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Earlier this year, I reported how a young mother received an unwanted and unexpected text message on Christmas Day from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Sent at around 8am, it said his entitlement to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was being reviewed. The benefit is paid to those who suffer from long-term physical or medical conditions that make it difficult to perform daily tasks.
Although PIP is not means tested, payments are subject to review. These reviews are usually traumatic experiences, which sometimes require a medical evaluation. They can also cause payments to be suspended.
The recipient, who struggles with mental health problems that can only be controlled with strong epilepsy medications, went into crisis as soon as she read the text. She suffered a panic attack and anxiety problems that ruined the holiday for her and her family.
At the time, I asked the DWP whether they considered it appropriate to send such an insensitive text on a key family day of the year for so many people. I also asked how many text messages he had sent on Christmas Day notifying PIP applicants of impending reviews.
Festive spirit: According to the DWP, 1,454 PIP award review texts were sent on Christmas Day
His press office responded by saying that the information he had requested was not available except through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Callously, he made no comment on the poor timing of the text. Well, I made the FOI request and finally got my answers a few days ago. According to the DWP, it sent out 1,454 PIP award review texts on Christmas Day.
Of these, 68 concerned an award coming to an end, triggering an automatic review. The remaining 1,386 were the result of a reported change in a person’s circumstances, again requiring a payment review. The reader’s text fell into the first camp. While the FOI response did not defend the insipid Christmas texts, it said they were “for information only” and did not require any immediate action from the recipients.
It also said that all messages were automated and sent during the work week (Monday to Friday). He added: “There is currently no mechanism built into the PIP system to exclude messages that are sent on a specific date.” In light of the distress that the text on Christmas Day caused our reader – and (no doubt) many other recipients – I believe it is time for the DWP to reconfigure its ‘PIP system’. No PIP revision text should be published on December 25, regardless of Christmas Day.
As for our readers’ PIP review, continue. All relevant documents have been submitted to the DWP. Your decision is awaited.
Learn about the value of protection insurance
Protection insurance, which provides financial comfort in the event of serious illness, is undersold and underbought.
Whether critical illness cover (which pays an agreed lump sum tax-free if a claim is successful), income protection (which pays a regular stream of income tax-free) or even standard life insurance, sales are unfortunately low.
Because? Well, very few financial advisors can be bothered to sell that coverage, preferring instead to look after the investments of the wealthy and charge them high fees for the privilege of doing so.
Meanwhile, providers, a timid bunch, are too reticent to promote coverage, leaving a large portion of the public (young and old) unaware that financial protection insurance exists. The result of all this is that too many households are not prepared to deal with the financial consequences of the breadwinner or housewife suffering a serious illness.
Simply put, there is a huge gap between what households have in terms of financial protection and what they should have. This rather disturbing picture is confirmed by a consumer research briefing piece just published by CIExpert, a company that specializes in comparing the individual merits of critical illness policies offered by insurers.
CIExpert asked the audience (across the age spectrum, from Generation Z to baby boomers) a series of questions about financial protection insurance. The findings were disturbing.
According to CIExpert, around two-thirds of consumers have never purchased a critical illness policy or income protection plan. About five and seven percent, respectively, have no idea whether they have or have ever had such coverage. Misunderstandings abound about how coverage works. For example, nearly one in five consumers mistakenly believe that the proceeds of any successful critical illness claim should be used to pay a mortgage, while 19 percent think any payment is taxable (it is not).
Two-thirds of people are unaware that premiums are fixed for the duration of the policy, which can be 30 or 35 years. Others ignore the other benefits that the offers cover, for example, free annual check-ups and access to a second medical opinion. Protection insurance should be a key part of our financial arsenal; We simply don’t know what is lurking around the corner.
That’s excessive! Land Rover drivers now suffer an extra deductible
Jaguar Land Rover is quite testy with insurance companies for the way they are increasing premiums for drivers of its luxury cars and, in some cases, even refusing to cover them.
The company’s anger is understandable given the potential threat to sales. It also explains why the company has launched its own insurance coverage to keep drivers nice.
Nigel Barker, director of workplace supply company Dennons UK, is experiencing the tough approach many insurers are taking to owners of some JLR cars.
Anger: Jaguar Land Rover is quite irritated with insurance companies for the way they are increasing premiums for drivers of its luxury cars.
He is on his fourth Land Rover (a three-year-old Discovery Sport) in 12 years and recently instructed brokers to submit competitive refurbishment quotes for him and a Mini Electric. Nigel (and his wife Christy) use both cars in his family business.
On price, Aviva came out on top, but there was a condition to their cover that Nigel had never seen before: an additional theft excess (on top of the policy’s £250 excess), which applies specifically to any Land model Rover or Range Rover. with a market value of £25,000 or more.
It says: “In the event of loss or damage to your vehicle (including its accessories and spare parts) caused by theft, an additional excess will be applied to your claim, calculated as five per cent of the market value of your vehicle at the time of the incident. .» For Nigel, this would be an additional excess of £1,750.
This additional excess has been included even though Nigel’s car has benefited from a security upgrade, reducing its vulnerability to theft.
“I love Land Rover,” says Nigel, who lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. “But this insurance tirade against the brand is testing my love story to the limit.”
The biggest irony of all is that JLR’s insurance company was unable to provide Nigel with a quote for his Land Rover.
Stamp duty set for reform
Stamp duty on home purchases is a tax that is ripe for reform, and in last Wednesday’s Money Mail we called on the Chancellor to scrap it in next month’s budget.
The tax is an impediment for the real estate market to function properly. It prevents people from moving up the housing ladder as they move through their working lives, and discourages landlords from downsizing in the future. On the contrary, a vibrant real estate market is good for everyone and is an economic stimulant. Stamp duty reform would help achieve this.
If you agree, or if you or your children have been unable to move due to the prospect of a large stamp duty bill, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m all eyes and ears.
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