DLA high rate care and high rate mobility on initial claim
“This award really has changed my life. I can't believe it happened so fast, either - I thought it would be months before a decision. Take heart - miracles do happen! I couldn't have got through that form without B&W. Thank you so much!!!”

More good news from the forum at the end of this newsletter.

Welfare reform bill passed, DWP phone calls begin.

In spite of bitter opposition from claimants, the welfare reform bill received royal assent and became law today.  (Open access)

As a result, the DWP has already begun calling claimants (Members only) who have been on contribution-based ESA in the work-related activity group for a year to tell them when their ESA will end and to ask if they want to try to apply for income-related ESA.

And with the passage of the act comes the certainty that personal independence payment (PIP) will replace disability living allowance for working age claimants.  So there is perhaps now even more reason to take part in the consultation about the scoring system for PIP.  A number of agencies are trying to make it easier for claimants to take part before the deadline of April 30th.  We have a round-up of the options here.  (Open access)

Not quite everything is going the government’s way, however.  Peers have voted in favour of an amendment to the legal aid bill currently going through parliament which would have the effect of keeping legal aid for benefits appeals.  (External link)

The government has also been forced to do a u-turn on benefits sanctions for JSA claimants (External link) who don’t complete work experience placements.

But the DWP have made it clear that they still intend to impose sanctions on disabled claimants (Members only) who fail to take part in compulsory work-related activities under the work programme.

In more bad news for the DWP,  the government’s favourite back-to-work millionaire, Emma Harrison of A4E, has resigned as chairman of the company (External link) after allegations of fraud against some of her staff.

Criticism has also been aimed at the newly formed super-charity, Disability Rights UK (DRUK), made up of Disability Alliance, RADAR and the National Centre for Independent  Living.  

DRUK recently invited minister for disabled people Maria Miller to launch their new guidance on hate crime (Members only).  However, Miller is one of the government ministers accused by campaigners of fuelling hate crime by using misleading figures and disparaging statements about benefits claimants.  DRUK also declined to invite any press, including disability press, to the launch and would not release a copy of Miller’s speech when asked.

DRUK and Miller are also in the news following the announcement by the minister that 36 Remploy factories employing 1,752 disabled people are to have their funding withdrawn and be shut down (Open access).  A Labour MP has called Miler ‘cowardly’ and ‘shameful’ for cancelling four meetings with him about the issue.  

The decision to close the factories is based on the recommendations in a report written for the government by Liz Sayce, formerly chief executive of RADAR and now chief executive of  . . . DRUK.

There’s much more news in the members area (members only) than we can fit into this newsletter.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring, Jim Allison, papasmurf, Mrs Hurtyback, mike1983, Crazydiamond

Finally, as always,  a selection of good news from the forum:

Placed in ESA Support Group and awarded high rates of both care and mobility for DLA

Migrated from IB to ESA Support Group without medical assessment

Success at ESA appeal, 18 points awarded after only 20 minutes and placed in WRAG

Placed in ESA Support Group after medical assessment

ESA claim reconsidered and moved from WRAG to Support Group following work related interview on the telephone

IB to ESA Support Group without medical assessment

Transferred from IS to ESA Support Group, no medical assessment

DLA successfully renewed, high rate mobility and low rate care awarded for 3 years

Placed in ESA WRAG after requesting appeal and disputing findings of medical report

Migrated from IB to ESA WRAG with no medical assessment

DLA high rate mobility and low rate care awarded at appeal tribunal

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provide it is properly attributed to www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

You can also read this newsletter online (Open access).

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666


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