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PIP success
“Just to give hope to others. Applied for PIP for my husband. He works full time only evidence I had was 15 years old. Took 4 months but he has been awarded standard care and mobility for 10 YEARS Using the guides on this site has been invaluable im sure would not have got this result without them.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 74642

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition, we learn that claimants are to get a derisory half percent increase in their income next year.

We discover that MPs are concerned about PIP and ESA delays and poor decision making during the pandemic.

We warn that AA renewals are to begin again.

We reveal that over a quarter of a million DLA claimants are still waiting, after 7 worrying years, for their PIP forced transfer letter.

And, as we say goodbye to Gordon, we invite readers to consider being trained to be part of the Benefits and Work forum team.

Finally, we alert professionals to the last few places of the year on our PIP mobility and mental health training.

 

HALF PERCENT BENEFITS INCREASE
It’s worth 37p a week to you, if you’re in the work-related activity group. 57p for support group members.

Even a claimant on the maximum award of PIP will receive just 76p a week extra.

PIP, ESA and most other benefits will increase by a derisory 0.5% in next year’s annual uprating.

To make matters worse, no decision has yet been made about keeping the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credit after March 2021.

And there was no indication whatsoever that the DWP is considering an uplift of £20 in legacy benefits such as ESA and JSA, to match universal credit.

This is in spite of a coalition of 60 charities and bishops urging the government to do just that and warning that “disabled people and carers will be left, once again, without help as they face rising costs, increased barriers to work and heightened risks from the pandemic.”

Secretary of state for work and pensions Therese Coffey has, however, used her discretionary powers to increase the state pension by 2.5%.

Why disabled claimants are not also the fortunate recipients of her discretionary support, Coffey did not explain.

 

PIP AND ESA DECISION FEARS
The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has found that some PIP and ESA claimants are missing out because of the suspension of face-to-face assessments.

It has also cast doubts on the accuracy of decision making based on telephone assessments.

The report found that there were some claims where neither a paper assessment nor a telephone assessment was appropriate.

As a result of the pandemic, a backlog of these cases has developed leading to ESA claimants being trapped on the assessment rate, and UC claimants stuck on the standard rate.

Both groups are potentially missing out on additional income that they may be entitled to.

PIP claimants denied an assessment are forced to manage without additional income they may desperately need until a decision is finally made.

SSAC has called on the DWP to establish a maximum time period that claimants can be kept waiting.

SSAC also found that advice agencies believe the accuracy of decision making has been affected by the pandemic.

Advisers have reported some awards being unexpectedly higher and others lower. The DWP’s own statistics show ‘distortions’ in awards since the start of the pandemic.

SSAC has called on the DWP to publish data on what difference the type of assessment makes to awards, looking at telephone, paper-based and face-to-face assessments.

Many claimants will be surprised by the idea that accuracy was a feature of DWP decision making prior to the pandemic, but unsurprised to learn that standards may have now fallen even further.

 

AA RENEWALS RESTART
The DWP have announced that attendance allowance (AA) renewals are to restart.

Claimants whose AA award ends on or after 8 March 2021 will receive renewal packs in the coming weeks and will need to return the completed claim pack within 20 weeks, prior to their award ending.

AA awards that were due to expire before 8 March 2021 will be automatically extended and will continue to be paid until a new review is set up in the future.

 

275,000 DLA CLAIMANTS STILL WAITING TO BE FORCED TO CLAIM PIP
Over 7 years after personal independence payment (PIP) was first introduced, there are still 275,000 disability living allowance (DLA) claimants waiting for the letter to drop onto their door mat telling them it is their turn to be forced to apply.

Justin Tomlinson revealed the figure yesterday in answer to a parliamentary question. He also made it clear that only slow progress is being made in assessing remaining DLA claimants:

“In July 2020, we started to resume some activity on reviews and reassessments where it was possible to do so safely and without compromising the delivery of new claims and change of circumstance cases, which remain our priority.”

 

NEW MODERATOR TRAINING
Have you ever wanted to play a bigger part in the Benefits and Work community?

Would you like to directly support other claimants and increase your own knowledge and skills?

Gordon has now retired on a wave of good wishes from forum users.

This means BIS and Gary are managing the forum alone, something which can’t be sustained indefinitely.

As a result we are working on an online training programme for volunteer moderators which will begin in late January. Initial training will be in moderation skills and PIP claims and appeals. This will be followed by training in ESA/UC.

We are looking for people who, health permitting, are able to commit to four two hour shifts a week at a time to suit them.

If you would like to be considered, there’s a survey and quiz to complete. You don’t have to get full marks in the quiz, but we are looking for people with some existing knowledge or the ability to find answers in the guides or on the site.

More details on this page.

Meanwhile, our enormous thanks to BIS and Gary for keeping the forum afloat. If anyone feels they have sufficient benefits knowledge to offer help immediately, please say so in the ‘Any other information’ box in the survey.

 

FORUM CHRISTMAS CLOSURE
The forum will have a slightly extended closure over Christmas. It will be closed from Wednesday 16 December, reopening on Monday 11 January.

 

‘FANTASTIC’, ‘BRILLIANT’, ‘REALLY CLEAR’ PIP MOBILITY AND MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING, 9 DECEMBER

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

“the trainer was brilliant and very informative”
Lucy, Hafod

Best course done in ages. Made a complicated topic really clear.
Emily, Thalidomide Trust

Our professionals only PIP mobility training continues to get very positive reviews. We have a few places left on the final date of the year.

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 and one that assessors and decision makers often get wrong.

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.

Buy tickets for 9 December.

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: 74642

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

60 charities and bishops call for £20 uplift to legacy benefits

275,000 DLA claimants still waiting to be forced to claim PIP

AA renewals restart

Goodbye and thank you, Gordon

PIP and ESA to increase by just half a percent next year

Volunteer moderators training programme

MPs raise concerns about PIP and ESA decisions during pandemic

 

FEEDBACK FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL
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. For some people, it’s the only thing that keeps them going through a difficult claim or appeal.

PIP success
“I applied on 01/06/20. Telephone Assessment 27/10/20. Requested copy of Assessor's Report on 29/10/20 (by phone and in writing) - still haven't received it! However, I see in my bank account tonight a payment pending for tomorrow - Standard Daily Living Rate x 23 weeks. YAY!! Will now wait for report to see if there are any obvious discrepancies and the letter that advises for how long the award lasts. I could not have completed the form without B&W resources - formal and informal. So thank you all very much!!”

MR decision
“Just wish to inform you my friend who i assisted with MR for Daily Living has been awarded standard rate 11 points from the 0 points that were originally awarded after telephone assessment. Shame she did not get the extra point for enhanced but she is just pleased she did not have to go to appeal. Still totally amazed how some assessors get things totally wrong but are still employed to carry on further assessments. Thanks to BW for all the assistance getting through this as it has been extremely stressful for my friend the last 9 months.”

PIP appeal success
“Thanks to everyone who helped when I posted months back about my daughter’s PIP. We appealed the mobility part and she went from getting no mobility, to getting 20 points and higher rate!”

Successful DLA to PIP
“..successful DLA to PIP transfer (using guides on the site and achieving enhanced on both from Low care/High mobility)..”

DLA to PIP telephone success!
“After staring at the dreaded brown envelope all morning I opened it and I the assessors report has recommended I go from high care, low mobility DLA to standard care high mobility PIP. This is very fair and I am so relieved. I only had 2 days notice for the telephone assessment but thanks to your wonderful guides and support from my GP they had the information in language they understood. Much of my claim was mental health and it would have been so easy to give up so I really urge others in my position to continue and get the help they deserve. I'm awaiting notification from the DWP so I don't know how long the award is for but the next few months look so much brighter.”

To say I’m over the moon is an understatement
I used your guides in 2017 when moving from DLA to Pip and was very happy to be awarded enhanced care although a little upset it no longer seemed possible to get mobility as I have bipolar and anxiety issues. I read your guides again this year and instead of just putting no change in everything I filled in why this affected me. Based on your updated advice I got the letter today and have received enhanced care and enhanced mobility!!
Just simple things like knowing to put what types of journeys I can do and when I can walk the dog seem to have made a huge difference. To say I’m over the moon is an understatement. Thank you so much.
Viv

The extra £90 per week will make such a massive difference
Just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your hard work and amazing member guides. I applied for Attendance Allowance for my stepfather using the B&W Guide three and a half weeks ago. I used the detailed guidance to complete the claim form which took me 4 full mornings, but the hard work and guidance pays off. Brown envelope arrived on their doorstep this morning, he has been awarded high rate AA indefinitely. The extra £90 per week will make such a massive difference to their lives. Cannot thank you all enough.
Keep doing what you’re doing, I have been a member for 4 years and it’s the best £20 per year I’ve ever spent!! Huge thanks again.
Alex

Your guide was a huge help
I am an appointee for our adult son. Very pleased and relieved to say that he has just been awarded enhanced rate of PIP for both daily living and mobility until 2030 (!) with scores of 35 and 12 respectively. Your guide was a huge help in filling in the form and choosing evidence to send. Thank you all so much.
Jo

 

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: 74642

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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