Our own little corner of Stewart
Well, considering the youtube theme of the UT, this is a must have bit of freeware - http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/products/dvd/Free-YouTube-to-MP3-Converter.htmI have posted this before but for any newcomers - any youtube vid you like, copy and paste the link into this program and it converts it into an mp3 which you can put on your ipod - truly brilliant little program.
Useful site here for anyone who needs itAll you need to know for bold italics and creating links
Link to site for Freedom of Information requests (UK public bodies)_
The Disability Alliance UK site has a list of future benefits, tax credits and social care changes.
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Link to the coalition of resistance with info about other anti-cuts orgs around the country.
Free 0800 calls from UK mobile phonesA way to beat the scams?
Info on legal challenge to the govt's emergency budget, under the statutory equality duties. Women's Budget Group response to the emergency budgetFawcett Society's legal challenge to the government budgetThe Equality and Human Rights Commission's action to ensure the government meets its legal obligations to consider the effect of budget cuts on vulnerable groups.
Information about Points System used in Incapacity Benefit Medicals
Top Tips for those dealing/struggling with an Incapacity Benefit Claim:(The following is the first of ten tips that have been sent to me in daily emails as part of marketing exercise promoting a professionally produced guide to claiming Incapacity Benefit. the guide is very good and costs £18.95 the top tips are free and worth sharing)"If you have to have a medical as part of your personal capability assessment (PCA) for incapacity benefit, it may seem like the doctor or nurse is just having a friendly chat with you. The truth, however, is that every question the doctor or nurse asks is being prompted by computer software called LIMA (Logic Integrated Medical Assessment) and very unfair assumptions are likely to be made based on the answers you give. For example, one of the questions you will be asked is whether you watch TV and what programmes you enjoy.If you say that you enjoy watching films, the doctor or nurse may well assume - without asking you any further questions - that you can sit comfortably for at least two hours without having to move from the chair. This means you will score zero points for problems with sitting.In fact, the law says the sitting test is based on how long you can sit on a very specific sort of chair: an upright chair with a back but no arms, like a dining chair or the sort of chair you might find in an office or at a supermarket checkout.And the truth may be that you can watch a film for two hours. But you probably don’t do so sitting on a dining chair. In fact, if you have back problems you may not sit at all, but lay on a sofa instead. And in that two hours you may get up and stand half a dozen times or even get up and walk around the room during the adverts, to relieve your back pain. But the doctor or nurse is paid on a piece rate for every medical they carry out. So they are very unlikely to take the time to ask you all the additional questions they would need to in order to build up an accurate picture of how long you can really sit on the correct type of chair.That being the case, it’s up to you to make sure you volunteer the information that they need rather than waiting to be asked. This applies whatever your condition: there are assumptions lurking behind every question.So, don’t make it easy for rushed health professionals to create inaccurate reports about you. Instead, use our guides to improve your chances of getting the correct decision about your incapacity for work by knowing the kinds of questions you’ll be asked and the assumptions that hide behind them. If you haven’t already seen free, sample excerpts from our guides, you can download them by clicking on, or copying and pasting, this link into your browser window and following the links on the page that opens:http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/content/incapacity-benefit/ib-claimsTomorrow: How your incapacity medical could cost you your DLA.Good luck,Steve DonnisonDon’t want to wait any longer to get access to all our guides, news items, forum and confidential DWP resources? Find out how to join from this link:www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/content/join-us
Incapacity Benefit Top Tip Number 2"Most people don’t realise it until too late, but the information in your incapacity medical could also affect your disability living allowance award, if you have one.As we explained yesterday, the doctor or nurse who examines you uses computer software called LIMA (Logic Integrated Medical Assessment) to create a report. Based on choices made by the doctor or nurse, this software creates stock answers such as: ‘Always likes to deal with own finances efficiently’ and ‘Cooks safely and eats well’These are usually created without the doctor or nurse actually asking you in any detail about how you pay bills or how you prepare meals. (In our guides, we explain in detail how LIMA works and even show you screenshots of the software in action).Unfortunately, however, if you get the lower rate of the care component of disability living allowance (DLA) because a physical or mental health condition means you can’t prepare a cooked main meal, then the phrase ‘Cooks safely and eats well’ may be enough for a decision maker to look again at your DLA award and end it.So, it’s vital that you are aware of how your answers to questions can be misused. By ensuring that you give accurate evidence in your questionnaire, knowing what may lie behind questions you are asked at your medical and understanding how DLA works, you can reduce the chances of inaccurate evidence affecting not only your incapacity benefit but also your DLA.And if your not already getting DLA – or want to learn more about why you were awarded it - remember that as a Benefits and Work member you can also download detailed guides to DLA claims and appeals. If you have a long-term health problem it’s definitely worth considering a claim for DLA. And just because you’ve been turned down before, that doesn’t mean you won’t succeed this time with the help of our guides.Find out more about our DLA guides from this link:www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/disability-living-allowance-(dla)/dla-claimsTomorrow: Your medical begins long before you meet the doctor.Good luck,Steve DonnisonDon’t want to wait any longer to get access to all our guides, news items, forum and confidential DWP resources? Find out how to join from this link:www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/join-us© March 2009. Steve Donnison"
Incapacity Benefit - Advisory 3 of 10"Give very careful consideration to how you travel to the medical, because you will be asked about how you did so and enormous assumptions may be made on the basis of your being able to use public transport on your own, for example. This may be the case even if you had no choice but to use public transport or even though you found it painful or distressing to do so.In relation to mental health it may be assumed that you can motivate yourself to get up and dress, go out alone, communicate with other people, deal with changes in routine, motivate yourself and so on. These assumptions are likely to be made without asking you how you coped with the journey.In relation to physical health it may be assumed that you can walk to and from bus stops without pain, that you can stand to wait for buses, rise from sitting to standing, handle coins, get up and down steps, sit for long periods and so on. Again, you may well not be asked about any difficulties you experienced or any pain you suffered throughout the journeySo, if you don’t normally use public transport, then try not to do so to travel to your medical. If you do have to use public transport and it is painful or traumatic for you, make sure you explain this to the doctor who assesses you.Our guides to the personal capability assessment (PCA) – the name for the incapacity benefit medical assessment process - contain lots more information about incapacity for work questionnaires, medical examinations and appeals. Here’s what one member had to say about them:“I went for my PCA two weeks ago, (having downloaded all your info, including your list of 60 questions I might be asked), the doctor virtually asked me word for word most of the questions on your list! I received the good news that I wont have to go for another PCA for 18 months and have now been able to put in a claim for Income Support to pay my mortgage interest (after having to sell my car and borrowing money to keep up the payments)...."..."
Incapacity Benefit - Advisory 4 of 10"Even if you don’t score enough points under the personal capability assessment – the medical test to decide if you’re incapable of work – you may still have a chance of being found incapable of work either at claim or appeal stage. This is because of the little known ‘exceptional circumstances’ rules.There are a number of these, but probably the most important is regulation 27(b), which states that you will be found incapable of work if: ‘there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if he were found capable of work’’This regulation could apply to you on physical health or on mental health grounds.For example, if you experience severe anxiety attacks and might harm yourself or somebody else if placed in a situation you find threatening, then this might be grounds for applying regulation 27(b).Or you may have a lung condition which is made much worse by stress and, in the past, such situations have led to a serious deterioration in your health and perhaps hospitalisation. If you would find being found capable of work, having to sign on for Jobseekers Allowance and take part in training or work experience very stressful, then that may be grounds for declaring you incapable of work under the exceptional circumstances regulations. However, neither doctors nor decision makers are quick to identify people who might be covered by these clauses. And very few claimants even know they exist. So make sure you’re properly informed about all the regulations that might apply to you by using our detailed, downloadable guides to the personal capability assessment on physical and mental health grounds.That way, you’ll have the opportunity to give evidence about them in your questionnaire, at your medical and, if necessary, at your appeal.Tomorrow: It’s all about the evidence...."
Incapicity Benefit - Advisory 5 of 10"Evidence is what makes or breaks every incapacity benefit claim.This is because the decision about whether you are capable of work is based entirely on evidence.The questionnaire you complete is evidence, as are the sick notes completed by your GP and the report of the Atos doctor or nurse if you have to have a medical. The more detailed, relevant evidence you can submit to support your claim, the better the chances of success either at the initial claim stage or at an appeal. You can submit both medical evidence from your GP and other health professionals and non-medical evidence from social workers, housing workers, friends, relatives and carers, for example. When you are collecting evidence, always try to arrange to have letters sent to you rather than direct to the DWP. If your doctor is reluctant to do this, point out that you want to keep a copy for your records because it is far from unknown for the DWP to lose papers. Read any evidence before you submit it. If there are points in it that are incorrect or missing and this might damage your case, try contacting the writer and asking them to send you an altered version. If they won’t do this, or if the evidence is unhelpful for any other reason, then simply don’t submit it. This is your claim, so it’s your decision.Carefully structured evidence can make all the difference to your claim, as this member discovered:“I received an IB50 in November and solely used your guide books to complete the form. I spent a lot of time completing the forms ensuring that I followed your guidelines. . . . I have just received a letter (after 2 ½ months) from Jobcentre Plus to say I had met the threshold of incapacity under the PCA because I had scored the necessary points and my case would come up for normal review in 2012. I had to read the letter a few times for it to sink in as this was achieved without going for a medical or submitting a Med 4. I put this solely down to the advice in your guide whereby we are shown the framework on how to answer the questions properly.”
Incapicty Benefit Advisory 6 of 10"There’s something you should do as soon as you know that you’re making a claim or renewal claim for incapacity benefit or income support: make sure your GP and any other health professional the DWP might contact is fully updated about your condition and how it affects you. Very often the DWP will contact your GP for additional evidence even if they are not your primary health carer and you have told them so on your questionnaire. If they do so they will tell your GP not to contact you first but just to fill in the form – usually a from IB113 - based on their knowledge of you and on your medical records. Your GP will be paid for completing the form even if the evidence they provide is incomplete, inaccurate or based on entirely out-of-date information.Claimants all too often end up at appeals because although they gave detailed and accurate evidence in their questionnaire, the evidence from their GP did not support what they were saying. Frequently a GP will be prepared to write a supporting letter for the appeal, explaining that they didn’t realise the extent of your problems untiol they spoke to you. But by then the damage may have been done: the tribunal have to decide whether the doctor’s new evidence has been given under pressure from the claimant or not..So, if you haven’t talked to your GP recently about the difficulties you are having that are relevant to your claim, make sure you do so as soon as you possibly can. And don’t be afraid to take up a little more of your GP’s time on this occasion, so that you are sure they have all the details they need. It could make all the difference between success and failure.Tomorrow: How six and six make fifteenGood luck"
NB - I make no claim to special expertise in benefit matters.People do need to understand that that there are technical differences between the ESA benefit (which was introduced in 2008) and the old Incapacity Benefit (which still exists for many claimants who were signed on the benefit before 2008.As you will see all the information I have provided is clearly marked as pertaining to Incapacity Benefit. It makes no claim as to it's relevance to ESA.ESA is even more problematic than Incapacity Benefit!!!!I seem to recall someone (PeterJ?) providing the above link that attempted to explain the diffferences 'tween IB and ESA.I can say that a friend had an Incapicty Benefit ATOS medical only last Tuesday. Me friend reported that the experience was in line with the procedure roughly outlined in my 'briefings'. That friend is absolutely clear that he wishes he had been forewarned about what was coming.....he thinks he will loose his benefit through his ignorance. In fairness anybody carefully reading what I have provided can only draw one conclusion....ie, ALERT ALERT ALERT BE CAREFUL AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK YOU ARE IN A MINE FIELD!. I think that stands for both IB and ESA claimants.As with all free advice.........nobody is claiming that IB or ESA can be assured from simply reading guides. It's only about increasing the odds marginally in favour of the claimant. My intention is is to do no more than issue a general warning/alert to encourage folk to do some homework.I'm sure that UT's have more than sufficient nous to sort out what will be relevant and helpful to their particular circumstancesHope this helps clarify the status of The IB Advisorys thus far provided.
For Information:ESA and the Work Capability Test
Useful stuff and comment on this link posted by redminer on CiF:ESA information
Quack. Quack. Quack. Quack.
Some links for the DLA replacement 'PIP'!here and here
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/01/wonga-real-cost-payday-loanArticle about the moneylender Wonga who charge APR circa 4,000%+ for payday loans
Article about WCA death stats....http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html