DLA to PIP assessment
No idea where to post this but have to acknowledge the wonderful advice in B&W. I have studied PIP for several years and following a DLA to PIP migration assessment 2 months ago I received my decision today. I went from trembling wreck to kleenex territory as the front page confirmed enhanced mobility and care with ongoing status. I guess this means I won't actually need B&W from now on given my age but I will continue to pay the annual subscription fee just to support your amazing efforts. I am truly grateful for your help and support.


Dear Reader,

In this edition we encourage you to download our updated members guide to PIP appeals – be ready for a very different appeal process.

We also invite you to register for one of our free, live PIP webinars. Open to members and non-members, you’ll get the latest on changes to PIP claims, assessments and appeals.

We publish some early results from our PIP telephone assessments survey, which reveal shocking privacy and access issues.

Still with telephone assessments, we’ve updated our PIP guide following warnings about call blocking and also confirmation from a minister about being able to have someone join you at your assessment.

We highlight the sudden disappearance of new guidance on your right to ask for an urgent PIP appeal – but don’t worry, we’ve posted a copy in the members area.

We reveal that not all PIP assessments that are due for renewal are being extended by six months.

And we lament the fact that new PIP claims have plummeted by more than half since the lockdown.

You may want to make yourself comfortable, it’s a bit of a long read.

What sort of PIP hearing will you have?

At one time, this was a straightforward question to answer.

If you asked for an oral hearing, you would have received a letter telling you that your hearing had been listed to be heard at a named venue, at a given date and time in front of a panel of three tribunal members.

But things have changed a great deal.

Now, even if you ask for an oral hearing there’s a very good chance you will get a paper appeal.

The decision will be a provisional one and you will be told of your right to agree with it or to ask for it to be set aside.

Or, at least you should be, we’ve already seen a decision where this didn’t happen.

If you ask for a set aside you will then get an oral hearing.

But it will almost certainly be a remote one, either by telephone or, less likely, by video link.

And the tribunal panel may not be a panel at all.

It may be a judge sitting alone.

Or it may be two people.

It might even be three.

Our updated, expanded guide to PIP appeals for claimants will help you successfully work your way through the bewildering new process.

It includes new information on:

  • How to ask for an urgent appeal
  • What to do if you ask for an oral hearing but end up with a paper appeal decision
  • How to ask for a set aside
  • How to prepare for a telephone hearing.

You can download the updated guide from the PIP page in the members area.

We’ll be updating the PIP appeals guide for support workers and the ESA appeals guide over the next few weeks.

It is extremely difficult to work out what is happening to your benefits during the current emergency.

Changes to PIP claims, assessments and appeals are happening almost daily

But we are reduced to listening to recorded messages on DWP answering machines and trying to interpret off-the-cuff comments by ministers, because up-to-date guidance is not being published by the department.

If you are struggling to understand what has changed and how, our webinars will help.

They last 40 minutes and are entirely free.

Please let other claimants and support workers know about them and post a link if you can.

Claimants and carers PIP webinar, 2pm on Monday 11 May
This webinar is open to all claimants and carers. You can post a question at the bottom of the registration page, though we can't guarantee to answer them all.

If this webinar fills up, we will put on another one, so please call back again.

Professionals PIP webinar, 2pm on Friday 15th May
This webinar is aimed at staff who offer support with PIP in the course of their work. Registrations will only be acted on if you register using your work email address. The content is the same as the claimants and carers webinar, but the questions answered may be different.

So, please do spread the word and help make sure others aren’t left not knowing their rights.

Firstly, our apologies to those of you who tried to contribute to our PIP telephone assessment survey and found a broken link. It has now been fixed, the survey is still open and we are very keen to hear from anyone who has had a PIP telephone assessment.

But we have already had over 100 responses.

There have been some positive findings: very few assessors were described as unfriendly and most calls were made on time.

But around a third of respondents did not get the legally required 7 days’ written notice of a telephone assessment.

The calls can be long and very draining.

Almost 50% said their call lasted over an hour, and further 40% said it lasted between 30 minutes and an hour.

One person commented that theirs took an extraordinary three hours.

Shamefully, people who should never have been obliged to have a telephone assessment are being forced to have them. One claimant had to get her daughter to help her and explained:

“I am severely deaf. I found it really difficult I was anxious had a severe headache half way through call . . . Telephone assessments are not suitable for deaf claimant they need to be face to face to be able to lip read the person to be successful to get the help a deaf person needs to fulfil their life as being deaf is a everyday problem for us”

And, very worryingly, 13% of you said the assessor seemed to have problems with having a quiet, confidential place to work from. That figure should be 0%. Working from home is no excuse for breaching confidentiality.

One person told us, shockingly:

“I could hear other people laughing and making comments in the background. Then someone saying sshhh”

Almost 20% of respondents had covertly recorded their assessment. And with appalling breaches of data protection like these, we think a lot more people should be doing so.

If only in order to prove what happened to them and seek compensation when they make a formal complaint.

Please keep your responses coming. The more we learn the more we can help other claimants prepare.

We’ve updated our PIP claims guide in the members area again since the last newsletter, as a result of two news items.

One item was the result of contacts from members who have missed their PIP telephone assessment, because they block calls where the caller hides their ID.

Most PIP assessors are working from home and using their personal phones for work. As a result they are hiding their number when they call claimants. So, It’s really important that you allow these calls on the day of your assessment.

The other news item was confirmation from a minister that claimants do have the right to be supported during a telephone call, in spite of what some assessors are claiming.

Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, told MPs in April:

“If you are having a telephone assessment, we are allowing your friend, family, trusted partner to be part of that process which is something we introduced a few years ago for face-to-face assessments which has made a huge difference to the quality of the outcome of the assessments.”

So, if you need support from someone who either lives with you or is willing to be part of a conference call, tell IAS (Atos) or Capita that the minister says you can.

Guidance from the Tribunals Service, which tells PIP claimants who have had their award removed that they can ask for an urgent hearing, has been taken down without explanation.

The guidance specifically states, in relation to claimants whose PIP was in payment but has now been removed, that:

‘Appellants can request an urgent hearing giving reasons and this will be considered by an authorised judge sitting alone on the papers.’

Now, however, clicking on the link returns a ‘Not Found’ error message.

On its own, this could be just a technical problem.

However, HM Courts and Tribunals Service have been sending out regular update emails in which a link to the document also appeared.

That link has now been removed.

Happily, we have included information on how to seek an urgent appeal in our updated PIP appeals guide.

And we have also uploaded the missing document to the Benefits and Work website. ‘Tribunal Help for Users’ can be downloaded from the the DWP Resources section at the bottom of the PIP members only page.

A fortnight ago, Justin Tomlinson told MPs that some PIP claimants were having their awards extended:

“ . . . for those that would be due for reassessment in the next three months, we’ve automatically extended their benefit by six months. If their condition has deteriorated and they feel that they would be entitled to more money, they can still request a reassessment but otherwise they automatically are extended.”

However, it is already clear that this is not always the case. There have been a number of reports that claimants whose award was made by a tribunal are not having their PIP extended.

There is a possibility that other groups are missing out too.

If you think you may be affected, it would be worth trying to contact the DWP to find out if your award has actually been extended.

New claims for PIP have plummeted by more than half since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, told MPs in April that new claims numbers had slumped:

“At the beginning of March it was around about 12,000 a week, that’s now down to 5,000 a week as of last week.”

Tomlinson said the DWP did not know the cause.

He also said that although there were now fewer staff available, claims are going through more quickly, partly as a result of a switch away from face-to-face assessments.

It is a tragedy that at a time when life is becoming even tougher, tens of thousands of sick and disabled claimants are missing out on benefits they are fully entitled to.

So, if you know anyone who could be eligible, please encourage them to consider making a claim.

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

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: 86457

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

PIP telephone assessment survey, early results and shocking issues

Free PIP webinars: find out what’s changed for PIP claims, assessments and appeals

PIP appeals guide update

PIP urgent appeals guidance disappears

Some PIP appeals will be treated as urgent under new guidelines

Beware of blocking ‘No caller ID’ calls if you have a PIP assessment

Minister confirms right to have someone join you for PIP assessment call

New PIP claims plummet by more than half

PIP awards due for reassessment extended by six months

As always, 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.

Telephone Appeal - Decision Received
Well today Dib's Brown Letter arrived today regarding the PIP Tribunal via telephone she had on Monday with the Decision from the Tribunal. She had a 18 month wait for the Tribunal Hearing and I am pleased to inform you that she won her appeal. She was Awarded PIP Enhanced Rates for both Care & Mobility. Her award was increased from 2 years to 5 years and backdated to January 2019. I would like to thank all those, that give people like Dib's somewhere to turn for advice. I will continue to visit this excellent website. Overall the whole experience has been a nightmare this last 18 months for both Dib and myself. The saying Head & Brick Wall come to mind.
So once again a Big Thank You

DLA to PIP success
“Received the brown envelope today after 10 months Enhanced Enhanced for an ongoing period, so happy it's over at last. Thank you for all the support from this group its really helped having the guides to look at and the experiences of others to look at. I also had help from a local disability association. For others going through this process the timeline was- invitation to change to PIP July2019, returned form September 2019, received text saying had all the information needed January 23rd 2020, DID NOT REQUIRE A FACE TO FACE ASSESSMENT, received decision letter today 14th April 2020, will get first payment end of May. Don't lose hope everyone they are obviously still making decisions on benefit but patience is a virtue. Again thank you to this site and the moderators who run it, INVALUABLE HELP”

Thank you B&W
“Hello all. I had a home assessment in December last year and I did ask for the report after Christmas. The assessor gave me 6 points for daily living and 4 for mobility. I heard on this site you can write to the decision maker if you are quick. My Son wrote a letter saying where the assessor was wrong and why. I have just received my award letter giving enhanced for both for an ongoing period. Thankyou so much and also Thankyou to 'Thistlelass' for encouraging me to ask for the report.”

Telephone appeal hearing: “ . . . an enormous thank you to all . . .”
“My son was previously on DLA for his uncontrolled epilepsy, he had surgery in 2008 which has not made much of a difference & is unable to get control through medication, having tried every medication available.
With DLA he got the highest rate for care as the majority of his tonic clonic seizures are during the night/sleep and he got the lowest rate for mobility.
When initially placed on PIP he was awarded the enhanced rate for mobility and nothing for care as he was only awarded 2 points. We have just had the appeal which we put in over a year ago and have now got the results. I represented my son and the hearing was carried on a conference call with 3 people sitting, a doctor, the judge and 1 other person who’s occupation wasn’t given. I wasn’t sure how this would work carrying out the hearing on the phone but it worked fine. We have now received the judgment and my son has been awarded the standard rate for care for 4 years. We are so pleased and could not have carried this out without the helpful guidelines from Benefits & work.
So an enormous thank you to all who input the very useful information especially Steve & Holiday, I will get my son to re-subscribe with his back dated award to keep the help going for other people. I just want other people to know that you don’t need special training to question the DWP at a higher level, but it does help if you have an advocate, someone to help you & to take some of the stress away from you.”

“Thank you so very much for all your help”
“Switching from DLA To PIP. Just want to thank you all so much for getting me through this minefield, that really doesn't want you to come out the other side happy. Well with the use of all your member guides, my husband filled out the forms. We got a letter saying we were getting a home visit, which was cancelled 3 times before we actually saw someone. The lady was very nice, she had a myriad of detailed questions, thank goodness my husband took the day off work, he really helped me out. Well, we got my much dreaded brown envelope today, it had me terrified to open it, so my husband opened it and gave me the letter. It was amazing, I got top rate mobility and top rate care ... exactly the same as I have had for over 25 years!! Even better is I got it indefinitely, just as I had it before. Thank you so very much for all your help throughout this, we can now breathe again, until we go through it again.”

“my sincere thanks”
“I would just like to pass on my sincere thanks for the help I received from your fabulous site. My daughter was in receipt of DLA care and mobility. We found out when she turned 16 last year that she had to claim PIP instead. The whole thing filled us with absolute dread. I don't know what we would've done without the help of your fantastic guides. It took a while but she has now been awarded enhanced rate for both.”

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: 86457

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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