According to Tom Pursglove DWP Minister For Disabled People, 42,000 claimants lost their PIP Personal Independence Payments) awards in 2021 because they allegedly failed to return their AR1 PIP review forms.
This has caused an astonishing unexplained increase of almost 300% in just two years.
Theres a strong probability that many of the claimants that have been disallowed their payments have indeed returned them in time and the inept and archaic DWP system could be either losing them or taking far too long to record that they have been received.
Not to forget that some claimants may have failed to return the review form because the distress that completing these forms can cause triggering physical or mental health conditions.
As I reported a couple of weeks ago the tragic death of Laura Winham who’s disability benefit was stopped without any welfare checks by the DWP and other organisations after she failed to return her PIP claim form after being told that she needed to transfer from DLA to PIP.
Please note that all agencies involved were aware that she had a severe mental illness and needed support to do so.
According to Pursglove, claimants with serious mental health or cognitive conditions or who are vulnerable in other ways should have their files ‘watermarked’ to show they need additional support. Clearly this isn’t happening in all cases.
According to DWP policy claimants such as these should not have their PIP stopped because of a failure to return a form.
Are the DWP ignoring their own policies and procedures?Unsurprisingly this appears to be the case doesn’t it.
UK doctors suffering from Long Covid have been denied PIP according to a recent report by The Guardian.
Long Covid can be very debilitating leaving sufferers unable to do the most basic tasks without some help and assistance.
The report describes how badly the doctors are being treated by the DWP.
For example a respiratory consultant has described how they were refused PIP (Personal Independent Payments) whilst having urinary incontinence, difficulty standing, preparing food, eating, washing, dressing or engaging with people face to face. They also stated that they can’t stand for more than 10 minutes, find it very difficult to prepare food.
They went on to say “I thought that I had illustrated quite clearly what my disability was.” “When I got the report back, I thought is this about me?’”
The article also reveals that the process of making a PIP claim was so hard and mentally exhausted that it worsened their symptoms leaving them feeling much worse than before making their claim.
Some describing that they’ve been forced to use almost all their savings on private treatments and have considering selling their home as a result of this process.
For example an infectious disease expert that developed Long Covid found that their claim was rejected in part because they can drive a car, the assessor stating in their report that they showed “significant physical function” and “substantial cognitive powers”.
According to the Office for National Statistics from May 1st 2022 an estimated two million people in the UK have reported having Long Covid and it also beggars the question how many people having Long Covid are being refused their PIP payments despite having these symptoms and worse.
For many years now the whole PIP testing system has been heavily criticised and is flawed against the person applying for it. Many give up and try to continue without it because the process is too arduous and painful. It is noted that approximately 70% of PIP claimants win their appeal if they choose to do so.
The whole process urgently needs a huge reform and claims need to be processed correctly and fairly whilst taking into account the true symptoms and difficulties that PIP claimants report. Many PIP claims are refused upon the basis of lies made by the assessors conducting PIP assessments.
Sadly whilst the Conservative government remains in power any changes to the system remain very unlikely.
If you are also finding it hard to claim PIP or/and ESA for Long Covid related illnesses please comment below or tweet your difficulties via this blog on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s get our voices heard!
Please read and share it helps massively to raise awareness .
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We often get asked alot of questons so I thought that it would be a good idea to write some of the questions down with the answers. I hope that this helps anyone having to deal with the terrible Jobcentre regime.
Do I have to attend my ESA/PIP medical?
Yes but it is always best to go to welfare rights first for advice and always take someone with you. Remember that they often film you entering the building. So be wary. They will also try and trick you with questions. Think very carefully about how you answer them.
Remember it’s not about the illness its about how the illness affects your everyday life.
DLA is changing over to pip. When you get your forms you must fill them in and send them off in the time stated. Please get help from welfare rights with filling these forms in because they can be tricky.
Do I have to attend a mandatory appointment?
Yes you do have to attend a mandatory appointment. If you cannot attend for any reason you must provide a good excuse and get it in writing.
Never agree to anything verbally. The DWP will lie to you to simply get you out of the building. Get EVERYTHING in writing.
What is a compliance letter?
A compliance letter could mean one of several things. Someone could have made a report of benefit fraud against you or they might think someone is living with you. This can be totally untrue so please take all relevant documentation with you to prove your case.
Can I appeal a sanction?
Yes you must always appeal a sanction. They depend on you not to. Remember to ask for a mandatory reconsideration form and a hardship payment form. They might not give you these.
Can I appeal an ESA or PIP decision?
Yes you can but always get advice on this and go to your nearby welfare rights centre.
When I am sanctioned can I get housing benefit and council tax benefit?
Yes you can. You need to go to your local council offices and fill in the correct forms.
Do I have to attend the workfare program?
Do not be late for a workfare placement. They will inform the Jobcentre of this and you can get sanctioned.
Do I have to attend the work programme?
Yes you do but don’t be late or don’t be absent. They will inform the Jobcentre of this and you will get sanctioned.
Always get everything in writing off them. Photograph everything you sign so they can’t say that you didn’t attend.
Can they sanction me for not doing my job search?
Yes they can and they will. If you are ill or you have good reason then provide evidence. Never agree to anything verbally. Always get it in writing.
Remember they are not your friend. They can (not always) turn against you at a whim. Always be wary.
Always be friendly. That’s if you can. It’s very hard but some advisors just want an excuse to find fault with you.
Keep a record of everything that you do.
You can audio record your interviews but you cannot video record.
Children are allowed in the Jobcentre. If they say they aren’t allowed they are very wrong.
If you are asked to a meeting and you are vulnerable then you are allowed a Mckenzie friend to attend with you. You must let them know beforehand but the law states that they can attend with you.
Watch your social media. Make sure it’s private and not public because they have been known to spy on people via Facebook etc.
I hope that this list helps you. It’s only a rough list but I hope it helps.