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PIP Review success
“Two weeks ago the dreaded brown envelope landed on my mat for our PIP review, as we had such an awful time when transfered to PIP we were dreading it, renewed my subs and followed the guides, we've today received a phone call from the DHSS ref my claim to be told my claim has been looked at and that my daily living remains the same but my Disability has been reinstated to the highest rate and my award is for 10 years with only light touch reviews from now on as my disabilities will never improve. To say we are chuffed is an understatement, to anyone reading this and dithering about paying the subs, do it, best money we ever spend, thanks Benefits and Work.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 34928

 

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition we share the postcodes where you may be asked to attend a combined PIP and work capability assessment.

We reveal the almost miraculous discovery made by DWP decision makers, as they deny using algorithms to process over a million LEAP reviews.

We publish the DWP Long-Covid guidance for child DLA claims, but what about PIP and ESA/UC?

We learn that UC, ESA and other means-tested benefit claimants will be able to get a cheaper BT broadband package from June.

And we have news of two great offers from Mark Perlic, whose case law books are used by tribunal judges, representatives and claimants alike.

First, Mark is offering all our readers a huge 50% discount on the new edition of his 600+ page PIP case law pack.

Second, Mark is running two free webinars for Benefits and Work members on how to use PIP case law to improve your chances at claim, mandatory reconsideration and appeal stages – don’t miss this unique opportunity.

Moving on from webinars to Zoom, our Mental Health Awareness training last week was a big hit with attendees - “Laura was a truly excellent trainer and I really enjoyed the training and learned a lot.” PIP mobility and mental health training is coming up next. Followed by two new courses.

Finally, some feedback we received for this newsletter reminded us of how privileged we are to work here.

 

COMBINED PIP/ESA/UC ASSESSMENT POSTCODES
The DWP has resumed trials of an integrated assessment for PIP/ESA/UC.

The idea is not a single test for both benefits, but a single assessment at which the evidence needed both for PIP and a WCA will be collected.

The initial trial site is Tresco House, Marylebone, London.

Tresco House will only deal with claimants living in E5, N2, N3, N4, N6 London post codes who are claiming Universal Credit (UC) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and/or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Neither Capita, nor Atos nor Maximus will be involved in the assessments, which is likely to mean they are being carried out by in-house DWP assessors.

 

DWP’S LEAP MIRACLE
The DWP has responded to our Freedom of Information request about the use of algorithms to make LEAP decisions with a flat denial.

They claim that decisions on ‘welfare payments’ are made by ‘department colleagues’ and that “The Department does not use algorithms to make decisions in this way.”

Although they do admit to using ‘automated business rules’ which sound remarkably similar to algorithms.

Here’s the miraculous thing though.

At the time of the MH decision, there were over 200,000 claimants who were awarded 4 points for mobility descriptor 1b because they needed someone with them to encourage them to begin a journey, due to overwhelming psychological distress.

DWP experts estimated that 80% of these claimants should have got an award of the mobility component, if the DWP had got the law right, because they also needed someone to accompany them on their journeys due to that same psychological distress.

Which seems reasonable.

Because the majority of claimants experiencing overwhelming psychological distress at the mere prospect of a journey would undoubtedly need someone with them on the journey itself, although a small minority would cope alone once they actually began.

Now, however, it looks like careful review of all the available evidence for each of a million PIP claims carried out by ‘department colleagues’ has revealed that, miraculously, more than 95% of claimants who are too distressed to even begin a journey alone are absolutely fine once they set off.

They don’t need anyone with them at all, it turns out.

And those foolish DWP experts overestimated the number of wrong awards by an astonishing factor of sixteen . . .

Could anybody really take this seriously?

It isn’t a claim that withstands the tiniest bit of scrutiny.

Which is why the DWP is ignoring requests for mandatory reconsiderations, telling claimants it’s too late to challenge decisions, claiming it has sent a million decision letters that most claimants seem not to have received and, if it looks like a case is getting near to a tribunal, backing down and paying up.

Anything to avoid scrutiny of how these decisions have really been made.

Whether they get away with this enormous deception depends on whether it gets the attention it deserves.

We’ll keep plugging away and, we believe, we will soon not be alone in that.

 

LONG COVID GUIDANCE FOR CHILD DLA
The DWP has issued guidance to DLA decision makers on how to deal with awards for Long-COVID in children, but there is no evidence that similar guidance has been issued for PIP or for the work capability assessment for ESA and UC.

Decision makers are told that children who remain unwell at 12 weeks after the onset of COVID-19 with a wide variety of symptoms, and whose long term prognosis is unknown, meet the diagnostic criteria for post-COVID syndrome.

They are also told:

“A child does not have to have had a positive test result to be diagnosed with the syndrome. Testing has not always been easily available.”

The guidance includes a list of symptoms taken from NICE guidance published on 18 December 2020.

Benefits and Work has made a Freedom of Information request for any guidance issued to assessors and decision makers relating to post-COVID for PIP or the work capability assessment.

 

LOWER COST FIBRE BROADBAND FOR CLAIMANTS
BT is to offer lower cost fibre broadband to claimants of a number of benefits, beginning in June.

BT’s Home Essentials package will offer 36 megabits per second broadband and 700 minutes of calls for £15 a month, compared to their usual price of £32.99. There is no monthly data cap.

Or claimants can opt for 67Mb and unlimited calls for £20 a month.

These rates will only be available to people who receive universal credit, the guarantee credit element of pension credit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support, and employment and support allowance.

 

HUGE DISCOUNT ON PIP CASE LAW PACK
Benefits and Work readers are being offered a huge 50% discount on the new edition of Mark Perlic’s invaluable 600+ page PIP Case Law pack.

Used by advice agencies, tribunal judges and representatives across the UK, It is by far the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of decisions anywhere.

The latest edition details over 350 decisions on every imaginable aspect of PIP.

If you are trying to find out what the law actually is on any PIP topic, rather than what the DWP claim it is, this is the place to look.

As Hugh Howard, Regional Tribunal Judge, explains in his introduction to the book:

"I am disinterested in which party wins the appeal. What is of paramount importance is that they come before an impartial and informed Tribunal to obtain the justice to which they are entitled. This book contributes enormously to the ability of the Tribunal to deliver that justice."

You can buy a paperback version of the book, get it on a USB stick or buy both and all at half the price it would cost you elsewhere.

More details and an order form are here.

 

FREE CASE LAW WEBINARS
If you are not confident that you understand how to make the best use of case law, then we have the solution.

Author Mark Perlic is running two free webinars on the subject, exclusively for Benefits and Work subscribing members.

Mark is a very experienced welfare benefits trainer – he used to be Birmingham Tribunal Unit’s Training Officer. But these days, when he’s not writing books, he works as part of the management team of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Welfare Rights Service.

So, we consider ourselves very fortunate indeed that he has offered to dust off his virtual whiteboard and run these three hour webinars for us.

PIP Entitlement: Finding and Using the Law will focus primarily on PIP, but the knowledge gained can easily be applied to other benefits including DLA, ESA and UC.

There is one webinar for claimants and carers and one for support workers, advice workers and other professional staff. Professionals can be sent a certificate of attendance if they wish.

The webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend on the day or who can’t manage a full three hours, although there will be a break in the middle.

This is a rare opportunity to learn from an acknowledged expert – don’t miss it.

More details here.

 

TRAINING FOR PROFESSIONALS
Last week’s Mental Health Awareness course was a big hit and we’re now running it again in September.

The next Zoom training on 8 June is:

Making the Best Possible PIP Mobility Claims On Mental Health Grounds.
Tuesday 8 June 9.30am to 12.30pm

With the thousands of challenges to LEAP decisions which we believe the coming months will see, now might be a good time to make sure you are up to speed on this subject.

We explain how to provide detailed, accurate and persuasive evidence of entitlement to points for ‘Planning and Following Journeys’ when filling in the PIP2 Questionnaire, attending assessments, and at mandatory reconsideration and appeal stage.

The course is packed with valuable hints and tips on how to ensure the correct result.

More details of this and our other upcoming courses here.

Affiliate scheme
We are about to trial a very basic affiliate scheme for training sales. If you have a website that is visited by professionals such as social workers, housing workers and advice workers and would like to help promote our training, whilst also earning commission, drop us an email at: admin@benefitsandwork.co.uk

 

FEEDBACK AND SAVING LIVES
We are always very grateful for your good news, whether posted in the forum or emailed to us. It really buoys us up when we are feeling gloomy – which as regular newsletter readers will have noticed is rather a lot of the time in my case.

And we also know that for many of our readers it is the feedback from other claimants that gives them the courage and the hope to challenge a bad decision, or even to make a claim in the first place.

So please do keep sending it in, it really matters.

But there were a couple of emails recently, published below, that we were especially touched by.

One member told us:

“You are giving people the tools they need to make sure they survive. I hope you are all aware of the difference you are making to so many people.”

Another wrote:

“Thank you so much for the information you provide. Your work empowers people and saves lives.”

Benefits isn’t the easiest subject to spend your days immersed in and I hope that one day this website will no longer be needed.

But until then, feedback like this makes us feel privileged to be working here.

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: 34928

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
DWP issues Long Covid guidance for child DLA, but where is PIP and UC information?

Free members webinars on using case law with Mark Perlic

Huge discount on PIP Case Law Pack

DWP denies using algorithms for LEAP review, but admits to using automated ‘business rules’

Lower cost fibre broadband for claimants

Combined PIP/ESA/UC assessment postcodes revealed

DWP faces more legal action as BBC reveals 150 benefits related deaths or episodes causing serious harm

 

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.

Universal Credit success
“Hi guys hopefully a success here. I've received new style esa. I applied for UC and sent in lots of my documentation and within a week I've been awarded 25 months from April… Thanks for your help and advice.

PIP renewal success
“When a white envelope dropped through my letterbox I presumed wrongly that I was being called for a phone or face to face assessment. Instead I read with joy and rejoicing that I had been given standard award for both daily living and mobility to April 2024. I’m just sending a big thank you to you all because your help and member guides are invaluable to us and you do a fantastic job.

PIP success before Appeal
“Hi all, I received a phone call today at 4:45 from a man offering me Enhanced Care and Standard Mobility, great news so I happily accepted! I only submitted my appeal too 2 weeks ago 5 days after receiving my MR decline. All this from loosing my DLA back in January with 0 points. The man even offered me a sincere apology saying ‘We know you are disabled it should not have got this far’. I’m so grateful for this site and the volunteers.”

PIP success
“We are just recovering from the ordeal of a battle with the DWP lasting almost four years. My 33-year-old daughter, for whom I am Appointee, has a Learning Disability and went to a Special School… She was awarded DLA lower rates of Living and Mobility in 1995 as an 8-year-old child. Her DLA was then awarded indefinitely. We were invited to apply for PIP in July 2017. . . The DWP awarded my daughter 0 points and consequently her DLA was stopped in October 2017. I went through all the normal steps, following the ‘Benefits and Work’ Guidelines, of asking them to look at their Decision again and requested a Mandatory Reconsideration. . . The DWP said they preferred the Assessor's evidence to our own. They said the Assessor’s evidence was the best evidence and they preferred it…I submitted an appeal using ‘Benefits and Work’ guidelines and sent further supporting evidence… We had a one-hour personal hearing at a First Tier Tribunal in Leicester, in September 2018… The FTT awarded 6 points for reading and budgeting, 2 points short of qualifying for any PIP. I requested a copy of their Statement of Reasons. It appeared that they did not make any ‘finding of fact’ … After jumping over several hurdles, we went to the Upper Tribunal in Birmingham in January 2020 and appeared before one Judge, to try to have the First Tier Tribunal’s decision overturned. It was very formal, but the Judge and his Clerk could not have done more to put us at ease… The Judge sent a Decision that suggested there were two ‘Errors in Law’ because the First Tier Tribunal did not consider my daughter’s evidence ... He also directed the next First Tier Tribunal to make a thorough review of all the papers… We had another First Tier Tribunal, this time remotely on line in April 2021. It was an horrendous interrogation of almost two hours... After feeling desperately low for several days, we received the result after a few days and we had won! They awarded PIP from 2017 to 2027. All my daughter has done is recouped what she lost in 2017, standard rates of Daily Living and Mobility.
I could not let the matter rest because my daughter had been cheated out of PIP … My advice is to keep on persevering and fight for justice. You can win.”

Thank you B and W for all you have done for us
I have been subscribed with you since 2012 and care for my wife who has mental health issues. We have recently just completed her PIP review form and are pleased to say she has been given an award until Oct 2023.We couldn't have done it without your regularly updated members guides. In the past those guides have won us success with a DLA tribunal, the change from DLA to PIP, filling in the re- assessment forms, a mandatory reconsideration letter and just now the PIP review award till Oct 2023.We urge anyone who is looking for help negotiating the benefit minefield to subscribe as it will be the best money you will ever spend. Thank you B&W for all you have done for us.
Paul and Gilly

You are giving people the tools they need to make sure they survive.
It was so daunting to apply for benefits for the first time. Without your guides I would not have received my LCWRA decision for UC. Buoyed by this, I started my application for PIP in November, expecting hell. It took until early April to be assessed - my 90 minute phone appointment was very hard to get through as someone with ME/CFS and I expected the worst. Still, I had prepared as best I could with your guide. Out of nowhere at the end of April I found nearly £3000 in my bank account. Shocked, I waited for the bank holiday to pass to receive my award letter laying things out - well, it wasn't perfect, and some things were misrepresented, but standard daily living (frustratingly missed enhanced by 1 point) and enhanced mobility, meaning I can apply for my blue badge, bus pass, car tax exemption. Valid until April 2024. What a load off my mind. The work you all do is nothing short of heroic. You are giving people the tools they need to make sure they survive. I hope you are all aware of the difference you are making to so many people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Miranda

Your work empowers people and saves lives. I will always be grateful.
In 2016, I found the Benefits and Work website while researching how to appeal the outcome of a PIP (transferring from DLA) application. I was amazed at how much information and support was available and it provided everything I needed to challenge the decision, muster enough courage to go all the way to Tribunal and win! I was awarded Standard Rate Care and Higher Rate Mobility.
My review took place a few weeks ago but as soon as I received the DWP notice, I went straight to the B&W website for support and I am so glad I did. This time I wasn't afraid. B&W had helped me get through one of the toughest times of my life in 2016; the mandatory reconsideration and tribunal took its toll on my mental and physical health but this time I knew I was better prepared. The information provided on reviews was so straight forward and reassuring. Just a week after submitting my review, I had a call from a DWP agent who asked only one question. Unlike my first experience with a Health 'profession' telephone interview, this agent was professional, patient and very empathetic. She only asked one question and told me there and then that she intended on increasing my award - based on the evidence I provided.
I got my award letter a few days ago and true to her word, I was awarded Higher Rate Care and continue to receive Higher Rate Mobility until 2025.
I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome and just so relieved that this process went so smoothly - I cried!
Thank you so much for the information you provide. Your work empowers people and saves lives. I will always be grateful.
Gilly

 

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: 34928

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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