Latest news from my newsletter

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Latest news from my newsletter

Postby *karina* » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:53 pm

On Monday we broke the news that, due to a growing backlog at Atos, current employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will be left on the benefit, without further medical checks, until another company can be found to do repeat work capability assessments (WCAs).

Since then the story has been picked up by the press, including the Independent, the Mirror and the Daily Record.

The issue was also raised by Stephen Timms, shadow employment minister in a commons debate yesterday (column 173). He appears not to have received a response, however.

So we're now we’re asking a question of the minister for disabled people, Mike Penning: did you deliberately mislead the Commons on 24 February when you failed to tell them about the decision to end repeat assessments, which had been made over a month earlier? Debbie Abrahams MP, who sits on the Work and Pensions Committee has agreed to pursue the matter.

In the meantime, we have now received information from a credible, but unverified source, that all those who are affected by the issue - those who were due to be referred to Atos on or after 20 January, will get a two year reprieve before they are looked at again.

Staying with Atos, we look more closely at the news that Atos wants to end its contract for carrying out work capability assessments. We also reveal just how cheaply PIP medicals are being carried out and we announce our latest resource for members: 50+ ways to Challenge a PIP Medical report.

Finally, in this edition we have the shocking news that the government are considering making claimants pay to appeal a benefits decision.

First the DWP leaked documents suggesting it was planning to ditch Atos as the provider of WCAs.

Then Atos announced that it had actually been trying to negotiate an early exit from the WCA contract, due to end in 2015, for months anyway.

Now comes the news that Atos is no longer being allowed to do repeat ESA assessments.

It's beginning to look like the acrimonious end of a long-term relationship. But as Atos and the DWP turn on each other, claimants are being dragged into the row, accused of hundreds of episodes of abuse and assaults against Atos staff in the course of a single year.

It's a claim that we've never heard before and about which we're highly sceptical. It's also one that Atos are so far refusing to answer any of our questions about.

But then they may be too busy to talk to us whilst trying to set up two new companies, OH Assist and Performe Health, in an attempt to salvage something from what appears to be the wreck of their healthcare reputation and leave the name of Atos far behind them.


PIP award
"We have just received out first decision on a PIP application. Awarded enhanced for daily living and mobility, backdated to date of application. All down to your guide so many thanks. However, it is almost 7 months from application to decision."

In our last newsletter we revealed that almost two out of three PIP claims are being turned down flat. In this edition we can reveal that the people carrying out the assessments are being paid at what many would consider bargain basement rates.

An advert by Capita for qualified Nurses, Paramedics, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists reveals that health professionals are being paid just £40 to create a PIP report, rising to £60 if it is good enough to be a grade A or B report. This payment also has to cover travel within a 20 mile radius, reading all the paperwork, carrying out the assessment and writing up the report afterwards.

Given that even physiotherapists will normally charge £30-£45 for a 45 minute session, payments at these rates may not attract the brightest and best medical staff. They may also not encourage assessors to spend a minute more than they absolutely have to interviewing claimants.

So, our latest members only PIP resource, ‘The Best possible ways to challenge a PIP medical report’ is probably going to prove a very useful one. The 22 page document goes through the different sections of the medical report, looking at what should be in each and at ways to challenge inaccurate and incomplete evidence. It also looks at more general challenges, such as interviews that are too short, too long, at the wrong time of day or in an inappropriate place. In all, there are over 50 grounds of appeal for you to consider.

If you’re preparing for a PIP medical, or if you’re one of the almost two thirds of claimants who has had their PIP claim refused, this guide may make all the difference.

Members can download the new guide from the PIP section.

Finally, we’re still keen to receive copies of PIP medical reports and are paying £10 to cover your costs.

The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgement on Bedroom Tax legislation and ruled that the Government has not acted unlawfully: disabled people are not being discriminated against.

The main reason given for this ruling? The government has put Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) into place to cover the additional costs that disabled people face because of the reduction in their housing benefit.

Unfortunately, these payments have to be applied for on specific forms and under separate rules to housing benefit. Any payment awarded is not covered by legislation and, as many councils will consider DLA to be “disposable income” (i.e. they will not accept that this money should be ring-fenced to cover the costs of having a disability), many applications for such DHPs are refused. There is no right of appeal to a tribunal in these circumstances, although it may be possible to challenge such decisions, particularly via judicial review.

Additionally, the government’s contribution to Local Authorities to cover DHPs is due to be reduced next year by £15 million.
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Re: Latest news from my newsletter

Postby denys » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:18 am

I got a copy of this on the Benefits and work email :?: :?:

As a Public Moderator of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia.
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