We recently suggested to Benefits and Work readers that they consider contacting their MP if they can’t get through to the DWP on the phone.  We’ve heard from lots of readers since about their experience of asking their MP for help.  One lesson seems to be: don’t make assumptions about whether your MP will be helpful based on which party they belong to or what their voting record on benefits is.

Our reader Anees has nothing but praise for Labour MP, Sam Tarry who she says is a “fantastic person and his staff are lovely. He help me always and every time, after his recent help I was awarded enhanced award in PIP.”

And Mo is just as impressed with her MSP Patrick Grady.  She says that he and “his staff are fantastic,  Patrick goes above and beyond,  he is always supportive and has helped me many times navigate the appalling service from the DWP, after his recent help I was awarded £50 compensation by the DWP’s complaints department.” 

But it seems even a “useless Tory MP” can actually be very helpful, reader Alison tells us.

“Surprised to say, my useless tory MP made a complaint,  ATOS took it up, saying my assessment was totally unsatisfactory,  then I had a massive 3 way assessment and had my pip reinstated. For a while there, I was both grateful and amazed. So don't be put off if you think you might not get help.”

Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch helped Sandra after her husband died and she struggled to get the DWP to look at her ESA award again.  Sandra says that “Not only did her department sort out my supersession and get me onto ESA income based but also got a refund of my Bereavement Support Payment that the DWP had been wrongly taking off my ESA and also managed to get my disabled premium put on and backdated and secure me the cost of living payment I was due.”.


Another Conservative MP helped Ani, who was facing destitution:  “Yes, my MP Desmond Swayne did intervene at the last minute, speaking directly with Jeremy Hunt when he was health minister to force the DWP to restore my benefits after 18 months with no income, as I was very ill and facing homelessness.”

One reader, John,  told us that he was one of the very first people to apply for PIP.  After waiting 6 months he still hadn’t had an assessment and was concerned he might miss out as he was nearing his 65th birthday.  He contacted his Conservative MP, Tobias Elwood and, John tells us:

“The response was immediate from the MP's office. They sent me a copy of their letter to the DWP demanding that my case to be reviewed urgently. Within two days, I received a face to face appointment, which resulted in my PIP award, backdated 6 months. I'm 74 now and still getting PIP. The moral is, contact your MP for action.”

But not all Conservative MPs are so helpful. Helen says she has contacted her Conservative MP Mark Harper three times about her PIP and never had so much as a reply.

Meanwhile Viv was less than impressed with Labour MP Derek Twigg after she sought his help.  The DWP claimed that Viv had not responded to a letter or texts they sent her and so stopped her PIP.  Viv had never received any of the communications. Twigg suggested that Viv should try to prove that they had never been sent, a virtually impossible task as second class post is not tracked and the recipient cannot prove they didn’t receive a text.  Viv said of Twigg, “He & his assistant we’re not fit for purpose.”

Some posters didn’t tell us which MP they had asked for help, but experiences were still varied.

One reader was told by their MP “it is not the job of MP's to raise issues on behalf of individuals”.

 Another poster, Phil, is a carer for his partner who has chronic long term lower back pain, IBS, severe diverticulitis, borderline personality disorder and severe anxiety.  In spite of submitting very large amounts of medical and other evidence for a PIP claim, they were told they would have to undertake a 160 mile round trip for an assessment.

Even after Capita were told the claimant couldn’t be far from a lavatory, the best concession they would offer was to reduce the round trip to 80 miles.

Phil contacted his MP and within days Capita had decided they had enough evidence for a paper assessment and our Phil’s partner got a 10 year enhanced award of PIP.

As Phil says “The point I'm making here is, when all may seem lost, contacting your local MP and asking for their help really does make a difference.”

 Reader Jean’s daughter was incorrectly and repeatedly told by the DWP that she was earning too much to claim Carer’s Allowance – even though she wasn’t working at all.  In the end she contacted her MP and “within two weeks it was all sorted and her claim was backdated, our MP was amazing she even contacted our daughter to check all was well.”

So, we’re sticking by our advice to try to get help from your MP if you can’t get through to the DWP by phone.  But whether you’ll be happy with their response is, unfortunately, as much of a lottery as whether the DWP will answer your call.


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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sharon · 1 years ago
    I went to see Sir David Amess when he was with us and he was exceptionally kind to me, listened, wrote several letters and genuinely tried to help.  I was surprised at his level of follow up and shall always remember his kindness at a time i was feeling particularly low.
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    Carole · 1 years ago
    I can sum up the help from my Tory MP as USELESS. 

    I have written emails on various matters, not just disability related and his standard copy and date letters are not worth the paper they are typed on, or the cost of postage.  They toe the Party line every time!
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    Maria Nelson · 1 years ago
    My MP is a centrist, she only cares about cyclists and walking, smart city stuff. In this , it seems disabled peoples needs are totally annihilated. With homeless people used as an excuse for removing or using appropriate seating and toilets. Our council is equally bad in matters pertaining to disability. As a prior active member of labour me and my MP really did not get on. Her dislike from day 1 was palpable. I’m talking face to face. Let’s just say we clash.  The culture in this area Newcastle north is ableist imho. Yes she will respond to some emails. But clearly she has no education on hidden disability or autism.  
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    Wynn · 1 years ago
    I've found Dr Liam Fox of North Somerset to be outstanding, helpful and compassionate, which is more than I can say when seeking the help of any given Bristol MP where my parents reside.
    Just goes to show people vote Red or Blue with bias regardless of how useful and effective the MP actually is.
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    Alan Thompson · 1 years ago
    My experience is less than positive. Sometime ago the DWP stopped all my benefits with zero notice or explanation. Amongst the attempts I made to get help was to write to my MP Gillian Keegan. I received only a short bland note about applying for UC, this from somebody calling themselves Olly. I wrote back asking to actually speak to my MP... I never received a reply. She and her staff an utter disgrace
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    Rachel · 1 years ago
    My MP is a Tory Ben Wallace.  when about 4 yrs ago I last my PIP after of been on it for years.  I emailed him and he took my case on.  I got my PIP back plus my mobility went up.  I'm not a Tory support but at least we have on of the good ones. 
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    JustinR73 · 1 years ago
    The trouble is, this story highlights are immiediate, understandable, prejudices with have with MPs of parties. The Tories have been painted the nasty party (unsurprisingly) whilst Labour, the angels of humanity (totally unwarranted). The LibDems... tumbleweed. 
    I think what really goes on underneath is individuals. Some people are helpful, others are completely useless, even callous. Some will not only be helpful but will move mountains to get things done double quick. 
    It really is a lottery when dealing with people from political parties, organisations, private companies. You get the difficult ones. You get the decent one. You get the astounding ones. Where we they can be found tells are nothing until with deal with these individuals of three of these camps. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Andy · 1 years ago
      @JustinR73 It is important to bear in mind that even though you may have a Tory MP who voted to claw back 20% of Welfare Benefits (going back to the IDS regime at the DWP) and make PIP assessments a nightmare, when they are put on the spot as your constituency MP you will likely find that their instinct for survival kicks in, because they want to get re-elected at the next GE. So they will most likely be as helpful as possible out of simple self-interest to get your vote when it matters.
      Let's not forget also it was the Blairite/Thatcherite Labour MP James Purnell who went to USA and got the DLA/PIP disability assessment 'off the peg' from an American private health Insurance company, rather than seek out best practise from more compassionate European examples of disability/social security assessment.
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    Jon · 1 years ago
    I received help from my Labour MP Lisa Nandy some years ago now. However I had to button hole her at the GP surgery! She just happened to be a patient on the same day, so some luck. Whether she would have been so helpful in other customary circumstances, we shall never know. But when I was up for review some years later, It seemed much more cumbersome a task to break through her barriers of personal assistants etc. So positive and negative memories.
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    Lee · 1 years ago
    The Tories are on the ropes at the moment and MP's are desperate to get re-elected. This does not however detract from their overall strategy of making hollow promises to the electorate while they pursue their radical neo-liberal agenda behind the scenes.  It's good to hear that the shameful conduct of this sordid party has embarrassed some MP's into action, but let's not credit to them as virtue - it's (as usual) self- interest. 
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    Annietush · 1 years ago
      Due to my local council paying my housing benefit 4 weekly in arrears I was constantly getting letters from my landlord Sanctuary Scotland  saying I was breaching my housing lease by not paying in advance.   I contacted  my local Tory MP David Duguid  who was no help whatsoever.     He  was not interested.   I ended up  paying a sum every month to keep my rent account  in advance,  despite being on full housing benefit.  Previous SNP   Mp was very helpful. 
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    denby · 1 years ago
    It's a few years ago but when we ended up in our then Tory MP's office with our daughter in tears after a horrible assessment experience, he did not sort the issues. He's now MP of a more rural constituency and the town has a Labour one, albeit by a narrow majority.

    I recommend anyone sign up [free] with 'They work for You' to get emails so you know what your MP is up to. There's a linked facility , 'Write to Them' which makes it easy to do.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Mark · 1 years ago
      @denby I wrote to my local MP twice through the rather comically named 'They work for you' he never got back, he is now the Speaker, Lindsey Hoyle.
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