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Thank you for all your help & advice. I have now successfully transferred to pip . Enhance rate for both for ongoing period. I will be 73 in 10 years time so hopefully just a light touch review. . . I have just renewed my subscription & will continue to help keep this wonderful site. Thank you again.

 

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You can read this newsletter online.

 

Dear [fname],

In this edition, we have the good news that PIP telephone assessments are now being audio recorded.

But the not so good news that video recording trials of PIP and ESA assessments have also begun.

We reveal some of the valuable information we have uncovered in training and guidance documents

for PIP telephone assessors.

One such nugget could save claimants from having their PIP claim wrongly stopped altogether.

We are astonished to realise that we have united Disability Rights UK and the Daily Express in a common purpose.

We discover why Benefits and Work matters so much to so many people, in their own words.

We are inviting a few small voluntary sector organisations to try out our on-demand training for free.

And we are delighted to say that 100% of respondents on our “fantastic” PIP mobility Zoom training course would recommend it to others.

It’s not too late to get a place on 3 November, though places are limited to 12 and over half have already gone.

 

PIP ASSESSMENTS AUDIO RECORDED
IAS (Atos) began audio recording all PIP telephone assessments from 21 September.

Capita should be doing so soon.

You will need to request this in advance, it will not be done automatically.

 The earlier you request a recording the better, as a new appointment may need to be arranged.*

 

PIP AND ESA VIDEO ASSESSMENT TRIALS BEGIN
The Work and Pensions Committee was told last week that Maximus have begun trialling how to do fit for work decisions by video.

In addition, 500 claimants are being selected to have their PIP assessment video recorded.

We know that many of you will be deeply unhappy with the idea of video assessments.

Some will find the experience of talking on camera provokes considerable anxiety.

Others will have concerns about data protection, given that a copy of the video is likely to be saved on a server by the DWP.

At the moment it is not clear whether claimants will have the option to refuse to have a video assessment and be able to insist on a telephone one instead. We’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, if any of our readers is subject to a video assessment we’d love to hear from you.

 

PIP TRAINING AND GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS
We have begun working our way through hundreds of pages of guidance and training relating to PIP and WCA telephone assessments that have been published on the What Do they Know website.

The guidance includes previously unseen information that could make the difference between winning and losing an appeal.

It reveals that Capita assessors must immediately take a screenshot of their call history and send it to their line manager if they call a claimant three times and they are not there.

Many claimants say that they never received these calls and now they will be able to ask Capita for a copy of that screenshot.

If Capita can’t provide it, that would be strong grounds for arguing at an appeal that the tribunal should find that there is no evidence the calls were made.

The documents also contain details of ‘fertile areas’ that IAS (ATOS) assessors are now expected to ask questions about at telephone assessments.

The idea is that fertile areas, such as childcare and hobbies, will make up for the lack of an opportunity to physically examine a claimant or make visual observations of their appearance and manner.

Each fertile area is broken down into a series of activities and the assessor is told what parts of a PIP claim these activities might relate to.

The danger, as always, is the risk that assessors will ask as little as possible and wrongly assume as much as possible.

We’ve updated the PIP guide with details of Capita’s screenshot requirement and full details of the IAS ‘fertile areas’.

We’ll add anything else of importance to the guides as we find it over the coming weeks.

 

DISABILITY RIGHTS UK AND THE DAILY EXPRESS UNITED IN A COMMON PURPOSE
Many thanks to all of you who have shared the link to our downloadable document and video explainer about PIP claimants who are owed up to £13,000.

Details have appeared on websites as diverse as Disability Rights UK, Wales Online, the Scottish Daily Record and (would you believe) the Daily Express, all alerting readers to the possibility that they may be owed back payments of PIP.

But we’ve also had a number of requests from organisations asking permission to link to the information. Just to be clear, you are very welcome to do so and you don’t need permission. The direct link to the downloadable text and the and video is:

<href="#claims-updates">https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip#claims-updates

We strongly suspect that the DWP will choose very narrow criteria to identify possible victims of their error.

So, the more publicity the issue receives, the more chance that people who the DWP fails to contact will realise they may be affected and take action.

 

WHAT DOES BENEFITS AND WORK MEAN TO YOU?
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?’

We asked the question because when we started the site in 2003, it was a very different world.

At that time we were told by a number of national voluntary sector organisations 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.

Whether it’s the sense of being believed and not feeling alone, the good news from other claimants that buoys you up in dark times, this newsletter keeping you right up-to-date with changes to the system, the remarkable support of our forum moderators or the very detailed information in the guides themselves, there’s a lot you still consider unique about Benefits and Work.

So, thank you so much to everyone who responded to the survey and to all of you who take the time to post your good news in the forum. It’s clear that you make a huge difference to people struggling with their own claims.

We’ve included a few quotes from the survey in the Feedback section below

And finally, 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.

It has been £20 for many years now and we plan, barring a big VAT hike, on keeping it that way for many more years to come.

 

FREE TRAINING FOR SMALL VOLUNTARY SECTOR AGENCIES
We’re looking for a few small voluntary sector organisations to trial the ‘on-demand’ training we are currently developing.

If you have five or fewer full-time staff and give help with PIP claims to people with mental health issues, we’d like to hear from you.

Please send an email to training@benefitsandwork.co.uk from your work email address, with Free Training as the subject, and we’ll reply with more details.

 

“FANTASTIC” ZOOM PIP MOBILITY TRAINING, NEW DATE AVAILABLE


“Fantastic, really informative full of great pointers and enjoyable."
Samantha, Notts YMCA

“I am very impressed with the standard of the event and the trainer's handling of it.”
Kathy, barrister

We have another new date for our Zoom course for professionals, Making the Best Possible PIP Mobility Claims On Mental Health Grounds: Tuesday 3 November.

9 out of 12 attendees on our first session on Monday completed the post-training survey and every one said they would recommend the training to others.

If you are a housing worker, advice worker or anyone who assists service users with PIP claims

based on mental health, this course could make a real difference to the support you give.

We explain how to provide detailed, accurate and persuasive evidence that demonstrates any entitlement to points for the activity ‘Planning and Following Journeys’. Probably the most complex activity in the whole PIP assessment.

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 but please be aware that 6 of the 12 places are already taken.

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: 65742

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
Previously unseen PIP and ESA documents

What does the Benefits and Work website mean to you?

PIP assessments now being audio recorded

PIP and ESA video assessment trials have started

 

FEEDBACK FROM THE SURVEY
Last month, in our survey, we asked readers ‘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?

We were very touched and grateful for the responses we received and we do urge readers to keep posting their good news in the forum as it clearly means an extraordinary amount to people struggling with their own claims and appeals.

Below are a few of the many responses we received.

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.

Quite simply without exaggeration: LIFE SAVING.

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 you weren't there who will help like this site?

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.

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

I would be horrified if you weren't there. You are the David to the DWP's Goliath!

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.

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

 

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: 65742

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

* This newsletter was corrected following a DWP clarification that PIP assessments will not be recorded automatically.