JEFF PRESTRIDGE: 1,454 Christmas Day PIP texts that disgrace DWP

Early this 12 months, I reported how a younger mom acquired an unwelcome – and surprising – textual content on Christmas Day from the Department for Work & Pensions.

Sent at round eight o’clock within the morning, it mentioned her entitlement to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was being reviewed. The profit is paid to these with long-term bodily or medical circumstances that make finishing up on a regular basis duties tough.

Although PIP shouldn’t be means examined, funds are topic to evaluate. These critiques are sometimes traumatic experiences, generally requiring a medical evaluation to be carried out. They also can end in funds being stopped. 

The recipient, who struggles with psychological well being points which can be solely managed by robust epileptic medicine, went into meltdown as quickly as she learn the textual content. She suffered a panic assault and anxiousness points that ruined the festive day for her and her household.

At the time, I requested the DWP whether or not it thought it was applicable to ship out such an insensitive textual content on a key household day of the 12 months for thus many individuals. I additionally requested what number of texts it had despatched on Christmas Day notifying PIP claimants of impending critiques.

Festive spirit: According to the DWP, it sent 1,454 PIP award review texts on Christmas Day

Festive spirit: According to the DWP, it despatched 1,454 PIP award evaluate texts on Christmas Day

Its press workplace responded by saying that the data I had requested was not out there, apart from via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Insensitively, it provided no touch upon the poor timing of the textual content. Well, I made the FOI request and I lastly bought my solutions just a few days in the past. According to the DWP, it despatched 1,454 PIP award evaluate texts on Christmas Day.

Of these, 68 associated to an award coming to an finish, triggering an computerized evaluate. The remaining 1,386 have been a results of a reported change in an individual’s circumstances, once more requiring a fee evaluate. The reader’s textual content fell into the primary camp. While the FOI response didn’t present a defence of the tasteless Christmas texts, it mentioned that they have been for ‘info solely’ and required no quick motion from recipients.

It additionally mentioned all messages have been automated and despatched out in the course of the working week (Monday to Friday). It added: ‘There is at present no mechanism constructed into the PIP system to exclude messages being despatched on a selected date.’ In gentle of the Christmas Day misery the textual content brought about to our reader – and (little doubt) many different recipients – I feel it’s time for the DWP to reconfigure its ‘PIP system’. No PIP evaluate texts ought to ever exit on December 25, regardless of what day Christmas falls on.

As for our reader’s PIP evaluate, it trundles on. All related paperwork have been despatched to the DWP. Its determination is awaited.

Wise up about worth of safety insurance coverage

Protection insurance coverage, which offers a monetary consolation blanket within the occasion of great sickness, is each undersold and below purchased.

Whether it’s vital sickness cowl (which pays an agreed tax-free lump sum on a declare being profitable), earnings safety (which pays a daily stream of tax-free earnings) and even lavatory commonplace life insurance coverage, gross sales are pitifully low.

Why? Well, too few monetary advisers may be bothered to promote such cowl, preferring as an alternative to take care of wealthy folks’s investments and cost them hefty charges for the privilege of doing so.

Meanwhile, suppliers, a shy bunch, are far too reticent about selling the quilt – leading to a terrific chunk of the general public (younger and outdated) having no concept that monetary safety insurance coverage even exists. The results of all that is that far too many households are ill-equipped to cope with the monetary penalties of a breadwinner or home-maker struggling a critical sickness. 

In a nutshell, there’s a yawning hole between what households have monetary safety clever – and what they need to have. This moderately disturbing image is confirmed by an informative piece of client analysis simply revealed by CIExpert, an organization which specialises in evaluating the person deserves of vital sickness insurance policies provided by insurers.

CIExpert requested the general public – proper throughout the age spectrum, from Gen Z via to baby-boomers – a sequence of questions on monetary safety insurance coverage. The findings have been disturbing.

According to CIExpert, round two thirds of shoppers have by no means purchased a vital sickness coverage – or an earnings safety plan. Some 5 and 7 per cent respectively do not know whether or not they have or ever held such cowl. Misunderstanding about how cowl works is rife. For instance, almost one in 5 shoppers mistakenly imagine the proceeds of any profitable vital sickness declare should be used to repay a mortgage – whereas 19 per cent assume any payout is topic to tax (it is not).

Two-thirds of individuals are unaware that premiums are mounted for the time period of the coverage, which may be 30 or 35 years. Others are oblivious to the opposite advantages that cowl gives – for instance, free annual well being checks and entry to a second medical opinion. Protection insurance coverage needs to be a key a part of our monetary armoury – we merely do not know what’s lurking across the nook.

That’s extreme! Now Land Rover drivers hit with an additional extra

Jaguar Land Rover is moderately tetchy with insurance coverage corporations over the best way they’re ratcheting up premiums for drivers of its deluxe vehicles – and in some circumstances even refusing to cowl them.

The firm’s anger is comprehensible given the potential menace to gross sales. It additionally explains why the corporate has launched its personal insurance coverage cowl to maintain drivers candy.

Nigel Barker, a director of office sourcing firm Dennons UK, is experiencing the hardball strategy which many insurers are adopting to house owners of some JLR vehicles.

Anger: Jaguar Land Rover is rather tetchy with insurance companies over the way they are ratcheting up premiums for drivers of its deluxe cars

Anger: Jaguar Land Rover is moderately tetchy with insurance coverage corporations over the best way they’re ratcheting up premiums for drivers of its deluxe vehicles

He is on his fourth Land Rover – a three-year-old Discovery Sport – in 12 years and just lately instructed brokers to give you aggressive renewal quotes for it and a Mini Electric. Nigel – and his spouse Christy – use each vehicles of their household enterprise.

Price clever, Aviva got here out on prime, however there was a situation in its cowl that Nigel had by no means seen earlier than – a further theft extra (on prime of the £250 coverage extra), making use of particularly to any mannequin of Land Rover or Range Rover with a market worth of £25,000 or extra.

It states: ‘In the occasion of any lack of, or injury to, your car (together with its equipment and spare elements) attributable to theft, a further extra will apply to your declare, calculated as 5 per cent of the market worth of your car on the time of loss.’ For Nigel, that might end in a further extra of £1,750.

This additional extra has been included although Nigel’s automotive has benefited from a safety improve, lowering its vulnerability to theft.

‘I like Land Rover,’ says Nigel, who lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. ‘But this insurance coverage tirade towards the model is testing my love affair to the restrict.’

The greatest irony of all is that JLR’s insurance coverage firm was unable to supply Nigel with a quote for his Land Rover.

Stamp Duty ripe for reform 

Stampy Duty on home purchases is a tax ripe for reform – and in final Wednesday’s Money Mail we known as upon the Chancellor to take an axe to it in subsequent month’s Budget.

The tax is an obstacle to a correctly functioning housing market. It stops folks from transferring up the housing ladder as they progress via their working lives – and it deters householders from downsizing in later life. In distinction, a vibrant housing market is sweet for everybody – and an financial stimulant. Stamp Duty reform would assist obtain this.

If you agree – otherwise you or your kids have been thwarted from transferring by the prospect of a giant Stamp Duty invoice, please e-mail me at [email protected]. I’m all eyes and ears.