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PIP appeal success
“Thank you for your guides. My daughter just one her Pip appeal going from 2 points to enhanced on daily living and 0 to standard on mobility for 5 years. This was a paper appeal so we are delighted.”

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Dear Reader,

In this edition, we reveal that face-to-face assessments are to resume from May for some PIP, ESA and UC claimants.

Plus, video assessments are rolling out across Great Britain, also for PIP, ESA and UC claimants.

We ask whether you are one of the 150,000 claimants being deprived of PIP arrears payments? And we hear from one person who fought back and received £12,000.

We highlight Sheffield Hallam University’s account of the coalition government’s vicious sanctions reign of fear. And yes, there really were targets for getting people off benefits.

Finally, Laura Morrel – our Mental Health Awareness trainer – has recorded a brief video clip for those who would like to know more about this upcoming training.

 

PIP, ESA AND UC FACE-TO-FACE ASSESSMENTS TO RESUME
The DWP is reintroducing face-to-face assessments for some PIP, ESA and UC claimants from May 2021.

The DWP say this will initially only be for claimants who cannot be fully assessed by other means.

According to a DWP press release, assessment centres are ‘fully compliant with COVID-19 safety measures’.

The DWP have issued detailed guidance for claimants asked to attend a face-to-face assessment, including claimants who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

It includes information about who you can bring with you, the use of face coverings and how to socially distance within the assessment centre.

However, this does not take account of the fact that claimants will have to travel to an assessment centre in the first place.

And why the DWP thinks it is reasonable to force any claimants who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to have a face-to-face assessment whilst we are still in the midst of a pandemic is not clear.

 

PIP, ESA AND UC VIDEO ASSESSMENTS
Video assessments for PIP, ESA and UC are being rolled-out across Great Britain.

This is being done without any consultation with disabled claimants as to whether they wish to be recorded on video or any explanation of how video assessments will be securely stored.

The DWP have not said what platform they will be using for the video assessments or what equipment claimants will need to have in order to take part.

As yet, Benefits and Work has not heard from any claimant who has had a video assessment. Though we have heard from several where attempts to carry out a video assessment failed because of technical hitches.

If you do have a video assessment we would be very pleased to hear from you about your experience.

 

150,000 PIP CLAIMANTS MAY BE MISSING OUT
The DWP may be depriving 150,000 PIP claimants with mental health conditions of arrears of thousands of pounds each.

One claimant who fought back, however, forced the department to hand over £12,000 in back payments.

We’re asking you to complete our questionnaire if you may have been affected.

As we revealed in the last newsletter, the DWP has paid out £18 million so far to PIP claimants who lost out because of a legal error relating to the PIP mobility component.

The payments are made under what is known as the LEAP review, which began in June 2018 and, in part, involves the DWP looking through the cases of approximately 1.6 million PIP claimants.

In a decision known as MH, it was found that the DWP had been misapplying the law in relation to psychological distress and following the route of a journey.

Claimants should have been awarded the standard rate of PIP mobility if, because of overwhelming psychological distress, they needed someone with them to follow the route of an unfamiliar journey or if they could not undertake a journey at all.

And they should have been awarded the enhanced rate if they could not follow the route of a familiar journey without having someone with them for the same reason.

Instead the DWP had been awarding just 4 points, not enough for any award of the mobility component at all.

A group of DWP experts estimated that 164,000 claimants would be better off as a result of the court decision and that it would cost £3.7 billion by 2022.

But so far, with more than half of all potentially eligible claimants assessed, just 3,700 payments have been made at a cost of just £18 million.

One claimant who thought they should be covered by the review but was not given any back payment challenged the decision.

After first ignoring the claimant’s mandatory reconsideration requests and then unsuccessfully trying to get the appeal struck out, the DWP suddenly backed down and awarded £12,000 in arrears.

Benefits and Work is trying to uncover why so many people are missing out and look for a way to challenge it.

If you think you have missed out on a backdated award, please follow the article link in the Benefits News section below, read the article and complete our short survey.

This is a wrong that needs to be righted.

 

COALITION SANCTIONS REIGN OF FEAR
Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have uncovered evidence of widespread sanctions targets, always denied by the DWP, and anti-claimant sentiment in the DWP whilst the Coalition government was in power.

The researchers looked at how the coalition whipped up hatred against claimants via inflammatory language in the media and how that spread downwards.

Interviews with DWP staff reveal managers telling front-line workers:

It’s your money! It’s your taxes that they’re living off! You know, you should be sanctioning them!

Whilst breaks consisted of:

work coaches sitting in the canteen at lunchtime saying how awful claimants were and how they were scroungers and liars and all the rest of it.’

Targets were clearly part of the culture. One worker explained that at weekly team meetings, the manager:

used to produce a table which showed how many people you’ve sanctioned or how many people you’d referred to a decision-maker for a sanction.

One manager who had previously been sympathetic towards claimants admitted to getting caught up in the targets regime:

it sounds sad doesn’t it, but when the figures were coming out of what the unemployed were prior to Universal Credit, it was like exciting: ‘Oh God, what have we got today?’ ‘How many have we got on the books?’ ‘Has it gone down by hundreds?

Fortunately, that regime of aggressive sanctioning seems to have now ended as the DWP focuses desperately on trying to get universal credit to work with reduced staff numbers:

‘it’s changed now. It’s completely disappeared in our office. There is no manager putting any pressure on us to sanction. There is no conversation in communication meetings which says claimants are lying scroungers’.

However, the report’s authors warn that harsh treatment of claimants has often occurred during periods of austerity.

With a hugely increased claimant count following the pandemic and a mass recruitment of work coaches, the scene may be set for a renewed crackdown.

And, as the authors also point out, with 80% of universal credit claimants expected to manage their claims online by 2024, DWP staff will be entirely shielded from the people they are inflicting harm upon.

 

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.

Our trainer, Laura Morell has recorded a brief video to tell you more about the training and who might benefit.

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.

https://vimeo.com/532621068

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: 74882

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
University researchers reveal sanctions targets and prejudices of Coalition government and warn they may return

£12,000 for claimant who challenged sham PIP review, but many more missing out

PIP, ESA and UC face-to-face assessments to resume from May

PIP, ESA and UC video assessments rolled-out across GB

 

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 Review within 8 days
“Well done DWP - words I've never expressed before! I returned my award review form on 9th March & yesterday got my new award, dated 17th March. If someone had told me I'd not only get my award within days but that the award now has no expiry date on it, I'd have asked which planet they were on. I'm stunned and delighted & can only reiterate the B&W advice to put as much information as possible on the form. Thanks for all the great advice on this site. It's invaluable & worth the subscription many times over.”

Thank you
“Hi, I can’t find my old thread, but I just want to say thank you to you all! This morning I woke up to a fairly decent payment from PIP and although I have no letter as of yet I can only assume that it means I won my MR and that is backdated from part year when I first applied.... hope I’m right! All thanks to your help so thank you thank you so much!”

Thanks and tips
“Hi guys, I just wanted to say a huge thanks for all the support and help I’ve been given on this site. Like a lot of others DWP extended my payments from June 2021(end of my 3 year fixed award) to January 2022. It seemed like a reprieve and Motability extended my car lease too, I also applied for my Blue Badge to be extended at a cost of £10. Meanwhile an Award review form arrived within days! I used all the information on here to fill it in. I didn’t just write no change but added “no change I still need.......” etc for every question. Giving new examples where appropriate. It wasn’t easy as there isn’t much space but I added an additional sheet. I also included new medical evidence. The result is back it took them just 4 weeks, my points have gone up slightly but I’m left with the same standard care and enhanced mobility which is a great result. More importantly (and probably because I’m just 2 weeks of state pension age now), it’s an on going award and they won’t check on me until at least March 2031! I’m so very relieved. It’s such a wonderful feeling getting them off my back. This whole process is demeaning and demoralising. Mine was done purely on the paper based evidence and stated in the letter is the fact that that’s what they are trying to do. Keep going guys the help on here is second to none thank you so much to everyone.”

PIP Review and MR – success!
“I have been helping a friend for a number of years using the excellent guides and help here. Recent PIP Review decision was standard rate for both Daily Care and Mobility. I asked for copy of Assessor's Report which contained a number of incorrect comments and conclusions. Also asked for MR. I went through line by line and queried a number of points writing a detailed letter on behalf of my friend. We also obtained letters/reports from an orthopaedic consultant. urology consultant and his mental health team. Within 2 weeks DWP sent new decision - enhanced rate for both Daily Care and Mobility!!!! It took a lot of effort but well worth it for the result. Many thanks to all here at Benefits and Work”

PIP success
“Hi I got awarded the highest PIP for both categories a few months ago (Mainly thanks to this wonderful site).”

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,
Viv

thank you again for all your encouragement, guidance, advice and support
After initially being awarded 0 points following my telephone PIP assessment and not much more at mandatory reconsideration, I opted for a telephone tribunal. All through the process, the guides have been invaluable and I would not have had the confidence or energy to go through the tribunal meeting without this help. Last Friday I had a 90 minute meeting with the judge, doctor and disability representative. The questions were very challenging but I answered them honestly and as completely as I could.
After the initial assessment, it was immediately obvious that the healthcare professional had either not understood the points made, my medical condition or had misrepresented my case. It was full of inaccuracies and in no way a reflection of the interview.
I'm delighted to say that I have been awarded standard rate PIP for mobility and personal care for 3 years.
It is a shame that people with disabilities have to go through the stress of attending a tribunal to put right something that was so wrong and also a shame that the initial assessor presumably does not have to explain or apologise for her failings. Nevertheless, I'm delighted that the appeal system worked for me and so many others and thank you again for all your encouragement, guidance, advice and support.
Andrew

Thanks for your excellent guide
I received my PIP review documents on 18th Feb and to be returned by 15th March. I wasn’t expecting them so early as I had had a letter before Christmas extending my claim to Jan 2022. I completed the form following your guide and returned the form by guaranteed delivery for the DWP to receive on Friday 5th March. I wanted to ensure they had my completed review form on time.
I had a phone call from a lady at the DWP on Tuesday 16th March with one query on my completed form, which I was able to answer. Today Monday 22nd March I had my brown envelope with my PIP renewed until September 2023. I hope I will have reached my 66th birthday before my next review. I can’t believe that from start to finish it has taken less than 6 weeks. Thanks for your excellent guide and keep up the good work.
Sue

 

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: 74882

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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