Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that can help with extra living costs if you have both a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability if you have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.
PIP can be applied for even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. This involves asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at their decision again. A Mandatory Reconsideration has to be applied for within one month of the decision date (the date that is given on the decision letter).
Reports show that the latest PIP statistics give show that Mandatory Reconsiderations success rates have fallen for almost every single month since October of 2021. The statistics go on to show that the success rates have dropped from 45% in October 2021 to just 26% in April of 2022. When questioned the DWP have offered no explanation for this inexorable decline in Mandatory Reconsideration success rates.
In 2019 the DWP implemented a new system of contacting claimants who lodged a mandatory reconsideration in order to collect further evidence. As a result Mandatory Reconsideration success rates rose considerably.
Moving forward to 2022 the DWP are now struggling to cope with an 18% increase in new PIP claims.This has resulted in a 9% increase in requests for mandatory reconsiderations which in turn has caused significant stress on an already overwhelmed system.
There are various reasons as to what the cause is but one notable one is that the DWP appear to no longer take the time to contact claimants if they’ve failed an assessment therefore success rates have fallen back to their previous levels before 2019.
Invariably this has resulted in thousands of claimants becoming disheartened and forgoing applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration. If a claimant makes the decision to challenge the DWPs decision they often have to wait months before going through the ordeal of an appeal tribunal. This results in already vulnerable people in a distressed state unable to continue with their day to day activities that their PIP award enabled them to do.
People living with a disability or illness have long bared the brunt of the governments cruelty being neglected, ignored and often left to cope with relentless cuts to their benefit payments and help that most need to continue with their day to day activities.
The governments relentless targeting of the most vulnerable in society needs to stop but sadly its very likely that this won’t happen whilst the Tory government are still in power. Instead they prefer to have parties and sing on karaokes whilst thousands of people suffer as a result of their actions.
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A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. Every penny makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with my work. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and its a huge struggle for me.
A recent report undertaken by Money Advice has uncovered that Council Tax arrears are rising dramatically and are expected to grow exponentially.
As detailed inthe report the total amount of arrears owing now stands at over £4.9 billion, this is an increase of £521 million (12%) on last year (2021).
With the ever increasing cost of living costs and energy bills it comes as no surprise that many are struggling to pay council tax.This has been happening for years and it shows no sign of improving.
The analysis conducted by Money Advice suggests that the problem is worsening showing that in the past 5 years the average CouncilTax bill in England has risen by 24%. At the same time arrears have risen profoundly by 74% over the same time period
This leaves an ever increasing amount of households that are struggling to afford their bills and everyday costs therefore falling deeper into arrears unable to meet the payments.
The truth is that the current system of collecting council tax isn’t working, it often costs local authorities more to implement than they actually are able to collect. Households are already struggling to pay and local councils are trying to cope with the deficit of payments whilst trying to keep essential services going as many rely upon council tax payments to provide such services.
The rules that govern council tax collection are approximately 30 years old and are no longer working for today’s financial climate. The whole council tax system needs to be changed for it to work fairly both for households and local authorities.
Money Advice suggests that the Government needs to urgently take a duel approach both for households and councils.
They suggest that:
The government increases and ring-fence funding for Council Tax Support to stop people falling behind enabling more people to get help paying.
Change and reform collection rules so that households are treated fairly and not met with intimidating behaviour from bailiff sent out to collect arrears. This creates distress and doesn’t actually work to help people pay, instead it increases debt due to having to pay bailiff costs as well.
In an ideal world there would be new, fair system created that is affordable and doesn’t cause increasing poverty and spiralling into further debt.
Food prices are predicted to increase by 15% in the UK this summer. This is the highest level in more than 20 years. This is predicted to rise alongside inflation which could last until the middle of next year, according to a report by The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)
This is a result of the ever increasing prices of meat, cereal, dairy, fruit and vegetable products caused by the rise in costs of wheat prices as a result of the war in Ukraine.
The Ukraine is a big supplier of wheat to the UK, combined with sanctions imposed upon Russia will undoubtably cause a hike in prices and also a probable wheat shortage. Also predicted by the grocery trade body IGD.com is a rise in costs of food items caused by production lockdowns in China and export bans on food products such as palm oil from Indonesia and wheat from India.
What does this mean?
Food costs are going to rise dramatically again making it extremely difficult for low income households to be able to afford to buy much needed food essentials. According to a survey undertaken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there has been an increase in the number of people spending less on food and household essentials which has risen from 36% to 41%.
This figure is set to rise again in the Autumn when as predicted by The Bank of England inflation is predicted to reach to 11%, which is the highest since the 1970s.
Rising energy costs
Households are still struggling to cope with the rise in energy costs with government payments set to be sent out to household in July. This scheme is not without its faults though leaving some low income households and disabled people exempt from this scheme.
After the second payments given by the government in October there are so far no plans to extend this to the winter and beyond, leaving many forced to live in cold homes unable to cook food.
A recent survey also carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that 52% of low income households are being forced to use less gas and electricity because they can no longer afford the cost. This in turn will also affect a households ability to cook meals.
Why does this matter?
Low income households are already burdened with an ever increasing cost of living that they can no longer afford to keep up with. Already overwhelmed with these costs and the lack of affordable food this will undoubtably cause mental distress and illness as a result of not being able to provide the basics for themselves and their families.
The lack of financial support from the government in helping the public with these costs is sadly lacking. In work and out of work benefits such as universal credit, working tax credits, ESA and PIP have failed to rise with inflation leaving households with a huge financial deficit.
The poorest can no longer be expected to bear the brunt of these ever increasing costs. Permanent financial help from the government needs to be offered before winter, if not thousands will undoubtedly become ill or worse as a result of living in cold homes unable to provide food for themselves and their families.
Please read, share and tweet this article it helps massively to raise awareness about the real issues facing working class people in the UK.
I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do, and like yourselves I’m struggling to be able to cope with the increasing costs of everything.
If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a massive difference and it really helps.
A huge thank you to everyone that’s helped to support my blog and campaign I really couldn’t do this without you. Thank you.