from it. I have no doubt that you're indirectly saving people's lives.

Oh god yes... Both me and my partner, we would be dead without the help you provided. We both went from nothing to support group ESA and high rate PIP mobility and care [We both are autistic].

Yes. Because of your in depth guides we claimed dla and then transitioned to pip for our daughter. We couldn't have done it without your guides, and because of this we have remained members (and will continue to do so) as a way of saying 'thank you' and supporting such a wonderful website. Thank you xxxxx

Your site is absolutely brilliant. I was as CAB adviser however I regularly suggested to my clients to join Benefits and Work. We lost all our funding for tribunal support. My son aged 27 has been disabled all his life. Without your guides he would not have received the benefits he deserved. Thank you

It has helped me in the past to deal with my brother's claim's for ESA and DLA, I found them to be wonderful and we wouldn't have got to the stage he is now at without your help and advice.

OMG, yes! I don't think my claims would have been successful without carefully following your guides from start to finish. There are so many aspects to my condition that I wouldn't have considered relevant otherwise. Explanations of the wording used in the form were particularly helpful - sometimes the common definition of a word or phrase could not be applied and without this knowledge I would have not responded appropriately to many questions on the form. I've always been appropriately awarded without the need to appeal. I've used your guides ever since my first award renewal.

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: 63752

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