Archive for the ‘Guides to Benefits’ Category

This blog was inspired after reading the excellent and rather upsetting blog by Zorro at DWP Examination:

I thought you might be interested in whats happening in my local MIND.

Recently I became concerned about our local MIND after exploring their local website.

After extensive exploration It appears to me that just about all they offer is links to government supported/funded networks and projects

The benefits advisor is only paid to work for 10 hours a week and on their webpage much of what they offer in this area is said to be limited.
ie: Limited advice and referrals for challenging decisions.

This description on their website appears to have been altered recently as when I read it a few weeks ago it stated that it did not offer Appeals support?

I have also heard that those seeking benefits advice are encouraged to explore the governments ‘Social Prescriptions‘.

What is so disappointing for me is that most of whats on offer for those seeking help is point and click links.

Bath MIND also decided to stop people supporting people in their private offices and have moved to paying rent for use of a Perspex Pod in the Councils One Stop Shop.


Apparently Bath Mind used part of a grant it received from ST Johns hospital to hire a One Stop Shop Pod, stating the reason for the move being that their offices are on the second floor.

I have also heard it reported that the reason for changing location is due to a lack of staff in the building: If there is only the Advisor and Client in the building then there needs to be a risk assessment undertaken before they can meet.  (Personally I do wonder how much real quality client centred work can be carried out in Bath Mind if the offices are often empty)?

Having experienced both environments in the past, their offices, and the Once Stop Shop, I find the move to the One Stop Shop model regressive whereas the MIND offices were friendly relaxing and inviting, offering a Safe and Confidential space for people to communicate their most intimate thoughts and needs.

In Stark Contrast: To find yourself in the middle of a large Corporate Environment, situated in a Perspex Pod where you can be seen and heard by all those around you when dealing with filling Assessment Forms etc.


Personally I found this environment intimidating:

The first port of call in this ONE STOP Shop is an enquiry desk where a Large sign states Work Coaches are available all day, or word to that effect.

To the right is a POLICE KIOSK.

Our Police Station has been demolished and turned into a car park. The two WPCs in the KIOSK< work in an area resembling a rabbit hutch is now the local police station in effect.

Children run around whilst people sit around waiting to be seen for Housing advice. Its surely not the best and most helpful environment for people having to undergo claiming Disability Assessments.

Apparently Bath Mind used part of a grant it received from ST Johns hospital to hire a One Stop Shop Pod, stating the following reasons for the move:

Although clients find the Bath Mind office a “very calming” environment we are acutely aware of the limitations of being on the 2nd floor of a Georgian building. Funding from St. John’s Hospital will also allow us to rent space at the accessible One Stop Shop in Manaver’s Street, Bath”.


Bath Mind has also merged with The Depression Alliance.

Exploring the Depression Alliance site, I see they have a Work In Progress Campaign. amongst others.

Work in Progress Campaign states the following:

The “Work in Progress” campaign focusses on three key policy areas:

  • Improving access to job retention support
  • Enhancing understanding and recognition of the symptoms of depression
  • Promoting the concept of employment as a health outcome
  • Evidence shows that employment can be hugely beneficial to the health and wellbeing of people with depression.
  • Beyond providing income, work offers structure, focus and a social environment that can support self-fulfilment and provide an important sense of achievement.
  • We call on government departments at a national and regional level to work together to drive this agenda forward, and commit to improving the provision of evidence-based support to help people with depression achieve vocational outcomes.

Corporate/Government takeover of MIND? Or has my mind been taken over by Paranoia?

Hows your local MIND operating nowadays?

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Thanks to the Child Poverty Action Group for these very user friendly Guides.  Please circulate:

Click to access Workshop%205%20-%20Universal%20Credit%20for%20Disabled%20People%20%26%20Carers.pdf


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via Have You Asked For A Statement Of Reasons After Appeal? — Same Difference

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ESA Guidance, really helpful with links to GP letter guides and Legal advice etc. (file under ESA)

Politics and Insights


Essential Information for claims, assessments and appeals. 

There are three essential ideas to keep in mind when claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because of the nature of the ESA50 form, and the fact that Atos are seeking to deny benefits, and NOT assess disability: this will not be a fair investigation of your health issues.

This information needs to be shared widely so people are made aware of them, and can use them when claiming ESA or appealing.

These very helpful ideas are:

  •  Reliably, repeatedly and safely
  •  Exceptional circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31, 29 and 35
  •  Atos assessments and pitfalls – how they try to deceive you

1. Reliably, repeatedly and safely. 

‘Lord’ Fraud made this statement in the House of Lords:

“It must be possible for all the descriptors to be completed reliably, repeatedly and safely, otherwise the individual is considered unable to complete the activity.”

You might…

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