Benefit Appeals – what is the cost?

Benefit Appeals – what is the cost?

Benefit Appeals – what is the cost?

The cost to the mental health of disabled people who have had their disability benefits removed has been high. Many have experienced poverty, depression, and worsening health as a result of DWP decisions. Many have given up and accepted the decision because appealing is a lengthy, time consuming and emotional process.

The Government has maintained that changes to disability benefits, and reviews of eligibility have been about targeting the correct people, and removing from those benefits people who dont meet the criteria.

The problem is, as countless disabled people have have told us and others, the DWP do not look objectively at your needs. If they did, why are so many decisions overturned at tribunal? How can disabled people be awarded 0 points for personal independence payment by the DWP “because they do not require help with day to day living”, and at tribunal be awarded 12 points and the highest rate of benefit because their needs are so great?

A freedom of information request has revealed that the DWP has spent £108.1million on direct staffing costs for ESA and PIP appeals since October 2015 for mandatory reconsiderations, internal DWP review,s and appeals to tribunals.
During that same period 87,500 PIP claimants had their decision changed at mandatory reconsideration, and a further 91,587 claimants won their appeal at tribunal.

Would it not be better for disabled people and cheaper for the tax payer, if the DWP looked objectively at facts and made the right decision in the first place?

Universal Credit in wolverhampton

Universal Credit in wolverhampton

Universal Credit in wolverhampton

Wolverhampton will start full Universal Credit from 13th December 2017. This will effect all new claimants

It will start at some parts of Wolverhampton postcodes before others because that is how Jobcentre Plus works.

For example,  WV3 postcodes will go to full Universal Credit from 13th December 2017, but only some WV10 postcodes go onto full Universal Credit on 13th December whilst others will not go to Universal Credit on 14th February 2018.

You can download a map that was produced by Wolverhampton Council’s Welfare Rights Team. The map is tells you which postcodes are affected and when. You can get the map here>>

One Voice Advocacy Service thanks Wolverhampton Council Welfare Benefits Team for sharing this information with us, so that we could tell you about it.

PIP – Changes in guidance to DWP

PIP – Changes in guidance to DWP

PIP – Changes in guidance to DWP

Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, has, this month made some changes to the guidance for the DWP about how they decide whether someone can do something safely and whether they require supervison which will help quite a few disabled people to get the decisions (and benefit rates) they are entitled to. Here is what she said:

Today I am publishing an updated version of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment Guide which provides guidance for Health Professionals carrying out PIP assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. The department routinely updates the Guide to further clarify the policy intent and to bring it in line with legislative requirements.

PIP contributes to the extra costs faced by people with disabilities and health conditions. It is a modern, dynamic benefit that was introduced to replace the outdated Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system. PIP is a fairer benefit, which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis. Under PIP, 29 per cent of claimants are receiving the highest possible support, compared with just 15 per cent under DLA.

The updated guidance will reflect binding case law following an Upper Tribunal judgment handed down on 9th March 2017 on how DWP considers a claimant to be carrying out an activity safely and whether they need supervision to do so. This will increase entitlement for a number of both new and existing claimants, largely those with conditions such as epilepsy, which affect consciousness. The Department estimates approximately 10,000 claims will benefit by £70 – £90 per week in 2022/2023.

In the case of existing claimants the Department for Work and Pensions will undertake an exercise to go through all existing cases and identify anyone who may be entitled to more. We will then write to those people affected and all payments will be backdated to the date of the change in case law.

Alongside these changes, we have brought the Guide in line with the Social Security (Personal Independent Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 and have made amendments to descriptors within activity 3 (managing therapy or monitoring a health condition) and mobility activity 1 (planning and following a journey) to reflect this. We are making these changes to clarify the original policy intent.

Also, following consultation with stakeholders, and to more clearly communicate existing case law, the guidance has also been changed to add clarity for Health Professionals around assessing claimants with sensory difficulties. These changes will ensure that the needs of those with sensory difficulties are properly taken into account within activity 9 (engaging with others face to face) and mobility activity 1 (planning and following a journey).

The Department has also made changes to mobility activity 1 to reflect the challenges may be faced by those with sensory difficulties in the event of disruptions to a journey. Finally, Activities 7 (communicating verbally) and 9 (engaging with others face to face) have now been clarified to re-iterate the original policy intent that the two activities are not mutually exclusive, these changes will benefit a number of affected individuals.

You can see this statement on the Parliament website here>>
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS216

This change comes as a result of caselaw. The decision by the Upper Tribunal in CPIP/1599/2016 which can be found here>>

The case is about someone with epilepsy, and should help people who still have unpredictable seizures despite medication.

The Judges state (para. 56):

An assessment that an activity cannot be carried out safely does not require that the occurrence of harm is “more
likely than not”. In assessing whether a person can carry out an activity safely, a tribunal must consider whether there is a real possibility that cannot be ignored of harm occurring, having regard to the nature and gravity of the feared harm in the
particular case. It follows that both the likelihood of the harm occurring and the severity of the consequences are relevant. The same approach applies to the assessment of a need for supervision.

Universal Credit – what you need to know

Universal Credit – what you need to know

Universal Credit will be rolled out in Wolverhampton between December 2015 and April 2016.

Announcements so far indicate that to start with the only single people who would otherwise have claimed Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance due to unemployment will be put on Universal Credit, but this may change.

The government says Universal Credit will make the benefits system easier, to to make sure it pays to be in work.

It will  replace a number of different ‘working-age’ benefits including Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
It is expected that claims will be made ‘online’ via computer.

One Voice can help you with this – we have a number of tablet computers so we can help people filling in forms and making claims

Universal Credit payments are made monthly in arrears and will include an allowance for housing costs (rent or mortgage interest).