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  • FIRST POST
    • Morglin
    • By Morglin 10th Jun 14, 5:17 AM
    • 14,625Posts
    • 26,914Thanks
    Morglin
    ESA, DLA and PIP chaos - DWP overturning more than half of it's own decisions on MR..
    • #1
    • 10th Jun 14, 5:17 AM
    ESA, DLA and PIP chaos - DWP overturning more than half of it's own decisions on MR.. 10th Jun 14 at 5:17 AM
    "The DWP is overturning more than half of its own decisions in relation to some benefits.

    This has been revealed by Judge Robert Martin the outgoing president of the social entitlement chamber which deals with benefits tribunals.
    The DWP itself has yet to publish any statistics about the 'mandatory reconsideration before appeal' system introduced last year.

    'Mandatory reconsideration before appeal' was introduced for personal independence payment (PIP) and universal credit (UC) from April 2013 and, for other benefits, for decisions made on or after 28 October 2013. It means that before a claimant can appeal a decision they have to ask for it to be looked at again by the DWP. Only once they receive written notification of the result of the reconsideration can they lodge an appeal, if they are unhappy with the revised decision.

    The figures for reconsideration success were given by Judge Martin in the April edition of the Judicial Information Bulletin, which goes out to all tribunal members.
    According to the judge, by 21st February 2014 the DWP had received 82,798 mandatory reconsideration requests and made a decision in 70% of cases, with decisions taking on average 13 days from the date they were received.
    DLA decisions overturned 55.9%
    ESA decisions overturned 23.0%
    JSA decisions overturned 30.1
    PIP decisions overturned 13.9%
    UC decisions overturned 71.1%


    It is extraordinary that the DWP is overturning a massive 71% of its own decisions in relation to UC, but at least they have the excuse that it’s a new benefit. But to be getting it wrong in more than half of all DLA decisions is even more astonishing.
    Atos pulled out of the contract for carrying out DLA medicals, other than terminal illness cases, last year. Since then decision makers have been left to look up the effects of conditions in guidance issued by the DWP – and available in the members' area of Benefits and Work site – or on the internet.

    This may go some way to explaining what is such a shameful level of error in DLA decision making. But it does not in any way excuse it.

    For the moment then, it seems that even for ESA challenges – with a success rate of 23% - there is a reasonable chance of getting the decision overturned prior to a tribunal hearing.
    Judge Martin’s article, ‘Dark matter’ can be downloaded from the Rightsnet discussion forum.

    There also appears to be further chaos with DLA and PIP:

    "Judge Robert Martin, the outgoing president of the social entitlement chamber which deals with benefits tribunals, has claimed that the work capability assessment (WCA) process has virtually collapsed and that DLA claimants are having their awards extended, rather than looked at again, as the DWP goes into a welfare reform induced meltdown.

    The judge was writing his final article before retiring, in the April edition of the Judicial Information Bulletin which goes out to all tribunal members . As a result, he has taken the opportunity to make a number of allegations and disclosures about the DWP that might be regarded as astonishingly forthright in a serving tribunal president.

    In the article, Judge Martin tries to get to the bottom of why the tribunal service went from its highest ever number of cases heard in a month – over 50,000 – in July 2013, to a record low of just 8,775 in March 2014.

    He makes it clear that he blames the DWP for the difficulties caused by this wild fluctuation in workload. The judge appears particularly angry because the tribunals service had taken on a large number of new staff after the DWP predicted a prolonged period of extra appeals.
    Judge Martin is in no doubt that the biggest single cause of the drop in appeal numbers is a huge reduction in the number of WCAs being carried out.

    He explains that in July 2013 Lord Freud announced that, due to a reduction in the quality of written reports, all Atos health professionals were to be retrained.
    Initially, the DWP warned the tribunals service that there was likely to be an increase in the number of appeals as previous assessments were reworked and then challenged by unsuccessful claimants.

    However, at the same time the number of assessments carried out by Atos dropped from 200,000 to 100,000 per month.

    As a result the DWP changed its advice, saying that there would be a drop of 9,500 appeals from September to December 2013 whilst remedial measures were put in place. Following this there would be a big surge of appeals as Atos regained its former rate of assessments and worked on the backlog caused by the slowdown.

    In fact, the recovery in the number of appeals has still not happened and, as Benefits and Work exclusively revealed, the DWP stopped referring most existing ESA claimants to Atos for reassessment from late January 2013. In addition, Judge Martin claims that:
    ‘Anecdotally, it appeared that an increasing proportion of ESA claimants both on new claims and IB-ESA reassessments were simply being assigned to the support group without a face to face assessment.’

    Judge Martin concludes that:
    ‘The virtual collapse of the WCA process is the biggest single factor in the decline of the appeals intake.’
    However, the judge lists many other important factors, including the extremely small number of universal credit awards and the botched and halting introduction of personal independence payment (PIP).

    The judge reveals that:
    ‘As late as June 2013, the DWP was forecasting that HMCTS would receive over 40,000 PIP appeals by the end of March 2014. The actual PIP receipts by the end of March were just over 1,000.’
    Judge Martin also has deep suspicions about what is happening in relation to disability living allowance ( DLA). He explains that the number of DLA appeals in March 2014 dropped by 80% compared to March 2013, from 5,568 down to 1,202.

    He argues that this drop cannot be explained simply by the introduction of PIP, especially given that reassessment of DLA awards under the PIP rules has only been introduced in 30% of the country and that DLA claims do not require a medical assessment from Atos or Capita.

    ‘It becomes even more curious’, he suggests, when you realise that the DWP has recently ‘revised the level of DLA appeals expected in 2014-15 - upwards from 29,200 to 33,150.’
    Judge Martin points to a possible explanation. The PIP regulations introduced a power for the DWP to extend DLA awards that were about to run out, even if the claimant is not about to be transferred to PIP. The judge claims that:

    ‘There is anecdotal evidence from welfare rights advisers that claimants whose DLA award is running out have simply received an extension. DWP has not disclosed the extent to which this may be happening’

    Whatever the reason for the fall in the number of appeals, there seems little doubt that the DWP have made an enemy out of a man who knows – or suspects - where many of its skeletons are buried. They must be hoping very much that nobody goes and digs them up.

    Judge Martin’s article, ‘Dark matter’ can be downloaded from the Rightsnet discussion forum.


    Meanwhile, ATOS have spoken out about flaws in government policy, regarding WCA's:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/09/atos-calls-on-mps-to-change-disability-claims-system




    All still going well then for Duncan Smith....

    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2790-dwp-overturns-more-than-half-of-its-own-decisions-under-new-mandatory-reconsideration-system

    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2788-top-judge-proclaims-virtual-collapse-of-wca-process

    Lin
    Last edited by Morglin; 10-06-2014 at 5:28 AM.
    You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands..........for instance, if they are placed around your throat, she's probably slightly upset.
Page 1
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 10th Jun 14, 10:26 AM
    • 9,278 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    rogerblack
    • #2
    • 10th Jun 14, 10:26 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Jun 14, 10:26 AM
    I note the above figures on overturns at mandatory reconsideration are somewhat context-free - as you'd really want to compare them with figures for reconsideration before it became mandatory.
    The figures on UC appeals may also be almost meaningless - as there are around 3000 people on UC.
    From memory, appeals actually reaching the tribunal are in single figures.

    On DLA - 55% is a high rate, but this is the same order of magnitude as appeal successes under non-MR once reconsideration has been done. (Again, you'd need to compare before and after).

    There is also real concern that the DWP 'explanatory calls' after MR is done are dissuading people from appealing.
    • epitome
    • By epitome 10th Jun 14, 7:33 PM
    • 2,974 Posts
    • 1,815 Thanks
    epitome
    • #3
    • 10th Jun 14, 7:33 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jun 14, 7:33 PM
    All the more reason why it is such bad advice to tell people, not to submit any evidence or statement with a Man Recon request.

    Anyone who says to a claimant not to submit any statement or evidence with a Man Recon should also tell them that by doing so they are not giving themselves the best chance of having the decision changed at an earlier stage than a tribunal would do.

    There are some circumstances where a claimant might feel a quick (but ineffective Man Recon) is the best thing for them but they should be fully informed before coming to that decision.
    • Morglin
    • By Morglin 11th Jun 14, 2:28 PM
    • 14,625 Posts
    • 26,914 Thanks
    Morglin
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 14, 2:28 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 14, 2:28 PM
    Mike Penning (Tory minister), has admitted to parliament that 700,000 people are currently in the logjam, waiting for assessments...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27796739

    Lin
    You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands..........for instance, if they are placed around your throat, she's probably slightly upset.
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 11th Jun 14, 8:24 PM
    • 7,846 Posts
    • 1,811 Thanks
    50Twuncle
    • #5
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:24 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:24 PM
    Mike Penning (Tory minister), has admitted to parliament that 700,000 people are currently in the logjam, waiting for assessments...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27796739

    Lin
    Originally posted by Morglin

    How many decades do you estimate it will take to clear that backlog plus more added whilst the existing are being cleared ?
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 11th Jun 14, 8:35 PM
    • 9,278 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    rogerblack
    • #6
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:35 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:35 PM
    How many decades do you estimate it will take to clear that backlog plus more added whilst the existing are being cleared ?
    Originally posted by 50Twuncle
    They have taken the decision at the moment to hold off routine reassessments of people.
    This greatly reduces the load on the system.
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 11th Jun 14, 8:37 PM
    • 7,846 Posts
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    50Twuncle
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:37 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 14, 8:37 PM
    They have taken the decision at the moment to hold off routine reassessments of people.
    This greatly reduces the load on the system.
    Originally posted by rogerblack




    So the PIP assessments planned for my area sometime in the next 2 years probably won't happen in my lifetime ?
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 12th Jun 14, 8:14 AM
    • 9,278 Posts
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    rogerblack
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 14, 8:14 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 14, 8:14 AM
    So the PIP assessments planned for my area sometime in the next 2 years probably won't happen in my lifetime ?
    Originally posted by 50Twuncle
    This was regarding ESA.
    For DLA reassessments - it's going to take a very long time indeed to work through the existing caseload unless they dramatically speed up.
    • Morglin
    • By Morglin 12th Jun 14, 9:30 AM
    • 14,625 Posts
    • 26,914 Thanks
    Morglin
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 14, 9:30 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 14, 9:30 AM
    ESA claimant count is starting to rise again:

    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2796-700-000-esa-medical-backlog-as-claimant-count-starts-to-rise

    Lin
    You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands..........for instance, if they are placed around your throat, she's probably slightly upset.
    • Morglin
    • By Morglin 12th Jun 14, 9:37 AM
    • 14,625 Posts
    • 26,914 Thanks
    Morglin
    How many decades do you estimate it will take to clear that backlog plus more added whilst the existing are being cleared ?
    Originally posted by 50Twuncle

    Social analysts suggest, that at the current rate of progress, it will take 47 years to be where IDS told us we would be in 2017-2018....

    That would include DLA, ESA, Universal Credit and PIP.

    And, now, despite all the mad headlines about the majority of claimants (in 2010), not being entitled to sickness benefits, not only has it barely fallen (after appeal, and allowing for the fact that it has always fluctuated, when normal recovery numbers are factored in) it has now started to rise., so hundreds of millions wasted, and chaos reigning, to get back to a worse situation that we started in, with the welfare bill rising by record amounts.

    Lin
    You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands..........for instance, if they are placed around your throat, she's probably slightly upset.
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 12th Jun 14, 9:46 AM
    • 7,846 Posts
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    50Twuncle
    This was regarding ESA.
    For DLA reassessments - it's going to take a very long time indeed to work through the existing caseload unless they dramatically speed up.
    Originally posted by rogerblack

    The reason for my question is that I am on DLA (I was awarded this 6 years ago "for the rest of my life" (or words to that effect) - after a joke of an initial assessment - the Atos Dr did a home visit and carried out NO checks, but a week later, I received a letter, informing me that I was entitled to MAX care and MAX mobility - then a month later, received a second letter, cancelling the whole lot - I appealed through my MP and ended up on Mid care....

    However, my condition has now changed/deteriorated and I was considering requesting a reassessment...

    I know that if I get reassessed, I will go on to PIP instantly - but

    1. If they decide that I am no longer eligible - I will have to go through the appeal procedure AGAIN - how long will that take ?

    2. If they agree that I am worse - I may gain a few £'s (what are the rates ?) - but I survive on what I currently claim....

    I guess it depends on who does the reassessment and what the outcome is likely to be ...
    • Simon7685
    • By Simon7685 12th Jun 14, 5:44 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 438 Thanks
    Simon7685
    My advice would be to consider carefully because as you say you would be moved to PIP and could lose everything. I have read that appeals can take anything up to 14 months at the moment, though hopefully some of the other members will tell you if that is accurate or not.

    If you are on high rate mob + mid rate care on DLA you are getting £440 every 4 weeks? The enhanced daily living rate on PIP is £79.15 a week which would mean an increase of £26.15 a week or £104.60 every 4 weeks.

    That is a decent amount of money but the down side is if you were refused you risk losing the £440 you currently get and could potentially be looking at losing that until a successful appeal, which is not guaranteed. Could you survive without the £440 you currently receive? That is the gamble you would be taking.

    I personally would think long and hard before going for a change of circumstances there is something to gain but also a lot to lose.

    Maybe Roger or some of the others can give you some guidance but at the end of it all it comes down to your decision and what I think is really a lottery. I would probably stick with what you have in your position as there is a lot to lose.
    • Simon7685
    • By Simon7685 12th Jun 14, 5:52 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 438 Thanks
    Simon7685
    There is a lot of interesting reading in this thread and it is really informative. It goes a long way to perhaps explaining how I managed to get my DLA renewed in record time, with increased care and an indefinite award, without any medical (if you can call them medicals), or even a request for information from my GP. The only "evidence" I included with the form was my repeat prescription slips, which obviously show all the medicarion I take every day.

    I remain in total shock at my result and new award completed in 24 hours!

    I hope they continue to get further behind and migrations keep getting bumped for a long time. I know that sounds a bit selfish and I feel for those left in limbo but the longer they leave me alone the better, as it is stress and worry you just don't need!!
    • missapril75
    • By missapril75 12th Jun 14, 6:57 PM
    • 1,601 Posts
    • 1,706 Thanks
    missapril75
    This thread is good timing. DWP changing their original decisions.

    I have often seen reference to the majority of JSA sanctions being overturned on appeal and it seems that's not quite correct according to my research.

    The success lies in persuading the Job Centre to change their mind, exactly as the thread title suggests.

    Since the new JSA sanctions regime was introduced on 22 October 2012, there have been a total of 1,028,819 adverse JSA sanction decisions up to the end of December 2013.

    Of those 1,028,819 decisions:

    317,411 were reviewed – 146,486 were overturned
    34,503 were appealed – 6,158 were overturned at appeal
    So that's 46% success at the review stage and 18% at the appeal stage.

    Or put another way, the appeal tribunals agree with the sanction 82% of the time.

    Of course, it's entirely possible that had decisions not changed at the review stage, they would have proceeded to appeal and would have been overturned then, thus increasing the rate at which appeals disagreed with the sanctions.

    It seems that, with more time, the "right" (or fair) decision is being made without it having to go to appeal.

    No doubt that's due to "over eagerness" to hit sanction targets and insufficient time given to allow staff to consider these things properly in the first place.

    But that's quite normal in underfunded government departments and a false economy when the problems have to be paid for. (as with the passport office backlog)

    I wonder if sanction decisions made still count in JC stat returns even if they've been overturned at the review stage?
    Last edited by missapril75; 12-06-2014 at 7:01 PM.
  • jennyjenkins
    I actually work in the tribunals office, for DLA, ESA, etc etc, I will be quite honest and tell you that we have had no work at all for the past 6 months, this is why no one are having appeals, or reassessments done. At the end of last year our office recruited and trained, 32 extra staff to deal with appeals, these people have now been dismissed, because of the lack of work, many of the experienced staff in our department have been advised to apply for voluntary redundancy, or apply for a posting in a different department.

    The reason why we have no work is because ATOS will not release all the medical files that they have, until their contract has been resolved. ATOS were not up to doing the job, they did not realise how difficult it will be. We have some people on our system that have been waiting for 3/4 years for answers, and we can not do anything about it.

    Our bosses told us this morning, that this is going to be like this for at least another 6 months. And in the meantime, the trained staff are leaving for other postings, and when the work does start coming in. There will be no staff capable of doing the job everyone will have to start from scratch. It is so damned annoying, all I do all day is play solitaire on the computer, or read magazines, I want to work, but there is no work to do.

    This is the reason why the decisions are being overturned, we know that we do not have the paperwork to fight an appeal, so until things change people are being allowed to keep there benefits.
    Last edited by jennyjenkins; 16-06-2014 at 1:32 PM. Reason: information
    • ps2659
    • By ps2659 16th Jun 14, 1:50 PM
    • 462 Posts
    • 221 Thanks
    ps2659
    I actually work in the tribunals office, for DLA, ESA, etc etc, I will be quite honest and tell you that we have had no work at all for the past 6 months, this is why no one are having appeals, or reassessments done. At the end of last year our office recruited and trained, 32 extra staff to deal with appeals, these people have now been dismissed, because of the lack of work, many of the experienced staff in our department have been advised to apply for voluntary redundancy, or apply for a posting in a different department.

    The reason why we have no work is because ATOS will not release all the medical files that they have, until their contract has been resolved. ATOS were not up to doing the job, they did not realise how difficult it will be. We have some people on our system that have been waiting for 3/4 years for answers, and we can not do anything about it.

    Our bosses told us this morning, that this is going to be like this for at least another 6 months. And in the meantime, the trained staff are leaving for other postings, and when the work does start coming in. There will be no staff capable of doing the job everyone will have to start from scratch. It is so damned annoying, all I do all day is play solitaire on the computer, or read magazines, I want to work, but there is no work to do.

    This is the reason why the decisions are being overturned, we know that we do not have the paperwork to fight an appeal, so until things change people are being allowed to keep there benefits.
    Originally posted by jennyjenkins

    Hi Jenny
    What happens to people who are due an appeal and have been told that the money stops after 12 months.
  • jennyjenkins
    Hi Jenny
    What happens to people who are due an appeal and have been told that the money stops after 12 months.
    Originally posted by ps2659
    It will stop as normal, but as soon as you appeal, the money will restart being paid. this is supposed to be kept quiet, hoping that people will go away, but appeal, and we have to pay you until, something is sorted out with another firm, apart from ATOS
    • ps2659
    • By ps2659 16th Jun 14, 2:00 PM
    • 462 Posts
    • 221 Thanks
    ps2659
    It will stop as normal, but as soon as you appeal, the money will restart being paid. this is supposed to be kept quiet, hoping that people will go away, but appeal, and we have to pay you until, something is sorted out with another firm, apart from ATOS
    Originally posted by jennyjenkins

    A relative of mine is waiting for his appeal and has been told his money will stop in August, does that mean he has to re appeal and he will carry on being paid until he gets an appeal date.
    Thanks for your input.
    • 50Twuncle
    • By 50Twuncle 16th Jun 14, 2:01 PM
    • 7,846 Posts
    • 1,811 Thanks
    50Twuncle
    It will stop as normal, but as soon as you appeal, the money will restart being paid. this is supposed to be kept quiet, hoping that people will go away, but appeal, and we have to pay you until, something is sorted out with another firm, apart from ATOS
    Originally posted by jennyjenkins


    Jenny,
    If you are really an insider - I assume that this is NOT your real name ?
    Please take care - I have heard stories (through my trades union) of Whistle blowers being hounded until they resign - so be very careful !!
    • tomtontom
    • By tomtontom 16th Jun 14, 2:03 PM
    • 7,199 Posts
    • 16,351 Thanks
    tomtontom
    A relative of mine is waiting for his appeal and has been told his money will stop in August, does that mean he has to re appeal and he will carry on being paid until he gets an appeal date.
    Thanks for your input.
    Originally posted by ps2659
    Did he fail the assessment or is he appealing the decision to place him in the WRAG? In the latter case his payment will be means assessed after a year. In the former case he will continue to receive the assessment rate until his appeal is heard.
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