Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19: Welfare benefit issues  →  Thread

Helping clients with benefit claim forms

Steve Triner
forum member

Sutton CABx

Send message

Total Posts: 1

Joined: 15 October 2017

The number of people asking us for support with completing official forms including disability benefit claim forms has always been high relative to our capacity. Most volunteer advisers get bored with forms completion. The issue has now got really difficult as everyone is working from home. This creates obvious practical difficulties and our capacity to help clients complete forms is now even lower relative to demand. There are of course various reasons why people ask us for help with forms- but perhaps the most common reason is simply lack of confidence. We try to encourage people to at least attempt the form, but many are resistant. Has anyone found a way to respond to client’s needing help with forms when demand is so high?

Ruth_T
forum member

Volunteer adviser - Corby Borough Welfare Rights & CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 296

Joined: 21 June 2010

A well-completed form, which addresses the eligibility criteria for the benefit in question, but is devoid of irrelevant material, is key to a successful claim.  I would far rather spend time assisting a client to complete a PIP2 or ESA50 form, than have hours of work representing them at an appeal.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
forum member

Citizens Advice Bridport & District

Send message

Total Posts: 727

Joined: 9 January 2017

Agree with Ruth!!!

May be worth thinking about developing a strategy in place for your colleagues i.e. regarding the importance of forms, empowering and enthusing them e.g.  through training, follow up work and outcomes so colleagues are part of the ‘client journey’. Oh and team meetings.

Things below may be of interest including couple of courses your find on the Rightsnet training bit

https://cpag.org.uk/training-and-events/events/best-practice-completing-pip-questionnaire-9-february-2021-online

Swansea LA Welfs do a couple of guides on completing ESA/UC50’s and PIP2’s - see the attached PIP2 version.

Remote interviewing skills https://www.benefitstraining.co.uk/

File Attachments

Paul Stockton
forum member

Epping Forest CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 146

Joined: 6 May 2014

Steve Triner - 21 January 2021 09:48 PM

The number of people asking us for support with completing official forms including disability benefit claim forms has always been high relative to our capacity. Most volunteer advisers get bored with forms completion. The issue has now got really difficult as everyone is working from home. This creates obvious practical difficulties and our capacity to help clients complete forms is now even lower relative to demand. There are of course various reasons why people ask us for help with forms- but perhaps the most common reason is simply lack of confidence. We try to encourage people to at least attempt the form, but many are resistant. Has anyone found a way to respond to client’s needing help with forms when demand is so high?

As a volunteer adviser myself I confess to getting bored with forms, and having to do it all over the phone (especially if in addition you have to use an interpreter) makes it even more of a chore. The best I can offer, from my own experience, is to try to share the burden with the client. So ask the client to fill in the more routine parts of the form - name, address, GP details, repeat prescription list etc - and after discussion for each question end by asking whether they think they can write out the answer themselves or whether they would like me to draft that answer. If they want to have a go themselves I offer to look at their draft. Then post or email them the bits I’ve done for them to add to the form they’ve got. Saves a bit of time and gives them a bit more ownership.

neilbateman
forum member

Welfare Rights Author, Trainer & Consultant

Send message

Total Posts: 443

Joined: 16 June 2010

I’ve found that it really is time well spent doing a PIP 2 and ESA/UC 50 comprehensively. 

It saves hours and days later on when clients have not done themselves justice completing them by themselves and/or overloaded the form with reams of irrelevant information or where they have completed the form thinking “I suffer from XYZ, so it’s obvious I qualify”.

I don’t think it’s just anxiety which drives people to ask for help with these two forms in particular, but an understandable lack of familiarity with the law which is by no means straightforward as well as justifiable fear that if they make a mistake their income will be slashed. 

Would we be happy if our solicitor suggested we complete the forms for conveyancing ourselves when buying a home or to draw up our own wills with “support”?  I doubt it.

Neither can we rely on DWP to help with these two forms as their approach is usually just to read out the text, rather than probe, explain, rephrase the questions, etc in order to draw out the right evidence from the client.

Gareth Morgan
forum member

CEO, Ferret, Cardiff

Send message

Total Posts: 1825

Joined: 16 June 2010

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 25 January 2021 02:11 PM

May be worth thinking about developing a strategy in place for your colleagues i.e. regarding the importance of forms, empowering and enthusing them e.g.  through training, follow up work and outcomes so colleagues are part of the ‘client journey’. Oh and team meetings./

This is exactly what we’re doing in Wales with Dangos - https://www.dangos.wales/ - which is designed to make non-benefits advisers more aware of the issues and the help that’s available.  It launched early this month with a target of getting 1,500 to 3,000 people through the online sessions by the end of September.  We’ve already delivered, or got bookings to March, for over 1,200 attendees.  Those range from the people we expected to a lot of other people that we hadn’t, including PCSOs and a group from Jobcentre-plus(!).

There’s a real appetite for more knowledge and information from people who are in day to day contact with people who need help. It’s not turning them into advisers but into a channel between advisors and clients.

[ Edited: 26 Jan 2021 at 01:21 pm by Gareth Morgan ]
neilbateman
forum member

Welfare Rights Author, Trainer & Consultant

Send message

Total Posts: 443

Joined: 16 June 2010

Gareth Morgan - 26 January 2021 01:05 PM
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 25 January 2021 02:11 PM

May be worth thinking about developing a strategy in place for your colleagues i.e. regarding the importance of forms, empowering and enthusing them e.g.  through training, follow up work and outcomes so colleagues are part of the ‘client journey’. Oh and team meetings./

This is exactly what we’re doing in Wales with Dangos - https://www.dangos.wales/ - which is designed to make non-benefits advisers more aware of the issues and the help that’s available.  It launched early this month with a target of getting 1,500 to 3,000 people through the online sessions by the end of September.  We’ve already delivered, or got bookings to March, for over 1,200 attendees.  Those range from the people we expected to a lot of other people that we hadn’t, including PCSOs and a group from Jobcentre-plus(!).

There’s a real appetite for more knowledge and information from people who are in day to day contact with people who need help. It’s not turning them into advisers but into a channel between advisors and clients.

I agree with Gareth on this.  It’s always been important to engage the wider hinterland of advisers such as support workers, social workers, community activists, health visitors, etc in welfare rights work, but it is essential that they and their service users have specialists to turn to for help when things become too difficult.

On the question of form filling, I remember a full time Judge saying that a well completed form is worth so much, as is an appeal that actually says something about the evidence that supports the descriptors claimed.

 

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
forum member

Citizens Advice Bridport & District

Send message

Total Posts: 727

Joined: 9 January 2017

Gareth Morgan - 26 January 2021 01:05 PM
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 25 January 2021 02:11 PM

May be worth thinking about developing a strategy in place for your colleagues i.e. regarding the importance of forms, empowering and enthusing them e.g.  through training, follow up work and outcomes so colleagues are part of the ‘client journey’. Oh and team meetings./

This is exactly what we’re doing in Wales with Dangos - https://www.dangos.wales/ - which is designed to make non-benefits advisers more aware of the issues and the help that’s available.  It launched early this month with a target of getting 1,500 to 3,000 people through the online sessions by the end of September.  We’ve already delivered, or got bookings to March, for over 1,200 attendees.  Those range from the people we expected to a lot of other people that we hadn’t, including PCSOs and a group from Jobcentre-plus(!).

There’s a real appetite for more knowledge and information from people who are in day to day contact with people who need help. It’s not turning them into advisers but into a channel between advisors and clients.

Wow bloody hell I’m lost in admiration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember as it was known then Age Concern Dorchester got funding from Age Concern central to do awareness raising talks in 6 different venues for non-benefits advisors across Dorset with the exception of the Poole, Christchurch, Bournemouth conurbation. Which attracted decent numbers, but this is on a whole different level!!!

unhindered by talent
forum member

Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team

Send message

Total Posts: 391

Joined: 18 October 2013

I love filling in forms! Usually the client can complete the easy parts and I will draft the meat of it while on the phone to them.

For PIP, i’m using the Lexis Nexis form
https://digitalpip.lexisnexisrolfoundation.org/#page1

For the shorter AR1 review form:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756542/ar1-pip-award-review-how-your-disability-affects-you.pdf
I am typing what i’d write in the form into a template and sending to the client by email or post for them to transcribe into their form.

For WCA forms, i’ll use the interactive ESA50 and UC50 . I always have to remember to download it first before completing it!
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/908107/esa-50-capability-for-work-questionnaire.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952177/uc50-interactive.pdf

For sure, it’s not as easy as doing it face-to-face but i’ve found that whereas before, clients have left me to complete the whole form, on the phone they will more readily volunteer what they can do.

Helen Rogers
forum member

Welfare rights officer - Stockport MBC

Send message

Total Posts: 177

Joined: 17 June 2010

A client has sent me a completely blank AR 1 PIP review form, so I’m attaching it here in case it’s of any use to anyone.  You’d need to print it out before you can write on it, but it doesn’t have “specimen” written across every page.

File Attachments

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2668

Joined: 17 June 2010

“Grabs”.

Ruth_T
forum member

Volunteer adviser - Corby Borough Welfare Rights & CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 296

Joined: 21 June 2010

Helen:

You are a star.  Thank you.

Ruth

Helen Rogers
forum member

Welfare rights officer - Stockport MBC

Send message

Total Posts: 177

Joined: 17 June 2010

While I’m at it - this is a Word version of the form that you can type in to.  I got it off one of the threads here, but can’t find that thread now.

File Attachments

ASH
forum member

Welfare officer - St Christopher's Hospice, SE London

Send message

Total Posts: 105

Joined: 16 June 2010

This is a real bug bear of mine.  Online applications are great if you are literate and computer literate with easy access to a lap top or PC.  But for many people they act as a barrier to services.  I believe that the increasing insistence that claimants have to fill in forms online to access anything with no access to other means of applying is leading to a greater exclusion of entitlement as well as a greater dependence on advisers.  We are all overwhelmed anyway and adding what should be simple tasks to our workload is leading to an impossible situation. 

I agree that it is useful for advisers to be involved filling in complex forms like PIP2s and UC50s where our expertise is useful.  But some applications are made unnecessarily complex because they are online only.  Many of these are simple requests for council services - help with housing issues, parking permits, blue badge, freedom passes- and particularly depend on uploading documents.  Not much expertise needed - just computer literacy and the ability to scan documents.  Many claimants are overwhelmed either don’t access the service or have to seek help.  Whenever, I complain on behalf of a claimant I am usually told that they must have access to a family member who can help.  Luckily my clients have me but Increasing their self sufficiency is becoming a distant dream.

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2668

Joined: 17 June 2010

Multiple issues here. IT literacy is but the one. Allied to this is digital poverty in general. People whose access to the web is at best a PAYG mobile age who have zero access to a printer/scanner.

The choice between online and paper is informed by IT literacy and digital poverty but the reality is both are as difficult as each other if you don’t know what the form is looking for in the first place.

dizzymare
forum member

Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

Send message

Total Posts: 278

Joined: 18 June 2010

“For PIP, i’m using the Lexis Nexis form
https://digitalpip.lexisnexisrolfoundation.org/#page1”

has anyone had any issues in getting this form to download? I have watched the video and can type onto the form but when I try to save it I get an error message. I’ve tried it on my personal lap top to see if it was anything to do with councils firewall, but it doesn’t work here either.  (message reads this file does not have an app associated with it for performing this action?) im sure it is me and lack of technical knowledge but any tips gratefully received.

Gareth Morgan
forum member

CEO, Ferret, Cardiff

Send message

Total Posts: 1825

Joined: 16 June 2010

I’ve just downloaded (effectively) by printing the form and setting the printed output to PDF.

It’s a dynamic form though, and that means that you need to add extra lines etc. in appropriate places before doing that.

unhindered by talent
forum member

Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team

Send message

Total Posts: 391

Joined: 18 October 2013

I was able to save it and it went into my Downloads folder. I couldn’t open it from the actual document as it didn’t have an application but when I clicked ‘Load’ and chose the file from Downloads, it opened fine

dizzymare
forum member

Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

Send message

Total Posts: 278

Joined: 18 June 2010

thank you both - got it now (was trying to open in normal way rather than go to downloads) did test to print and it worked.  thank you

Sangeeta1
forum member

Support Services, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, London

Send message

Total Posts: 19

Joined: 18 February 2016

Does anyone have a copy/link to the new PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form?

I can’t find this anywhere online? Official pages still show the June 2018 one.

Thanks,
Sangeeta

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 785

Joined: 24 November 2017

Sangeeta1 - 25 March 2021 11:01 AM

Does anyone have a copy/link to the new PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form?
I can’t find this anywhere online? Official pages still show the June 2018 one.
Thanks,
Sangeeta

Not an online link but see post #21 in this thread https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/15759/

Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

Send message

Total Posts: 1348

Joined: 16 June 2010

Ianb - 25 March 2021 01:04 PM
Sangeeta1 - 25 March 2021 11:01 AM

Does anyone have a copy/link to the new PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form?
I can’t find this anywhere online? Official pages still show the June 2018 one.
Thanks,
Sangeeta

Not an online link but see post #21 in this thread https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/15759/

That’s still the 2018 form though. A scan of the version of the form released this month, with changes to the wording and tick-boxes, is linked here.

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 785

Joined: 24 November 2017

Jon (CHDCA) - 25 March 2021 05:16 PM

That’s still the 2018 form though. A scan of the version of the form released this month, with changes to the wording and tick-boxes, is linked here.

Thanks, Jon. That was the one I meant to link to!

Sangeeta1
forum member

Support Services, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, London

Send message

Total Posts: 19

Joined: 18 February 2016

Thanks Jon and Ian.

Becky
forum member

Welfare Rights, Durham County Council

Send message

Total Posts: 3

Joined: 14 October 2020

I’ve attached a word version of the new PIP form, feel free to use/amend etc. I doubt PIP will accept this in the same way they accept the Simplified PIP but it might be useful if you’re gathering information over the phone and then sending it to the client.

[ Edited: 29 Mar 2021 at 10:30 am by Becky ]

File Attachments

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2668

Joined: 17 June 2010

“Whoops!”

That’s what was needed. Thank you.

Becky
forum member

Welfare Rights, Durham County Council

Send message

Total Posts: 3

Joined: 14 October 2020

The section regarding treatment has been added to the form and reattached to the original post.