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PIP success on mandatory reconsideration
“Having scored 4 points for daily living and 0 points for mobility without submitting extra evidence, and with the DWP referring to an old medical report done by the health professional in my claim for ESA some 10 years ago, which I had successfully challenged on appeal, I joined B&W to apply for mandatory reconsideration of my PIP claim. I submitted a report from my GP and my own extra evidence. I have now been awarded 8 points and standard rate for daily living, and 14 points and enhanced rate for mobility. I can't explain how relieved I am. I was dreading having to go to appeal. Thank you B&W. I couldn't have done it without you.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 55662

  

Dear Reader,

In this edition we reveal that almost six in ten PIP claims fail.

And following on from our survey, we warn you of one important way your claim or review can be sabotaged.

But we also tell you how to protect yourself.

We contrast PIP statistics with ESA, where the vast majority of new claimants now go into the support group.

And we ask if anyone else has seen a new PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form, or is it just us?

Finally, we remind you that we’re running mental health awareness training in May.

 

LATEST PIP STATISTICS
The DWP have released their latest PIP statistics.

There’s some good news.

Mandatory reconsiderations are working better, with 33% resulting in a higher award.

And the DWP is backing down just before claimants get to tribunal and giving a higher award in 29% of appeal cases.

So challenging decisions really is worthwhile.

The bad news is that an awful lot of people have to challenge, because just 42% of all new claimants get any award at all.

And that’s a figure that’s gone down and down over the years.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter (24%) of claimants whose award is reviewed lose it altogether and another 14% have it reduced.

Yet, if anything numerous losses by the DWP in the courts should mean that more people are getting an award, not fewer.

So how are the DWP doing it?

 

AIDS AND APPLIANCES
Your 400+ responses to our survey on aids and appliances in the last newsletter provided evidence of one way in which the DWP chip away at award rates without changing the law.

Aids are a vital part of many claimants lives. We were introduced to some extremely inventive DIY aids by readers who completed our survey.

Perfume to identify the colouring of the clothes on my hangers.

2 nappy pins and 2 pieces of string attached to the nappy pins. I attach each pin either side of my underpants waistband, trousers or pyjamas. Put the item of clothing on the floor, push in my feet and pull up the clothing using the string.

But you also told us about your experience of the ways that the DWP use aids and appliances rules to reduce your points.

Where you say you use aids, the DWP will often argue that you don’t really need them, you just prefer to use them and therefore you are not eligible for points.

They inferred that I did not need aids as I bought them myself.

Or they will argue that the items are not classed as aids.

DWP argued that even though I have Apps for my condition and anxiety that I cannot list them as an aid.

Or they will say that because you manage other activities, that in reality are not even remotely connected, you can manage the activity in question.

Their favourite task in this regard is driving a car, as these members discovered.

“[The DWP said] if I can drive then I have strong arms wrists and grip therefore I was fully capable of using kitchen aids and cooking a full meal.

DWP have stated on my recent review that because I can still drive I can use aids such as a back brush for washing; in fact they state it numerous times in the review. I shall be contacting them to point out that the movements and skills needed are not the same. Because I can still drive does not mean that I can manipulate a back brush or clean myself after using the loo!

The other side of the same coin is when you say that you can only carry out an activity with help from another person.

Here, the DWP may argue that you can use an aid, which scores fewer points, rather than needing help.

Sometimes, an assessor will not even take the trouble to specify which aids should be used:

In the assessment they just said I could use aids to help with cooking

More usually the assessor will specify which aids you could use, but often without checking with you whether you have ever tried using such an aid or what difficulties you might have with it.

The Assessment stated several instances where I needed aids and appliances rather than help. They did not take account of my misshapen painful fingers or lack of movement in arms when stating this. Also my ability to used aids and appliances for toilet needs because of pain and lack of movement.

Sadly, it’s not just the DWP that uses aids to reduce points. Even some tribunal judges will do it:

The judge in the appeal panel suggested an appliance that I put my vegetables in and press it down, it would chop up carrots etc. I have bad hands, carpel tunnel and arthritis. Together with nerve pain from shoulders and find it hard to grip anything. I had to say yes I would use the suggested aid, but it did not work for me.

This experience alone shows the importance of preparing in advance for the suggestion that you could use common aids.

The Benefits and Work PIP guide has always included a page on aids and appliances.

And our six step system for giving detailed evidence has always reminded readers to list any aids you use, explain why you use them and also to say if you need help when using them.

But we are now also advising you to consider explaining any reasons why you don’t use common aids, so that you’ve dealt with the issue before it has even been raised. Most common aids are listed in the guide under each activity.

We’ve also greatly increased the information about aids and appliances, with a five page section devoted solely to the subject.

We set out the legal definition of aids and appliances and provide links to important case law on the subject.

We list nine different ways to challenge the claim that you could use an aid or appliance instead of getting help, with brief examples for each.

We also look at the three main ways that the DWP try to avoid giving points where you do use aids and offer you ways to counter these arguments too.

And we’ve even added a page on driving a car, looking at how the DWP try to use your ability against you and advising how to deal with this in advance.

All of this means spending even more time on the painful business of completing a PIP2 form and preparing for an assessment.

But as success rates for new claims continue to fall, and over a third of review claims are reduced or stopped altogether, it is almost certainly time well spent.

Members can download the latest edition of the PIP claims and reviews guide from the links on this page.

 

ESA STATISTICS
The most recent statistics for ESA show that the overwhelming majority of new claimants are placed in the support group.

In the quarter to September 2020, 84% of new claimants were placed in the support group, 12% were found fit for work and 4% were placed in the work-related activity group.

In July, a remarkable 92% of claimants were put in the support group.

However, there has been a massive drop in the number of completed work capability assessments, partly due to the pandemic and partly due to the switch to universal credit.

In the quarter to September there were 37,000 WCAs, compared to 170,000 for the same period last year.

Repeat assessments were down from 140,000 to 25,000 with new claims down from 30,000 to 12,000.

It is nonetheless, a curious contrast with PIP.

From a benefit where every effort is made to cut the number of new claims to one where the DWP seem to have almost given up the fight.

 

NEW PIP FORM

We’ve heard from a handful of people who have received different PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form.

The new form is longer but actually has fewer questions.

The tick boxes for aids and appliances and for help from another person have gone.

Instead there is a set of questions for each activity, which look like a cut-price version of our own six step system.

There are then a couple of examples for each activity, again looking like a pale imitation of our own guide.

Most days my partner has to remind me to get dressed during the day.

And for each activity there is an entire page of A4 to give your answer to the questions, even though all the example answers are a few lines at most.

So far, we’ve seen very few of these forms.

Whether they are a small scale trial, we don’t know.

If anyone else does, we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

 

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS TRAINING, 12 MAY.
'I thoroughly enjoyed the course, Laura is an excellent trainer, she kept it interesting all the way through, she is very approachable which makes it easier to participate.'

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, Benefits and Work is running a 4 hour Zoom Mental Health Awareness training day.

Full of useful hints and tips, the course will give you the confidence to support someone in distress and is an ideal starting point for raising mental health awareness in your organisation.

Laura is a National trainer for many leading organisations in the advice sector and is a qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Education and Learning practitioner.

Further details and booking from this page.

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: 55662

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
Vast majority of ESA claimants placed in support group

Latest PIP statistics, the good and the bad

How PIP aids and appliances are used against you and how to fight back

PIP assessment success rates continue to fall

New PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form

 

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 have helped a vulnerable neighbour with a PIP application using your fantastic guides. It was the first time he ever applied and was granted enchanced on both and had a paper based application.”

PIP – 9 months but successful
“Hi.. Applied last summer for PIP on behalf of mother, and got a telephone assessment this year with approval now March 2021. I was beginning to stress due to the amount of time taken, but it's clearly not an indicator. Just wanted to say thanks and that I couldn't have done it without this forum and guides.”

Thanks All
“we could never have done it without you! The appeal was over the phone last week, someone called about 20 mins before the appointment to check that we were ready & to say that they were going through the appeal papers. This was comforting as it made sure that they had the right number to contact us on, & a reminder to get the bundle ready, plus good to know that they are looking at your appeal right before they speak to you. Everyone was lovely, that is the Clerk to the Tribunal, Judge, Disability Officer, & Dr. It lasted about 45 minutes, with the judge speaking first, then the Dr, the Disability officer had no questions as they said that we'd already answered them with questions from the Judge & Dr. I was supporting my partner in his appeal, so I was allowed to speak, at the end the Judge asked if there was anything else we wished to discuss. It really was nothing to worry about, the Judge was so considerate that I could've sobbed my heart out. My partner lost his enhanced daily living upon assessment, & he got standard daily living after MR. The tribunal awarded him enhanced daily living, & enhanced mobility, plus an extra 2 years on his award. Thank you so much to all of you, good luck, &; never, ever, give up.”

Reassessment result
“Just to let you know there are success stories as well as denials. My son has Autism from birth. He will always need care. He is now 26 years old and I have finally got a result of an ongoing claim. As a child he received DLA with no question of his entitlement, however once he became an adult and was moved to PIP it became more difficult. I have fought for 5 years to get to this position ( higher rate PC and mobility) he had one initial face to face assessment in our home which I had to ask for a reconsideration of, since then I have followed your advice on completing the lengthy form and am now happy with the assessment after reporting changes to his daily needs. Thank you so much for your support.”

PIP Award
“Thank you for the great advice on this site. I returned the form in February and got the result at the beginning of March. Thankfully it was based on the paper evidence and my award went from standard care and enhanced mobility to the enhanced rate for both care and mobility and best of all has been awarded for ten years. I felt like I’d won the lottery, although of course I’d rather not need the benefit in the first place. So sometimes brown envelopes don’t always bring bad news.”

WOW I have been awarded the Enhanced rate for both components
I recently, like many others, had a letter to say that my PIP had been extended until the end of this year. This was closely followed by a 47 page document asking me to update the DWP to make sure that I’m getting the right help! I had already lost my Motability car two years ago when they reduced my mobility component down to just 2 points short of keeping it. I should have appealed it but after the terrible face to face with someone who clearly wasn’t listening, I couldn’t face another debacle! I have been reading emails from your site about claimants who have successfully negotiated their claims because of your advice so I payed my subscription and read your advice then sent off the paperwork. I received the decision today - WOW I have been awarded the Enhanced rate for both components and it’s been awarded for ten years.
Thank you so much,
Ian

with your help I did it
Just want to say a massive thank you to you all, I have been awarded pip standard rate but would have never been able to do this without the help from your brilliant site and all the guides which are available. I think that was the most gruelling interview I have ever had in my life so exhausting, but with your help I did it. THANK YOU.
Amanda

 

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: 55662

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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