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Success at Mandatory Reconsideration
“Thanks to all the moderators and all the good advice, we had good news after submitting an MR. From standard rate care only which was stopped in December to enhanced care and low rate mobility until 2031. Caused unnecessary stress to all for over 6 months, but I followed all the advice on this great site to help my relative. I think letters from the GP and hospital letters helped as well as labouring the points that should have been given. Thank you to all.”

USE YOUR 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COUPON BEFORE MIDNIGHT FRIDAY: 39875

 

Dear Reader,

In this edition we alert you to the fact that this is our final discount coupon for at least six weeks.

We highlight the proposal to create a new ‘Severe Disability Group’ of claimants who don’t have to have assessments or fill out detailed forms.

We discover that one in ten PIP claimants from 2020 still haven’t had a decision.

And we applaud the claimant who took on the DWP over their practice of trying to scare claimants into accepting lower awards instead of going to an appeal tribunal.

We reveal that almost 100 claimants have already signed up for our new on-demand PIP training.

We thank the thousands of you who have completed the Channel 4 Dispatches survey and remind everyone else it’s not too late to do so.

And finally, we invite you to follow us on Twitter to keep up with news stories over the summer and be alerted when our guides to PIP online claims and to Upper Tribunal appeals are published.

 

FINAL COUPON UNTIL MID-SEPTEMBER
We’re taking a break from publishing the newsletter until mid-September, so the 20% off coupon code

39875

will be the last discount coupon for at least six weeks.

But we won’t be taking a break from working on the site.

Over the summer we’ll be publishing a guide to online PIP claims – if the DWP ever manage to get the new system up and running – and a guide to appealing to the Upper Tribunal.

So, if you think you might need us over the summer, head over to the subscription page, enter the coupon code and sign-up before midnight on Friday.

 

SEVERE DISABILITY GROUP – NO ASSESSMENTS OR DETAILED APPLICATION FORMS
The long awaited health and disability green paper Shaping Future Support was finally released last week.

The 99 page document contains surprisingly few concrete proposals.

But it does rule out a single assessment system combining PIP and WCA assessments.

It also rules out introducing a minimum award length for PIP.

Instead, the number of repeat assessments may be cut by the introduction of a ‘Severe Disability Group’ (SDG).

The DWP say: “People who do not come within the special rules for terminal illness may still have severe and lifelong conditions that will not improve. These people are unlikely ever to work again and will always need extra financial support to live independently.”

The intention is to place people in this position into the SDG, so that they “can benefit from a simplified process without ever needing to complete a detailed application form or go through an assessment.”

How long it will be before the SDG becomes a reality is not stated.

And the eligibility criteria may be so restrictive that few claimants are affected.

But you can have your say by taking part in the green paper consultation, which runs until 11 October.

 

ONE IN TEN OF ALL PIP CLAIMS MADE IN 2020 HAVE STILL NOT BEEN DECIDED ON
At a time of record breaking numbers of PIP applications, it turns out the DWP still have an assessment backlog from last year.

In a written parliamentary answer last week, Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, said that as of April 2021 there were 59,000 initial claims for PIP from 2020 that had not yet had a decision.

This includes both new claims to PIP and reassessments from DLA to PIP and is almost 10% of the 614,000 initial claims for PIP registered in 2020.

No indication was given of how long it will take to work through the backlog - or what it is about these particular cases that has resulted in their being delayed.

 

DWP CAVES IN OVER HIGH-PRESSURE PRE-TRIBUNAL TACTICS
The DWP has caved in the day before it faced a judicial review from a disabled woman over the way it tries to pressure PIP claimants into accepting a lower offer rather than attending a tribunal.

In this case, the DWP made a low offer and told the claimant, known as ‘K’ that they had just one hour to make up their mind.

They also warned K that “tribunals are not very nice to go to” and that she could lose her whole award if she did.

K explained that she brought the case because:

“The practice of phoning people in this way just isn’t right. It’s not just about the cold calling, it’s the whole way they treat you on the call. I felt extremely pressured to make a quick decision. I wasn’t given the time I needed to speak to my mum or seek any advice, they didn’t give me the information that I needed to work out if it was what I was entitled to, and they didn’t tell me I could accept the offer and still appeal the decision if I wanted.

“It feels as though the DWP has been picking on extremely vulnerable people and using the fear of going to a tribunal or losing an award to pressure people into accepting less than they should be getting.”

The DWP dug its heels in for a year, refusing to accept it was doing anything wrong until the day before the hearing, when it suddenly agreed to make a number of changes, including:

Telling staff it is ‘essential’ that they inform claimants that even if they accept a revised offer they still have the right to appeal against it.

Telling staff that they must ensure that benefit claimants do not feel “pressured” into making a decision.

Delivering mandatory training to all staff involved in ‘lapsing’ appeals by the end of October to ensure they understand the updated guidance.

The DWP did not, however, agree to end the practice of making pre-tribunal offers to claimants and only time will tell whether the use of fear and intimidatory tactics is really now a thing of the past.

 

ONLINE TRAINING TAKES OFF
Many thanks to everyone who has supported the site, as well as their own learning, by subscribing to our new online training.

We’ve had almost 100 people enrol so far and we’re already getting some very positive feedback about the different modules:

“Excellent course explained in simple terms so that you understand how descriptors will apply for different reasons.”

“The videos, transcripts and discussions are very clear, simple and easy to understand. Thanks so much for doing this for us.”

“Excellent course. Helps you understand PIP.”

“Really easy to understand. Very useful.”

The bundle of six modules for claimants and carers has been the most popular option and represents the best value, at just over £4.50 per module, if you are a Benefits and Work subscriber and copy the discount code from the PIP members page.

The most popular individual module is the PIP Mobility and Mental Health module, which members can access for £6.00 with the discount code.

So don’t miss out on this valuable new resource. To find out more and get started in seconds - visit our training site.

 

THOUSANDS HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED THE CHANNEL 4 SURVEY
Many thanks to the thousands of Benefits and Work readers who have already taken part in the Channel 4 Dispatches/ John Pring survey.

The anonymous survey is part of the research for a documentary that will look at how the disability benefits system affects disabled people.

It’s really important that the voices of claimants who have been through the assessment system are heard.

The producers of Dispatches told us:

“We've had over 2,000 responses so far which has been really good, and it has definitely revealed clear trends about the impact of the benefits system on people's mental and physical health.”

It’s not too late to complete the survey if you haven’t already done so.

 

GET SUMMER UPDATES VIA TWITTER
Although we won’t be sending out a newsletter over the summer, we will still be publishing news articles if anything you need to know about happens.

So, if you want to be alerted when there are new stories or new guides, then please do follow us on Twitter.

We hope you have a peaceful and sunny summer and we’ll be back again after the break.

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: 39875

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
1 in 10 2020 PIP claims still on hold

Universal Credit cut goes ahead

Green Paper proposes Severe Disability Group – no assessments or detailed application forms

Bereaved relatives call for public enquiry into DWP deaths

DWP caves in over high-pressure pre-tribunal tactics

PIP 28 day hospital rule challenged

 

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 Result
“Only 20 days after returning my pip review form I have unexpectedly received the decision letter this morning. I have stayed on the same award until 2025 (standard on both)… Thank you for your help”

Thanks!
“Just been alerted by my bank to a nice deposit that equates to backdated enhanced living and standard mobility PIP. Not had my PA4 or decision letter yet but these are the rates I felt would be fair so am obviously delighted and relieved in equal measure. So just a big thank you for the excellent guides as I'm certain my application wouldn't have been as effective without them. Thank you”

you provide an excellent service
“Thanks to this website, had my white letter yesterday(not brown). I have had an award for 10 years, standard rate care and enhanced rate of mobility, thanks to everyone at benefits and work, you provide an excellent service, with members guides, I could not have done this without your help.”
William

Your services have helped keep my head above water
“I've been a member of Benefits and Work for quite some time. I've never taken the time to do this, so I thought I would now. I've suffered with gout for roughly twenty years. It has progressed slowly and steadily from a painful nuisance to a debilitating chronic condition during that time. Roughly five years ago, I was diagnosed with the final stage of the disease, chronic tophaceous gout. I went from happily working fifty to sixty hours a week, to being unable to get down my stairs in a very short period of time. The disease affects all my major joints and it attacks me two to three times a month on average.
I have relied heavily on your guides and they have given me a confidence that I would never have been able to obtain without their help. I'm currently receiving maximum mobility and standard daily living for the condition. I won't pretend its a lot of money, but I can say I would never have ended up with the benefit at all had I have relied solely on the advice of the agent in the benefits office. Your services have helped keep my head above water during the most difficult time of my life and I wanted to thank you all for the hard work you do. I've just renewed my annual membership again, and part of me felt guilty for redeeming your discount code (the other part of me is still aware times are tough all around, so thank you for the discount!).
You are very appreciated,”
John

 

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: 39875

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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