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PIP rejected – to Enhanced on both
“I was on standard daily living and no mobility. Reassessment came, and I got a very lovely assessor who couldn't have been nicer and more understanding of my health situation. But when I got the report back it was like it was a completely different assessment. Extremely horrible, dismissive, and used out of context information from reports against me, which made no sense. I got 2 points and all my financial support taken away. Mandatory recon came to the same decision. 2 points, no benefit.
I applied to go to tribunal and used Benefits and Work guide to point out all the issues, which took a lot of emotional energy but got there in the end. DWP called me to say that they are going to give me enhanced rate of both - 26 points overall. I don't know how it can go from 2 points to 26 points but I know I couldn't have done it without the guides. Thank you for all that you do. Benefits and Work shouldn't have to exist, but I'm so glad that it does.

 

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 64743

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition, we have the important news that you can now ask Capita and IAS to think again if they tell you to attend the wrong sort of PIP assessment.

We warn that face-to-face assessments are set to become the norm again.

We exclusively reveal that PIP mobility awards rates fell following claimants’ court victories – how does the DWP do it?

We pass on a request from the unstoppable journalist and disability campaigner John Pring, for your help if you have a PIP or ESA appeal coming up.

And we remind you that there are still places on our free webinars if you want to learn how to use case law with confidence.

Plus, it’s not too late for professionals to grab a place on our PIP mobility and mental health training.

 

CLAIMANTS CAN ARGUE AGAINST PIP TELEPHONE OR FACE-TO-FACE ASSESSMENTS
Claimants can now challenge the type of PIP assessment they are forced to attend.

This unexpected change to the system has been detailed in responses by the DWP and Capita to the Coroner’s Prevention of Future Death report in the case of Philippa Day.

A new, two-part, review system means that you can argue for the assessment type that is ‘the most appropriate and safest’ in your case.

For part one there is no requirement to even provide additional evidence.

The DWP will undoubtedly hope that requests are only made in cases where there is a danger to life.

But there is absolutely nothing in the undertaking given to the Coroner to limit reviews in this way.

If travelling to an assessment centre would be very painful for you, there’s nothing to stop you requesting a telephone assessment.

If you find talking on the telephone distressing, then you can request a face-to-face.

Or you can make the case for a paper assessment being the most appropriate in your case.

There’s no guarantee of success and no right to appeal to an independent tribunal.

But if assessment companies don’t administer the system fairly, they could find themselves facing discrimination claims and judicial review.

Please do make sure that the review system is definitely available in your area, we can’t be absolutely certain it has been completely rolled-out yet.

There’s full details, and examples of written requests for changes of assessment type, from page 88 onwards in the latest version of our Guide to PIP claims and reviews.

 

FACE-TO-FACE ASSESSMENTS TO BE THE NORM AGAIN FOR PIP AND WCA
The news of the right to ask for a review of your PIP assessment type has come at the right moment, though it will not help ESA and UC claimants.

DWP minister Justin Tomlinson told the Commons Work and Pensions committee last month that face-to-face interviews are set to return, though there will still be some telephone and video assessments.

Tomlinson claimed that as well as shutting all their assessment centres due to COVID, “We also lost our health professionals.” It seems that they all went off to work on Test and Trace instead.

However, Tomlinson says that the system is now returning to normality, with WCA assessments resuming and face to face assessments returning for both the WCA and PIP.

“. . . we are returning to normality on capacity issues. The WCA assessments will begin shortly and start to be scaled back up, as in face to face, and PIP will follow a few weeks later. However, we will keep video and telephone assessments. Through the health and disability Green Paper, we will explore to what extent and where they are best to be used.”

No doubt many of our readers will be keen to respond to that Green Paper when it is finally published.

 

PIP AWARDS FALL IN SPITE OF CLAIMANT COURT VICTORIES
We’ve talked a great deal about the MH case in this newsletter.

It was a ruling that the DWP had been getting the law wrong in relation to PIP mobility on mental health grounds.

The DWP warned it would lead to an increase of around 14% in awards of the PIP mobility component.

Well, we’ve looked at the figures for claimants who have anxiety and depression – a combined condition that the DWP listed as one of those most likely to be affected by the ruling.

And what we’ve discovered is that immediately after the DWP began implementing the ruling, award rates for PIP mobility for this condition shot up from 14% to as high as 25% within months.

But then something very strange happened.

Award rates started to fall.

And, in little more than a year, they had hit a monthly low that had not been seen even in the year before the ruling.

By the time the pandemic hit and made comparisons unreliable, the annual award rate was lower than it had been before MH was implemented.

How do the DWP do it?

And more importantly, how do claimants fight back?

We’ll be carrying out more research over the coming months. (If you are good with statistics and have some spare time. do get in touch).

Meanwhile, make sure that you know what the law relating to PIP mobility and mental health really is, rather than the DWP’s increasingly suspect rendering of it.

And, if you are supporting claimants, think about signing up for next week’s Zoom training on the subject.

 

DO YOU HAVE A PIP OR ESA APPEAL COMING UP? JOHN PRING WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU
It’s probably fair to say that without years of pressure on the subject of claimant’s deaths by John Pring of Disability News Service, the Coroner at Philippa Day’s inquest would not have considered the part that the DWP and Capita had played.

And claimants would not have the opportunity to challenge their assessment type.

But John never stops fighting for claimants.

A major TV broadcaster is making a documentary in conjunction with Disability News Service about how the disability benefits process impacts on disabled people's health and wellbeing.

As part of the film, the programme makers are looking to speak to people who are currently going through the appeals process for their PIP or ESA claims. If you have a tribunal in June or early July, please email victoria@hardcashproductions.com

John told us: "I've been investigating the benefits system for nearly a decade now, working with many disabled campaigners, allies, and families of claimants.

"I know Benefits and Work has also worked hard over many years. I'm glad the documentary has been commissioned and would be grateful for any help that members of Benefits and Work can provide."

Benefits and Work receives many media enquiries, most of which we do not pass on because we can’t be certain how claimants will be treated.

But with John so closely involved in the production, we know that claimants will receive only respect and honesty.

So, please do help out if you feel you can.

 

USE CASE LAW WITH CONFIDENCE - FREE WEBINARS
Whether you are claiming PIP yourself, someone who informally helps others with appeals, a CAB volunteer or a full-time adviser, you will learn something new from this free-to-members webinar with Mark Perlic, author of the definitive guides to benefits case law used by judges and welfare rights workers alike.

Do you know:

When case law can make a difference

How to find case law

How to refer to case law in submissions

When to provide copies of cases

What to do if case law conflicts

How to challenge the DWP’s choice of case law

How much case law is too much

How to make case law yourself

If not, you should seriously consider signing up for our free, members webinar.

The webinar will also provide a guide to challenging decisions of the first-tier tribunal and highlight the most common mistakes that first-tier tribunals make that can then lead to a successful appeal to the upper tribunal. You will also learn the case law which could support your action.

Find out more and register here.

 

MAKING THE BEST POSSIBLE PIP MOBILITY CLAIMS ON MENTAL HEALTH GROUNDS
Tuesday 8 June 9.30am to 12.30pm Zoom

We’ve detailed above the evidence that claimants are being short-changed when it comes to PIP mobility claims on mental health grounds.

And we’ve being talking for months now about how the LEAP review is failing to pay arrears of PIP mobility to possibly over 100,000 claimants with mental health conditions.

Many may well want to challenge the decision to give them nothing.

So, if you are a housing worker, social worker or adviser who works with claimants with mental health issues, this might be a very good time to sign up for our Zoom training.

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.

And it’s been very well received.

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

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

You can find more details of this and our other upcoming courses here.

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: 64743

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
Face-to-face assessments to be the norm again for PIP and WCA

Claimants can argue against PIP telephone or face-to-face assessments via new review system

Do you have a PIP or ESA appeal coming up? John Pring wants to hear from you

PIP awards fall in spite of claimant court victories

Fewer disability assessments, more recordings, more free advocacy on the way, minister claims

DWP stonewalls Freedom of Information requests about LEAP

 

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 awarded
“I just wanted to thank everyone so much for all your invaluable help on this site. I have just been awarded PIP backdated to January for endometriosis, which is notoriously difficult to get, and I am amazed and delighted. I fully expected and was prepared to have to appeal, although I did spend a huge amount of time on the form. I can honestly say that the guides on this site were brilliant and so helpful in the advice they provided.”

UC award
“just like to thank all the moderators advise and helpful hints on this site.after sending off a completed uc50 form in sept have finally been placed in the lcwra assessement done on a paper based no face to face or telephone sent alot of medical letters, i have proggrsive muscular dystrophy any advise on how long these lcwra groups last for b4 i have to do it all over again and will i be entitled to back pay thank you”

PIP – in shock!
“White envelope arrived this morning… got myself a coffee… made myself comfortable..
expected the worst…. Enhanced both for 6 years!!!!! OMG!!! Still in shock.. awarded extra points for MH stuff which I hadn’t expected.. but even if they take them away again I still have 12/12 so am covered. Asked for a ‘longer term award’ but six years is fine thanks.. not going to argue.. From DWP receiving my application to me receiving a response it was 3 weeks!!! Last time it took 2.5 years… will probably have to go back to bed…!! Had worked out my bills for the remainder of the year already in preparation for a long haul. Can’t actually believe it…. (E/E for 5 years last time but won at Tribunal and took 2.5 years). Never give up… never surrender”

 

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: 64743

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