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Thread: Benefits and Work email dated 3 December 2014

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Mar 2011

    Benefits and Work email dated 3 December 2014

    Taken from Benefits and Work email dated 3 December 2014

    Employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals – work capability assessments (WCAs) – are being used to make decisions about eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP), a government minister has confirmed.

    Benefits and Work also has evidence that the reverse is true: existing ESA awards are being looked at again and changed on the basis of a PIP medical report.

    What’s more, in an effort to reduce the PIP backlog, many thousands of decisions are being made by temporarily promoted DWP staff who aren’t really decision makers at all.

    So, it’s probably never been more important to ensure that you give the most detailed and accurate information you can, backed up with supporting evidence if possible, when you are applying for either ESA or PIP.

    Indeed, what you include on your claim forms can not only influence whether you get an award, it can also decide whether you have to endure a face-to-face medical assessment.

    Mark Harper, minister for disabled people, told MPs
    “. . . we take the ESA85—the report from the work capability assessment—and put it with their PIP form and any other evidence they have provided. That is enabling us to make more decisions based on the paperwork without needing to call people in for assessments.”

    And it’s not just for PIP that detailed evidence can help avoid a medical assessment.

    The recent independent review of the WCA has confirmed not only that regulation 35 (2) (b)is now the most common reason for claimants getting into the support group, but also that two thirds do so without having a face-to-face medical. Regulation 35 (2 ) (b) is a ‘safety net’ regulation. It allows entry to the support group for people who aren’t covered by the relevant descriptors, but where there would be a substantial risk to their health or someone else’s if they were not put in the support group.

    There are no questions on this regulation in the ESA50 claim form, but there’s more information about it, and how to give evidence, in our guides

    Still with the WCA, you won’t see it trumpeted in the pages of the tabloids, but recent figures show that in 2013 only 7% of incapacity benefit (IB) to employment and support allowance claimants were found capable of work. A staggering 59% were placed in the support group. The figures raise a huge question mark over what the transfer process has achieved, other than causing enormous hardship, distress and, in some cases, the death of claimants.

    Actually, one thing the IB to ESA transfer process did achieve was to cause a massive backlog in the whole ESA assessment process. A minister has confirmed that there are now more than half a million ESA claimants trapped in the assessment phase, many of whom should be in the support group.

    And whilst the DWP are now placing their hopes of getting back on top of assessments with Maximus, the American company due to take over from Atos next year, there is no prospect whatsoever of improvements being made to the WCA itself. The fifth and final review of the WCA has cast doubts on its suitability, but recommended that it should have a period of stability before being completely replaced sometime around 2020.

  2. #2
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    How can they do that when the criteria for ESA and PIP is different? No wonder there are so many incorrect decisions helped along by unqualified Decision Makers

  3. #3
    Senior Member AmyS's Avatar
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    Sep 2014
    I never had an ESA Assessment i.e. f2f - just put in my application form - a few years ago.

    Agree with Beau - the criteria is totally different.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I wonder if this could lead to the eventual joining up of PIP and ESA in to one benefit? A long way off I know, but I bet those "bright sparks" at the DWP are already thinking about this. If the Tories get in again (God forbid) I can see this coming.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Most of these recent revalations - ESA / PIP crosschecking of forms, Regular ESA reassessments being put on hold, etc. are coming from this document that was released last week:

    You may want to have a read yourself.
    The first section is the government "advertising", it's when you get further down to their replies to the comittee that the answers get interesting.

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