As reported by Benefits And Work there are possibly thousands of missing Long Covid PIP claimants that appear to be missing from both the Office for National Statistics. They are also missing from the DWP latest published statistics.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that 506,000 people have now had Long Covid for over a year. This number is increasing every day yet they’re missing, nowhere to be found.
247,000 Long Covid sufferers say that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot” as a result of Long Covid.
Yet according to the latest DWP statistics on Stat-Xplore record there are just 480 claims regarding Long Covid where it is the the main condition for claiming PIP. This figure has risen from 143 claims three months earlier.
However the success rate for PIP Long Covid claims has fallen from 76%, but is still high, at almost 60%.
A quarter of those who were successful in claiming PIP received the enhanced rate of both the daily living and the mobility components.
It appears that PIP claims for Long Covid do have a better than average chance of success. Despite this hundreds of thousands of people who could be making a PIP claim appear to not be doing so.
Long Covid is exhausting to live with and is likely to hinder any employment prospects. Living with Long Covid also increases everyday living costs.
The reality of having to make a choice between eating or heating, or not being able to afford either is something that Long Covid sufferers and others have to make daily.
The reason for the missing PIP claimants could be because of a distinct lack of information regarding claiming PIP for Long Covid sufferers. This is abhorrent. Everyone that is suffering from this disabling condition should be informed of their right to claim PIP to help with their everyday living costs.
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A huge thank to Benefits And Work for providing this information. They’re amazing and work so hard.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you and your support.
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Financially I’m struggling and every penny is appreciated. Thank you.
Dear subscribers and guests it’s been a tough year for so many of us, I know it, I feel it.
This year was probably the worst one of my whole life. My son was tragically taken away from me mid pandemic. It hurts more than anything else that I’ve experienced.
Whilst we were abiding to the social distancing rules, the Tory government were busy partying and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
This was a case of we’ll do whatever we want sod the public. They don’t care about us. My son had to have a very reduced socially distanced funeral whilst they were enjoying life.
To be honest this is a perfect example of how they treat us. They never spare a thought for us so don’t expect them to either.
Christmas is a tough time for so many reasons wether it be for financial reasons or bereavement. I’m with you, I feel it.
I haven’t put a Christmas tree up this year. My daughter and I decided that it doesn’t feel right so we put some extra lights on his memorial table.
So much pressure is put on society to have the big tree, the decorations and lots of good food. The truth is that so many of us can’t afford to buy the big tree, pay for the electric to light the Christmas lights and affording a big meal with all the trimmings is near impossible.
Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas, if anything it’s amplified for reasons that I’ve already stated.
You do Christmas how you want to do it. Try and ignore the pressure to comply to what everyone expects. If you want to turn the TV off and read a book instead then do it.
If you want to spend Christmas day doing nothing then do it. Be kind to yourself.
I used to put so much pressure upon myself to get everything right for others to see. Loosing my son has made me realise that none of this really matters.
Like many of you I’m going to find Christmas tough, but I will get through it.
So many families are going to be going without the Christmas that they were used to. The pandemic has caused thousands of people to loose their jobs and it’s also resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Thousands of families and individuals are newly dependant upon foodbanks to keep them going. It’s not easy asking for help and the food isn’t the best. Hopefully one day it will get better.
How do you explain to your children that Father Christmas can’t come this year? It’s heartbreaking.
What we can do is be there for each other, talk to friends on social media, text or face to face (socially distanced of course).
We will get through this. Lots of love to you all.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a massive difference and it raises so much awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog this year. I really couldn’t do it without you.
I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s tough is an understatement.
For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
Well who’d have guessed that the government would find £2 billion from their magic money pot to inflict even more cruelty to disabled and ill claimants.
Thanks to Benefits And Work who have uncovered the first details of the new assessment contracts for PIP, ESA and UC claimants.
These shiny new contracts will split the UK into five regions which will involve over £2.8 billion being given to the private sector over a period of five years. This is supposedly to allow the DWP to decide how these assessments will take place through telephone or face-to-face assessments.
I add that as usual this will be decided ignoring the actual physical and mental needs a claimant might have.
Under the new claimant Functional Assessment Services (FAS) system as it is titled, the UK will be divided into five regions from 1 August 2023:
Lot 1 – Northern England and Scotland 647,600,000
Lot 2 – Midlands and Wales 473,400,000
Lot 3 – South West England 338,000,000
Lot 4 – London, South East & East Anglia 396,800,000
Lot 5- Northern Ireland 105,100,000
In each region, a single company will be chosen to carry out all the PIP, ESA and UC assessments.
So basically money talks regardless of already vulnerable claimants needs. Whoever puts the best tender in wins the contract.
Call me old fashioned but the wellbeing and needs of individuals should always be put first. Instead they companies with no medical knowledge and experience to assess already vulnerable people.
They will be allowed to decide if a person disabled enough to claim their rightful payments regardless of having no medical knowledge of their needs.
Basically claimants life’s are once again in the hands of these so called assessors.
The total value of the contracts that will be given is £2 billion firstly to rise to £2.8 billion if the DWP chooses to extend the contract for an additional two years.
You can bet that they’ll choose to extend these contracts, afterall it’s beneficial for the government to extend them.
There’s always room for extending cruel systems such as this. What the government won’t tell you is that they want as many people as possible to be declared fit for work. It doesn’t matter of they’re fit or able enough to do so.
The Scottish government will be taking over PIP assessments itself in advance of August 2023.
There will be some claims that are already underway that will still be dealt with by private sector assessors.
The bid winners will be paid first for a ten month ‘implementation phase’. This will ensure they will have fully trained their staff and have acquired suitable premises. It also will give them the chance to implement their IT systems before going live.
As we already know the DWP never make any system uncomplicated though. To prove this the DWP will provide one IT system for PIP claimants and a separate system for ESA and UC claimants.
The DWP have already warned potential providers that changes might take place place throughout the life of the contract.
These changes may include alterations in the ‘channel mix’ as the DWP call it.
An example being “change in proportional requirements relating to virtual assessments and face to face assessments. They could for example change requirements such as 60% face-to-face to 20% assessments.
It is very clear that the DWP and not the assessment providers that will decide which proportion of claimants receive a telephone or face-to-face assessment.
This makes it clear that assessment providers will be working to meet targets for types of assessment. This will completely ignore the fact that some claimants are obliged to have an inappropriate method of assessment.
As you can see none of this will be beneficial for anyone that claims ESA,PIP and UC.
As these systems are target driven the assessors will be more concerned with meeting targets than the wellbeing of anyone being assessed.
I don’t have to tell you how much distress is caused by cruel systems like this especially if they’re target driven. Who remembers Sandra’s Stars?
We must remain vigilant because as we know from past experience the government will try to put in legislation and plans without our knowledge.
You can do this by sharing information online on your preferred social media provider, emailing mine and likewise blogs to people that might need informing
DWP SET TO INTRODUCE NEW TAILORING UP APPROACH FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
The DWP aren’t known for their sympathy towards disabled claimants so it comes as no surprise that they’re now experimenting with a “Tailoring Up” approach to sanctions for disabled claimants.
Their new “Tailoring up” approach will now allow job coaches to make activities such as training or work experience either voluntary or mandatory, entirely at the discretion of the coach.
You might think that this is a good thing but sadly I fear it isn’t. The DWP aren’t doing any type of monitoring of this new programme therefore the risk of disabled people being discriminated against is high.
This will put disabled people in a terrible situation, leaving them at the hands of a Job Coach that might be sceptical of a persons disability such as mental health issues and other invisible and visible disabilities,
This will leave them at a very high risk of being sanctioned at the whim of a job Advisor based upon their personal opinion. After all theres no monitoring of this scheme leaving Job Coaches apparently answerable to no one.
Also being introduced as part of this scheme is for disabled claimants to attend meetings with job coaches will be a mandatory activity under the scheme. This is being piloted in sixteen areas but we all know what that means.
From years of experience with the DWP and they’re so called pilot schemes I fear that this will be the start of the rollout of this new scheme.
As soon as I hear more about this I will publish it in future blog posts.
It goes without saying but it is very important that you keep a good record of all communications going to the DWP and from them. Having a good paper trail helps enormously to overturn sanction decisions, as does involving a local MP if of course they aren’t a supporter of the whole sanctioning system.
Also very handy for support if anyone is sanctioned are local law Centres, online groups such as Benefits And Work, DPAC and Citizens Advice if you can access them.
DWP GETS BILLIONS FOR FORCED MOVE TO UC AND ONLINE CLAIMS
It also appears that theres always a big pot of money for the DWP to cause more suffering and distress.
The DWP has been given £2.6 billion between now and 2025 for “digital activity to support the delivery of benefits and transform how customers interact with the welfare system.”
They haven’t released any further details of what this transformation will be and what it will entail either. From past experience it’s likely to be spent upon moving as much as possible online, which in itself will cause many problems for claimants.
In the quest to make disabled people now claiming legacy benefits the DWP are set to recieve over half a billion pounds to “support the transition of legacy claimants onto UC” which as it stands will apparently be completed by March 2025.
However DWP will be focusing trying to make disabled people to move “voluntary” from legacy benefits such as ESA onto UC throughout the rest of this year and 2022. This will probably entail putting a lot of pressure onto disabled people to move their claims over, also possibly lying to disabled claimants to force them to move over to Universal Credit.
Unsurprisingly from 2023 onwards the DWP and government will be focusing on forcing the remainder of legacy benefits claimants onto UC, most likely by any means possible.
I know that this is easy for me to say but if you are told that you have to move your claim over to Universal Credit under the guise of it ‘being better’ for you stand your ground and refuse. In absolutely no way would this be beneficial for you at the moment.
No matter how much glitter Job Coaches and the DWP try to throw on the shite that is Universal Credit it will not make it shine.
The DWP are becoming more brazen with their obvious hatred of disabled and poor people. We must try to hold them accountable at every single opportunity that we are given.
Please read, share and email my blog to help raise as much awareness as possible. Remember there are more of us than there are of them and sharing online helps enormously to raise awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.
It’s been a horrible year for me, my son died and both myself and my daughter have been ill quite a lot. I’m recovering from Long Covid and another bout of pneumonia. My daughter recently caught Covid and she’s now ill with tonsillitis.
This has left me struggling more than usual which is a complete nightmare as you can probably understand.
For anyone that would like to donate either to my blog or my campaign there is a donate button at the top and side if this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my work. I don’t receive any payment for my work and I’m really grateful to you xx.
It’s been debated by many including myself about the fairness concerning PIP telephone assessments. It’s extremely triggering and stressful to attend these ‘medical assessments’ in the first place but at least you could see the assessors in person which can make appeals easier.
It also is extremely difficult to attend a telephone ‘assessment’ for those that have phone anxiety and limited, if any access to a telephone to conduct a telephone assessment.
The government are still ignoring the fact that not everyone has a telephone and not everyone can use a telephone hence my worry that telephone assessments could be harder than face-to-face assessments.
As reported by Benefits And Work the latest quarterly PIP statistics suggest that almost 2,000 fewer new claimants a month are getting an award since assessments switched from face-to-face assessments to telephone assessments.
These statistics also report that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but less applicants in proportion than ever receives their PIP payment.
The figures show that the overall average success rate for new PIP claims since PIP was introduced is 55%.But this has averaged over the last six months that the the success rate for new claims is just 48.5% since telephone assessments have been introduced.
Compare this to the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments started, the success rate was 52%.
This decrease may seem small to many but in reality it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have previously been awarded their PIP payments were refused when the telephone assessments were introduced in the last quarter.
Whilst it can’t be be conclusively proved that it is the telephone assessments that has caused this, indeed PIP award rates have been falling for a long while, I can say that having a telephone assessment is going to reduce claims being successful.
I can also say that the government never misses a chance to deny a person their rightful payments to enable them to survive.I can bet that the same Tory MP’s implementing these policies and decisions never miss a chance to claim a so called expense when they get the chance to do so. Whilst they see that it’s ok for them to claim for just about anything that they can do, they see a disabled persons quality of life as an expense too much for them to pay.
The cruelty that the government dishes out to the poorest and most vulnerable appears to be never-ending. My fear is that the same government is going to refuse people with Covid 19 and Long Covid their rightful disability payments. Myself and others will be watching this situation and reporting on it.
For anyone that is or has made a claim for PIP and has been refused, it is essential that you appeal against a refusal. I know that its a horrible, arduous process to undertake but its worth doing.
I still intend to start my podcasts asap. I totally lack confidence in this area though. I will start it asap though.
As for me it’s been a tough week. I received a phone call today telling me that my son’s memorial has been put in place and is now ready to view. Honestly having a child die, no matter what age is a pain unlike any other. He was my only son and he was dedicated to helping his family.
I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to grieve even when I feel that I shouldn’t. My son enjoyed the summer weather but not the hay fever that comes with it. His favourite thing to do was to help others and he’s missed by so many in his community.
Even though he’s no longer with us I will still be campaigning on behalf of my son, he was autistic and he also had to fight for his rightful payments.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog, I really couldn’t do this without you.
If anyone would like to donate towards the campaign and my blog a donate button is at the top and side of this blog post.
Research led by Inclusion London reveals that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted thousands of disabled people.
As reported by Disability News Service who have seen a draft version of an interim report based on the research titled Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored.
The report conducted by Inclusion London is based upon more than 300 online survey responses from across England including a small number of people living in Scotland and Wales.
The report concludes that “Despite the government’s rhetoric about protecting and supporting Disabled people, the reality is that they have been treated less fairly and discriminated against across all areas of their lives.”
The report also warns that many disabled people most affected by the pandemic will not have had access to its online survey resulting in the findings of the report likely to represent only “the tip of the iceberg” due to lack of access to the internet for many disabled people.
Inclusion London have reported that disabled people have been suffering from increasing levels official isolation, mental distress, lack of decent if any care and support during the pandemic, also finding that there has been difficulty for many to access food and also difficulties accessing healthcare such as prescriptions and suchlike.
The report discloses that the actions of central government, local authorities and service-providers have continued to fail exclude and marginalise disabled people which in turn has resulted in discrimination.
It also finds that disabled people in high-risk groups have been unable to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE), and have also had had their vital care packages cut and important social care assessments delayed.
Indeed it reports that a quarter of the people that have responded that receive direct payments for their care were left unaided to cope with staff issues and sourcing their own PPE.
One disabled person responding said of their experience “My care agency are not getting adequate PPE, and they are so short-staffed at present that I’ve been lucky to get a shower once a month (and cannot have a strip wash at all due to them sending male care workers to me eight times out of 10 instead of female), and am not getting one in three of my daily care calls.”
More than three-fifths of people that responded to the survey said they had struggled to access food, medicine, and other necessities.
Respondents described how supermarkets had refused to make reasonable adjustments for them when they tried to shop in-store and how they were unable to order home deliveries.
Many have not received the support they vitally need to prepare meals for themselves also, this resulting in being forced to spend more money on food by having to shop in more expensive stores or having to order their meals online.
More than a third of those surveyed spoke of increasing levels of mental distress during the pandemic.
One respondent saying that they had been inside their home for three-and-a-half weeks without going out resulting in them feeling that they were losing their mind, going on to say that have a pre-existing mental health condition, and it is causing a big relapse.“I feel trapped and controlled and claustrophobic.
This had left them too scared to leave the house because if they get sick that they knew that, as someone with pre-existing conditions the doctors will leave them to die in favour of someone who has a better chance of surviving.
Several people that responded to the survey also said they had been asked to agree to having ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ orders placed in their medical records. Others told they would not be admitted to hospital if they fell ill or would be denied life-saving emergency treatment.
One person responding said: “I can’t access the government scheme for support because apparently I’m not disabled enough.“However I’m disabled enough to get suggested to sign DNR [Do Not Resuscitate], and inferred I’d be left to die if hospitalised.”
Inclusion London concluded the report by warning that there will be a much higher demand for advice and support from disabled people after the lockdown is lifted. This leaves many organisations needing to increase their funding to provide these essential services.
Its a terrible indictment upon the government that disabled people have had to resort to legal action because of the discrimination that they have faced from the government.
This report has reinforced the view that the government and society looks upon disabled people as a burden on the state and are second class citizens.
It is very disturbing however not surprising that disabled people have been treated in this manner throughout the pandemic. The government clearly regards them as unimportant and not deserving of any quality of life, which to be honest is very clear to see. We cannot allow this inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable in society to continue.
Last month the DWP minister Justin Tomlinson informed the Commons Work and Pensions committee in parliament that face to face ‘interviews’ are set to return although he stated that some telephone and video assessments will still continue.
There has been no concern from Tomlinson about the safety of vulnerable claimants and the fact that there is still a pandemic and most people forced to attend these ‘assessments’ are indeed vulnerable and are still having to shield.
Tomlinson however claimed rather confusingly that they had ‘Lost all of their health professionals’ because they apparently have gone to work for the test and trace system instead.
It isn’t clear yet how the system is going to return to normality when, as he said the health professionals that were employed have now left. Maybe Tomlinson will pay them even more money to do this, therefore tempting them away from their current employment. Who knows, I expect we will find out sooner rather than later.
It does however take a particularly cruel mindset to conduct these ‘assessments’ and to declare vulnerable people fit for work when they clearly aren’t.
Tomlinson went on to say that the work capability assessments (WCA) will begin shortly and PIP (Personal Independent Payment) ‘assessments’ will follow a few weeks later although they will keep video and telephone assessments. Tomlinson wasn’t clear in what capacity this will be, clarity isn’t his or the Tory party’s strong point.
As I write this I expect many people will have had their much dreaded letter from the DWP regarding their assessment, thus causing distress and panic for already vulnerable people.
Whilst the Covid 19 vaccination programme is going well there are people that are unable to have the vaccinations for health reasons. The Covid 19 strain from India has now started to take a hold in the UK, putting thousands at risk.
I urge Tomlinson and the government to rethink their assessment strategy and to put the health and well-being of disabled and vulnerable people first.
Once again thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work in researching this and publishing this information. You can find them over at http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
WCA is the Work Capability Assessment and PIP is Personal Independence Payments.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and for my campaign.
Please help me to continue to do this, there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and tweets my blog. It makes a massive difference and it helps to raise awareness.