In our survey last month we asked: ‘Can you sum up in a sentence or two what the Benefits and Work website means to you? Would it matter if we weren't here?’
Before we continue, we would like to make it absolutely clear that we have absolutely no intention of going anywhere.
In addition, to all the people who said they would happily pay more for a subscription, thank you for your kindness but we aren’t thinking of increasing the cost of a subscription. The cost has been £20 for many years now and we plan, barring a big VAT hike, on keeping it that way for many more years.
We asked the question because when we started the site in 2003, it was a very different world.
At that time we were criticised by a number of national voluntary sector organisations on the grounds that our guides were far too complex and people should always get professional help with their benefits.
A few years later, when the site had become much more widely known, we were attacked by the tabloids and even had an MP calling for Holiday and myself to be imprisoned.
Now, those same voluntary sector organisations publish their own guides – often bearing a noticeable resemblance to our own - tabloid newspapers run articles on how to claim PIP and many MPs’ offices are professional subscribers to the site.
Given all those changes, we wanted to know whether we still have something different to offer.
And, thanks to your feedback, we know that we have and we will keep on offering it.
Many of you clearly value the sense of being believed and not feeling alone that you get from being part of Benefits and Work.
Lots of you find the good news from other claimants in the newsletter a vital source of encouragement and reassurance when you are struggling with your own claim.
The extremely knowledgeable help from the forum is clearly hugely valued.
And many of you feel the guides allowed you to get the benefits you are entitled to but the DWP was not keen to award.
And just as importantly, many of you have helped others to get their benefits through the knowledge they have gained from the site.
So, thank you so much to everyone who responded to the survey and here are just a few of the things you told us.
It would absolutely matter if you weren’t here. Reading your newsletters helps me to feel connected, valued and “seen” . Thank you for your good work. If I win the Lotto you will know all about it in a good way lol.
Your site is invaluable, without your news and guides I would be much worse off as would those who I’ve helped by using your info.
I would not have got the benefits I needed without the advice of your guides. I owe my wellbeing and quality of life to your work.
it gives you the confidence to keep going when you might otherwise give up on the claim, sometimes it feels like the only thing keeping you going
I could not have managed to fill in the forms or to write the correct information without your outstanding work. I cannot thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into helping people make successful claims.
B&W means I feel I can always go to it for advice without being judged.
It's the most accessible and authoritative source of detailed benefits information available anywhere. It takes workload off CAB volunteers and for its members, can have a tremendous "return on investment"!
Benefits and Work have been there when we have desperately needed advice and information. Although at the moment my son is receiving his benefits, thanks to you, we are continuing our membership with you as we do not trust the government in any way to care for it's disabled citizens.
Benefits and work has made it possible for me to represent myself having to go to tribunal for both ESA and PIP both awards being the enhanced rate
The B&W website is the only site I would go to before completing ESA & PIP forms. I would be lost without it, please don't close the website or stop providing the members only guides.
You are literally saving lives, and definitely making them more bearable for anyone having to prove their disability/medical condition.
Being disabled, I've found your website invaluable. I've got a far better all round understanding on claims, simply because your site exists. I very much doubt i'd be getting ESA and PIP without it.
It would matter if you weren’t here for me as I wouldn’t have the confidence to claim what is rightfully needed for me to assist with my illness. I would go back to feeling like I was begging for someone to show me charity instead of earning it myself which, I can’t.
The site is so useful for many reasons, expressly knowing that you are not alone and that there is help out there. It is so difficult to express how one feels when you are mentally and physically disabled especially when you are battling the negative thoughts and constant pain daily. It would matter a great deal if you weren’t there. You are amazing and I am very grateful for your care and dedication.
In the past I had unsuccessful claims after relying on local advisors to support me with claims. Since using the Benefits and Work guides I have made 2 claims for ESA and PIP with all four claims being successful at the first stage. Claiming benefits would be far more stressful without Benefits and Work and I would be very likely to give up trying if faced with having a mandatory reconsideration or appeal. You matter very much to me.
The website means that I don't feel alone, helpless or desperate when it comes to completing claim forms. I would be completely lost without it. Please keep it going. If you need to increase the subs to do so I will happily pay more.
if it wasn't here I don't know how I would survive as I might not have even been awarded PIP at all whereas with the assistance of benefits and work I'm on the enhanced rate for both domestic and mobility - thank you so much for all your help
Having been on DLA HR both for over 10 years I was transferred to PIP and my claim nilled. The guides and advice you guys provide is the reason I'm sure my claim was reinstated after requesting Tribunal. Cant thank you enough
B&W and , in particular, the members' guides removes doubt about whether or not you have understood the questions on the form and answered them with the detail required. B&W is directly responsible for my family's economic stability despite my disability. (That reads back like a perfect B&W strapline, permission granted)
Hell I would be lost without B&W. Especially the guides and forums. As I learn from B&W the more I can help the wider community with helping fill in their claims forms
<Receiving your bi-weekly newsletters helped me to cope and I didn't feel quite so alone. Although I did win my desperate ESA fight and was back-paid over £7,000 I have renewed my B&W membership because I still feel part of a community who actually care about people. I can only try to express my warmest and sincere gratitude and respect to everyone working with B&W and for being there for US all. Thank you
The person who did my last face-to-face assessment (ESA, I think) told me I had one of the best filled-in forms he'd seen: ALL down to you! THANKYOU
It means the difference between living in extreme poverty with no support vs being financially able to pay for everything I need for my condition including support. I would be lost without this service
the advice has been invaluable, my first results were that i would not receive anything from PIP, then i appeal using your guides and with MR i got std care and std mobility, i then appealed after five weeks DWP reconsidered the awards and informed tribunal that they agreed with my assessment and awarded enhanced mobility.
Well probably saved my life. Made me feel that I was a person and not a failure or liar. Made me feel my claim was legitimate and helped me with the maze.
Been extremely helpful for assisting my daughter navigate the appeals process. Unfortunately only found the site after first experience with ESA appeals process. I feel that B&W is invaluable; if you did not exist life would be so much more difficult. The advice is professional and clear and it is such a reassuring relief to know that you exist.
I wouldn’t have PIP if you weren’t here, I’m certain of it. Without PIP my income would be only my ESA, £113.55/week which I could not live on. With PIP I receive £264.95/week which is enough for me live comfortably.
It’s a place where I can say it as it is and people understand. It’s a mine of helpful information as well as being a sanctuary. Whenever the dreaded brown DWP envelope comes through the door the fear and isolation are crippling. I immediately visit the site to feel better. I tell my friends often you are the one last bastion of help, advice, information and sanctuary for the sick and despairing. I will subscribe to you till the day I die. Thanks for being here when all others have disappeared.
You mean the world to people with health conditions & disabilities, I know that life would have been much harder for my son & this would have effected his mental health as well as his epilepsy. I think you are literally life savers and I mean that most sincerely - more people may have committed suicide with out the help out of the black hole & ever changing rules of benefits.
This site means everything - it gave me the opportunity to finally leave the house
This site reminds me that I am not alone and every time I wanted to give up during the past 18 months, I would take a look at the newsletters and it would give me the strength to keep on fighting.
Benefits and Work has been a complete lifeline to me, as advice centres are very few and far between in a rural area like this.
Have been following you for years and became a member a couple of years ago, i don't know of any other site that gives such detailed help and information almost instantly(Gordon) Because everything is in one place for information rather than say other specific health related sites where its not that easy to get answers or information. Your help, expertise and guidance is invaluable so yes it does matter if you weren't there.
It is support, both practical and emotional
It is a mine of information and has helped me a huge amount. When I discovered it, it felt like a port in a storm. I would not want to be without it as it is a great way to make sense of all the crap DWP throw at people with health and disability issues. Your site makes me feel supported.
You have shown me that I'm not alone, that the forms and assessments are a nightmare for many, that the confusion and misery of it all is not a reflection on me but on how the benefit system is designed.
The small subscription is worth every penny and without the guides I think a lot more claims would go rejected. We've successfully gotten both PIP and ESA with the help of member guides and step by step instructions. THANK YOU.
I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone involved with creating and maintaining the Benefits and Work website and guides. Your guides have been a life-saver - I don't know how I would have survived without you.
Support through the darkest and hardest times of our lives. As an ex farmer all I wanted to do was work but will never be able to do so again. So devastated now suffer from panic and anxiety disorder...awful!
When needed Benefits and Work has been there to help me and I would struggle to go through certain processes without the guidance from the website. Mental illness means I find it difficult to meet strangers face to face so this website is perfect for me.
I would be horrified if you weren't there. You are the David to the DWP's Goliath!
I have been a paid member for about 8 years now. I have always found something interesting in the newsletter and when my DWP claim was coming to an end your guides have helped me tremendously.
I don’t have anybody to help me or offer advice regarding my claim and find the Benefits and work website invaluable .
I get a great deal of strength and support from the website. It has helped me win 4 appeals.
It has made me a part of a helpful and supportive community and helps with up to date Information.
Best subscription I have had and advice for my successful change over from DLA to PIP was fantastic. Yes it would matter to me if you were not here.
Myself and my son would have been an awful lot poorer. The claim forms are daunting however if you give yourself time and do exactly as you suggest in your guides you stand a much better chance of success in your claim
i would have lost all my benefits if u werent there
Quite simply without exaggeration: LIFE SAVING.
means am not on my own
I am very glad and thankful you are there. I have often felt part of the Benefits and Work 'family' knowing we have a kind and hardworking organisation like yourselves batting for us. If you were not there more people would be denied the help they deserve from government.
If you weren't there who will help like this site?