Latest from Benefits and Work website:Recording Medicals Victory plus DLA to PIP concerns

Dear Launchpad,

Back in September 2010 we asked you to email Professor Harrington, the independent reviewer of the work capability assessment,  and ask for the right to record your employment and support allowance medical.  Many of you did so.  As a direct result, one of the recommendations of the first Harrington report was that there should be a trial of audio recording work capability face-to-face assessments.

Since then the DWP and Atos have dragged their feet on announcing the results of the trial and it has become clear that wholesale recording of all medicals is not going to happen.

However,  thanks to the work of campaigner Paul Smith, the DWP have now admitted in writing that claimants can now have their medical recorded for free by Atos.  We’ve got more details and a sample letter you can use to ask for your assessment to be recorded.  (Members only, join us now for instant access).

PIP SURVEY SO FAR
More than eight thousand people have tried our personal independence payment (PIP) self-test (open access) since it was released last week.

And two thousand have gone on to take part in our anonymous ‘60 second PIP survey’  (open access) which is still open, so please take a look if you haven’t already completed it.

One overwhelmingly clear result from the survey is that the government have failed to persuade claimants of the supposed  virtues of PIP.  Just 4.4% of respondents think that PIP will be an improvement on DLA, whilst 51.8% think it will be worse and 43.8% think it’s not possible to tell yet.

The survey gives some indications of where cuts in spending may come under the new PIP regime.  For example, Just 58.6% of respondents who currently get the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA on physical health grounds assessed themselves as being eligible for the enhanced rate of the PIP mobility component. A further 32.4% assessed themselves as scoring only enough for the standard rate, whilst 9.1% did not score enough to get any rate at all.

Not surprisingly, of the almost 800 responses to the question “What effect do you think the move from DLA to PIP will have on your life?”, many focus on the fear of losing independence and of social isolation whilst others talk of the anxiety provoked by the thought of frequent assessments.

You can see the results so far here (Open access) but please be aware that some of the comments may cause distress.

FORUM TEMPORARILY CLOSED
Sadly, the forum has been closed this week due to a shortage of available moderators, who are all volunteers with their own health issues.  We do want to make it clear that the forum is provided as a courtesy, we cannot guarantee its availability and we absolutely cannot guarantee that all posts will be answered.

The forum will be open again from next Monday, but you will only be able to post at the following times

2-4pm and 8-10pm Monday to Friday

These times may change in coming weeks to include a morning session.  Some posts may be answered by moderators outside these hours.

We hope that the shorter hours will only be temporary, but it does depend on having more volunteers.

If you want to help out on the forum then you may be interested in our proposed new role of ‘Signposter’.  Many of the posts on the forum concern issues which are already covered by  information on the site.  So we’re looking for current members who have, or are willing to acquire, a good knowledge of the forum FAQs and the contents of our guides for either DLA or for ESA.  You will act as a signposter for other members, replying to posts to tell them where the answer to their query can be found.

If you think you might be interested, drop us an email at info@benefitsandwork.co.uk.

ESA SECRET CHANGES
In the last newsletter we told you about previously undisclosed changes to Atos health professionals guidance which may affect people with visual impairments and hearing impairments.  There’s been ongoing discussion of these in the forum – whilst it was open –  with some interesting updates from RNIB  (Open access)

DARING AND DISRUPTIVE ACT
Also in the last newsletter we publicised a ‘a daring and disruptive act of civil disobedience’ which was due to take place in central London.  You can now discover just what that act was.  (Open access)

BUY GUIDES FOR UNDER £10
Still with the last newsletter, we told you about the opportunity to buy sets of our DLA or ESA guides for under £10. (Open access). The offer is still running, though it may not last much longer.

OTHER NEWS
Elsewhere in the news, we look at the move by the government to try to prevent the House of Lords voting in favour of their amendments to the welfare reform bill for a second time. (Members only)

We also look at the threat of legal action against the government by some disability groups.  (Members only).

And some of you may be interested in the possibility of influencing the future direction of one of those groups.  Disability Right UK – formed through a merger between Disability Alliance, National Centre for Independent Living and RADAR – is looking for six new trustees with a range of skills.  There’s more details on the former Disability Alliance website. (External site)

As usual, there’s  much more news in the members area (Members only) than we can fit into this newsletter.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent in news stories over the last fortnight, including: Beverley Hymers, John Pring, Jim Allison, evaness, papasmurf, Crazydiamond and carruthers.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM – OPEN ACCESS LINKS
Finally, in spite of being closed all this week, we have a selection of good news from the forum:

Migrated from IB to ESA Support Group without need for medical assessment

Placed in ESA Support Group without medical assessment

Placed in ESA WRAG from IB, no medical assessment

Transferred from IB to ESA Support Group, with no need for medical assessment

Placed in ESA Support Group when transferred from IB, no medical assessment

Successful DLA renewal, high rates of both care and mobility indefinitely

IB to ESA and no medical assessment

Successful review, ESA Support Group

Placed in ESA Support Group

Successful ESA appeal

Moved from ESA WRAG to Support Group after request for reconsideration

You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your blog, website, forum or newsletter provide it is properly attributed to www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

You can also read this newsletter online. (Open access).

If you aren’t already a member, find out how to subscribe and get instant access to all our members only resources.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd

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