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PIP award
“Just want to say thank you to this forum for all your advice i had my telephone assessment last thursday and today I phoned for the PA4 only to be told my decision has been made in my favour enhanced care and standard mobility i was only standard care before so I'm over the moon. Everything I've read on here helped me prepare for my assesment so thank you”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 36642

 

Dear Reader,

In this newsletter, we discover that the more you look into PIP mobility award records, the more dodgy they look – and it’s current claimants who are now losing out.

We share the horrifying statistic that over 100 terminally ill claimants die every month still fighting for their benefits.

We reveal that the DWP are resorting to dirty tricks to try to prevent a second inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting, drawing criticism even from the High Court judge.

We learn that the DWP admits to carrying out 175 secret benefit death reviews, but has destroyed records of others.

We find that PIP, ESA and UC appeal numbers and success rates have all fallen.

And so has the proportion of claimants getting into the ESA support group.

And we remind you that this is your last chance to register for our free PIP case law webinars.

 

CLAIMANTS LOSE OUT AS PIP MOBILITY AWARDS APPEAR TO BE MANIPULATED
Earlier this month we looked at PIP mobility awards for anxiety and depression, before and after the decisions in MH and RJ.

We found that, as expected, award rates increased after the two cases were implemented in June 2018.

But we also discovered that within a year they had fallen back to almost their previous levels, before beginning to climb again.

This is not something that should have happened. Award rates should have gone up and stayed up..

We have now looked at the award rates for all the conditions the DWP considered would be affected by MH, as a group.

And the result is the same.

According to the DWP’s own estimates, as a result of the MH case alone, 6% of the entire PIP caseload should have moved from no award of the mobility component to enhanced. A further 6% should have moved from no award to standard. In addition, 2% should have moved from standard mobility to enhanced.

The increase due to MH should have been immediate and sustained once it was implemented, with literally hundreds of thousands of additional mobility awards in place by 2023.

We’ve published a series of graphs on the site to illustrate what has actually happened to award levels.

Of course, there may be other explanations for the way the mobility statistics behave, other than manipulation of award rates by the DWP.

Asking the DWP directly seems a particularly pointless endeavour, however, as we currently can't get straight answers to the simplest of Freedom of Information requests, but we will continue delving.

In the meantime, if you are currently making a claim for PIP or about to have your award reassessed, do make sure you understand how the PIP rules relating to 'Going out' (‘Planning and following journeys’) should apply to you, because there's a good chance the DWP will be applying them quite differently.

Members can download our guide to PIP claims and reviews, which has nine pages solely on the subject of ‘Planning and following journeys’.

 

100 TERMINALLY ILL CLAIMANTS A MONTH DIE STILL FIGHTING FOR THEIR BENEFITS
As the DWP drags its feet over reform of the terminal illness rules for benefits, it has been revealed that more than 100 people a month are dying whilst still fighting for an award of PIP, in spite of having less than six months to live.

A report by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Marie Curie found that in the 18 months between April 2018 and October 2019 1,860 people died within six months of being refused benefits.

One claimant who is terminally ill had her benefits reduced after being forced to move from DLA to PIP.

She told the Guardian: “The assessor didn’t recognise that I was terminally ill. He didn’t want to see the doctor’s letters, the consultant’s letter or the letter from the hospice. He didn’t want to know. I have Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis, brittle bone disease and intestinal failure.

“I have been receiving end-of-life support from a hospice but had to cancel my other care after the review as I couldn’t afford to pay for it. I was forced to appeal and only then did I receive a higher rate.”

In another case, a consultant neurologist was questioned no fewer than three times by Capita about their assessment that a claimant with motor neurone disease was terminally ill.

This not only caused the claimant distress and needlessly delayed their access to much-needed benefits, but it also wasted the valuable time of an NHS consultant when the health service has a record 5 million people on its waiting lists.

 

DWP RESORT TO DIRTY TRICKS TO TRY TO PREVENT SECOND INQUEST
Joy Dove, the mother of Jodey Whiting has condemned the ‘abominable’ behaviour of the DWP as they resort to dirty tricks to prevent a second inquest into Jodey’s death,

Jodey died in February 2017. Her ESA had been stopped after she was refused a home work capability assessment even though she was seriously ill.

An inquest into Jodey’s death lasted less than an hour and failed to even look at the part the DWP played in the tragedy.

Her family have since been fighting for a new inquest to properly examine the part played by the DWP.

The Department had known since December that a High Court hearing was due to take place on 22 June.

Yet with just three weeks to go, the DWP suddenly applied to be made a party in the case and to have permission to address the court orally on three separate matters.

This would have made the case last much longer, probably meaning it would have to be relisted for a later date.

It would also have greatly increased the costs for Jodey’s family and massively increased the distress her mother is experiencing.

The judge in the case was very critical of the DWP’s late intervention and their failure to explain or even apologise for it.

Instead of allowing three oral submissions, the judge is only allowing one written submission.

This still means the case will last for one and a half days, instead of just one day.

Jodey’s mother said:

“I am appalled by the behaviour of the DWP. I believe they caused my daughter’s death by their callous disregard for the anguish they caused her and now, with the same abominable attitude towards ordinary people, they are causing me more distress.”

We’ll let you know the outcome of the hearing.

 

DWP ADMITS TO 175 SECRET BENEFIT DEATH REVIEWS
The DWP has carried out more than 175 secret reviews into the deaths of claimants since February 2012, with 80 happening in the last three full calendar years. But they have already begun destroying the evidence, with reviews from before 2016 all deleted.

The figures were revealed by the Disability News Service, following a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

In all there were 126 reviews in the five years between 2016 and 2020 and 49 are known about between 2012 and autumn 2014 because of a previous FoI request.

The DWP say that they do not know how many reviews took place in the whole of 2014 and 2015 because, with extraordinary disregard for learning lessons that might save lives, they have destroyed the records.

 

PIP, ESA AND UC APPEAL NUMBERS AND SUCCESS RATES FALL
Social security appeal numbers and success rates for claimants have all fallen according to the latest statistics released by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), covering January to March 2021.

The number of social security appeals being lodged has fallen by 37% overall compared to the same quarter last year, to 22,000 appeals.

The success rate for PIP claimants was 72%, down 4% on last year.

The ESA success rate was 67%, down 9%.

The DLA success rate was 67%, down 3%.

The UC success rate was 54%, down 11%

It isn’t clear why success rates are falling. However, it may well be connected to the switch to telephone appeals and the extra barriers to communication that these cause..

 

ESA SUPPORT GROUP NUMBERS FALL
Fewer new and repeat ESA claimants are being placed in the support group, according to the latest statistics released by the DWP.

In the latest quarter, to December 2020, 76% of new claimants were placed in the support group, compared to 84% in the preceding quarter.

14% of new claimants were placed in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), an increase of 10%.

10% of new claimants were found fit for work.

For repeat assessments, 85% were placed in the support group, compared to 95% in the preceding quarter.

14% were placed in the WRAG, up from 4% in the preceding quarter.

Again, it isn’t clear why there has been a fall in support group numbers. But again it may be connected to the use of telephones for assessments.

So, please don’t take it for granted that you will be placed in the support group again, just because you have been in the past.

 

USE CASE LAW WITH CONFIDENCE - FREE WEBINARS
21 June Claimants And 30 June Professionals

This is our last opportunity to invite members to register for our free PIP case law 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.

Find out more and register 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: 36642

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
Claimants lose out as PIP mobility awards appear to be manipulated

DWP admits to 175 secret benefit death reviews, but destroys records of others

DWP resort to dirty tricks to try to prevent second inquest for Jodey Whiting

PIP, ESA and UC appeal numbers and success rates fall

ESA support group numbers fall

100 terminally ill claimants a month die still fighting for their benefits

 

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.

Success on PIP Mandatory Reconsideration
“Just wanted to post a success story on PIP MR ….not only for myself but my daughter as well. We are chuffed to bits that all the hard work paid off and just want to say a big Thankyou. for all the help and information that was available to us on this site.”

Fantastic news re ESA
“I had my ESA decision letter today, it’s been ongoing since March. I got great news been put in the support group. We used your guide and went through it step by step, piling in the relevant evidence on to the form - there is absolutely no way we’d have been successful if it wasn’t for your guide, the forum - just seeing that other poor people are going through the same, harrowing experience gave us strength to continue. Thank you everyone, best wishes to everybody waiting on any decisions.”

PIP MR success
“Dear fellow forum members and moderators, I want to say thank you so much to all the moderators and fellow forum members that were very kind and patient by helping me with my questions as you helped me along with B&W guides to have a successful PIP MR. Great News! After 8 weeks, I found out the great news that there was a new decision made because of my PIP Mandatory Request and that from 2 standard rates, 1 for daily living and 1 for mobility, I was remained on standard rate for daily living but awarded enhanced rate for mobility and remained on PIP for 4 years! I believe I should have had enhanced rates for daily living and mobility but I am extremely happy with the outcome and have no intention of appealing the decision. I strongly believe that without your help, advice I would not have been successful. I am extremely grateful to all the moderators and fellow forum members spending time on this forum giving me very helpful advice for my MR.”

A Big Thank You
“I just wanted to give you the result of my mandatory decision. I wasn't sure whether to ask for a Mandatory reconsideration as in 2017 I received no points or award for my care needs and only got standard for mobility. This time I got enhanced rate for mobility [12 points] and 11 points off my care needs to be reviewed in 10 years. Although I felt very lucky and didn't want to "rock the boat" I did feel that the first assessor had not taken into account how different my care needs were since my assessment 2017 and how much I depended on my husband especially since the various lockdowns. and just pointed out a few bits that the assessor had said which I or my husband disagreed with. I couldn't believe my luck [if you call being disabled lucky] when I received an amount of money in my bank followed up with the letter which said I was successful but the best bit of all was both awards are ongoing. This is say thank you - reading the forum, support from the guides, the moderators and other members gave me the confidence to request a mandatory reconsideration”

I could not of done this without the help of your website
“I have just been awarded an upgrade on my pip allowance.. also I’ve now been given a 10yr award with a “light touch “ moving forward. I could not of done this without the help of your website and wish to thank you all. It goes to show that there is hope for us all so don’t give up the good fight!!”
Jim

Your guides are absolutely invaluable
“I wrote to you earlier complaining about the ESA form which I found to be quite a struggle for someone with previous experience of DWP forms. Nevertheless, I am pleased to inform you that the claim was successful and the claimant has proceeded into the support group and received a decent amount of back pay. Your guides are absolutely invaluable. Thank you.”
Carol

 

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: 36642

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