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Pip tribunal in 4 days time

dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
Hi
I have a pip tribunal in 4 days time. Panicking is an understatement. I was on dla high rate care and low rate mobility, I know pip is a different benefit to dla and different process, with the descriptors and all. When I received the assessment report I was shocked, it was like she was describing a different person and a different assessment, which in doing research seems the norm, such a messed up system that doesn't work.
My Gp wouldn't give me a report (practice policy) said if dwp would have to request it, which they didn't. The only evidence I could get was from two CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) stating my diagnosis, all mental health related and a letter from my carer and partner stating my daily living issue's. Does anyone know if this evidence would hold any weight with the tribunal? My condition is generalised anxiety disorder, social phobia, depression and specific phobias (all stated on the letter from my therapist).
Thanks in advance

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi dc2908,

    Thanks for getting in touch and I'm sorry about your experience. Unfortunately your appalling assessment is the norm, as you say, but I would consider complaining against the relevant assessment company. If you don't agree with statements in the report then being able to tell the tribunal you've complained can be helpful.

    Atos complaints - here

    Capita complaints - here

    I think the CBT statements would be helpful as they are from professionals and if all your conditions are mental-health related then it's completely relevant. You'll also find that the tribunal ask you lots of questions about what you can and cannot do, and may also ask you why you can't do things. You can take someone with you (eg your carer or partner, or both) but the tribunal will want to direct most of their questions at you.

    There will be a judge, a medically qualified panel member and a disability member (someone with experience of disability). The process is fairly informal, and the panel members are there to gain an overall picture of your ability in all the relevant activities. 

    It's worth saying that the diagnoses are less important than evidence about how your condition affects you. For example, I'd expect you to score points in engaging with people, one of the activities, from what you've said. It's worth thinking about which descriptor you think should apply in each activity, if you haven't done that already, and think about evidence to back it up (such as the letter from your carer & partner). Examples of times when you've struggled to do something or not been able to do something at all are always useful - be as specific as you can.

    The list of activities and points is here.

    If you've got more questions following this response, do post again - one of us will be here every day this week.

    Will

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    Thank you for your reply Will
    I sent in a submission. Under each descriptor I wrote how I struggle and why I can't do it. I also sent in a letter from my partner and carer stating my difficulties. My carer is also my appointee, she's the one who gets all my letters and is in charge of my benefits. In the report from the assessor it said because I'm able to drive (I don't own my own car, am on my mum's insurance and rarely drive, when I do drive someone has to be with me) and use a computer, they can't see why I need anymore points than the 4 I got for daily living. 
    Thanks again for your advice
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    dc2908,

    That is an awful assessment you have there even by most standards! The points should be an objective assessment of the struggles you have in your daily life. If the descriptors apply, then they apply. The assessor's conclusions are completely flawed. I do hope you complain as well.

    As you may already know unless you can do something repeatedly, to an acceptable standard, in a reasonable time frame (not more than twice as long as someone without your condition) and safely, then you should not be considered able to do it. So examples of times you've taken ages to do something, or not been able to do it more than once, or examples of relevant activities you can't do it without help due to the risks involved - all these are helpful.

    I'm hopeful the tribunal will make a good decision based on the letters and your own oral evidence. You've done exactly the right thing with your submission. It's  shame: some GPs are really helpful with appeals, and some are not.

    Do let us know how things turn out and good luck.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Chubb1Chubb1 Member Posts: 2 Listener
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    Hi all.
    Thought I'd update you all. Had my pip appeal 2 days ago, the tribunal was running late, couldn't give me decision there and then. So had to wait 2 days for the letter to arrive. Very long 2 days. Anyway I was awarded 14 points for daily living  (enhanced) and to my surprise 12 points for mobility (enhanced) thanks for all the positive messages. Hopefully they don't appeal it. 
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Well done, @dc2908!

    Tribunals are impartial and make decisions based on facts; they have no agenda unlike the DWP, of course, whose purpose is to award as few points as possible based on assessors' lies and incompetence.

    DWP can only appeal if there has been an error of law - and this is rare.
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    @Matilda
    Thanks. I just don't trust the dwp. I'm over the moon with the decision though. Thanks for your support aswell 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi dc2908,

    I'm so pleased for you! DWP do appeal tribunal decisions a bit more often than they used to, so it's as well to be cautious, but it's still pretty rare as Matilda says.

    Meanwhile, your result is fantastic. Well done. It's much harder for people who don't have lots of documentary evidence from a GP etc but always good to remember that a tribunal will take your own evidence, including what you say about your condition, as seriously as anything else.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    Well today I received a letter from dwp saying they are requesting a statement of reason and they are looking to appeal. I know they have to find an error of law, but I'm absolutely exhausted with this. I was so happy that I won my tribunal, now it seems like a big kick in the teeth. 
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi dc2908
    Sorry to hear this. But the DWP will have to find an error of law in the statement of reasons before they can appeal.

    What made you suspect that the might be looking to appeal?

  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    @Matilda Is this not the standard letter that everyone gets after an Appeal? @dc2908 try not to worry too much, so many people have posted about similar letters being received but not only do DWP have to find an error in law they then have to go on and win their Appeal against what is nearly always a perfectly legal award given by a Tribunal judge who knows the law far better than DWP.   
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @wildlife

    I don't know if everyone receives a standard letter from DWP saying they're going to ask for a statement of reasons with a view to appeal.  My hearing was a week before @dc2908's and I haven't received such a letter yet.  But, of course, it's still possible I might!

    @dc2908 - was there a DWP rep at your hearing?
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    @Matilda @wildlife
    There was nobody from dwp at the tribunal. I was looking up the chances of the dwp asking for a statement of reasons before I went to the tribunal and it seems alot of people have been receiving letters after the hearing stating they were going to ask for sor, especially for mental health. I was hoping I would be lucky enough not to be one of the people they CHOOSE. @Matilda I think you would have heard by now if they were going to do it to you, they have 28 days to submit a statement of reasons. I did read somewhere dwp are doing it for statistics I.e, get 100 statement of reasons and choose 1 that is likely to be able to go to appeal. Using ill people for training purposes
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @dc2908

    The DWP are causing unnecessary distress to sick people, as you say, because the main purpose of PIP is to try to force people off benefits.  But just because they have asked for an SOR in your case doesn't mean they'll find any legal grounds.  I understand that this is rare.

    I have received my new award letter today.  However, it states that I have only been awarded PIP until Nov 2021 whereas my tribunal decision notice states that it is inappropriate to fix a term.  Phoned DWP who said that this might just be an oversight and they are getting a case worker to phone me back.

    What the DWP lack in malice they compensate for in incompetence!

    Oh for a change of government soon - and a reform of PIP!
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    @Matilda Is oversight their word for deliberate mistake? If no timescale was put on your award someone had to have made up 2021. It's not like copying other figures from your award and getting one number wrong. It seems even when you think the battle is over they still try to minimize what you've got. Hope you can sort it out quickly and get back what you had...
     
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @wildlife

    My original award was until 2021 which the tribunal changed to no end date.  DWP caseworker has phoned me back and told me that the person who sent out new award letter mistakenly just copied over the previous end date from original letter.  DWP just don't train their clerks adequately.

    Upshot: caseworker has told me there is no end date to my award but that even no end date awards are reviewed after 10 years
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    Hi all,
    Thought I would update.
    Maybe a bit of a long post but wanted to go through what happened after receiving my statement of reasons, in case anybody needs to know what can happen and the process.
    I received my statement of reasons after 6 weeks of the dwp requesting it. Everything seemed to look right, no errors of law seen by the CAB advisor.
    Now the dwp left me waiting anxiously, phone calls to them asking for an update were met by rudeness or "we have no update on your case". So I got my local mp involved ( Labour ). He got in contact with them, he still wasn't getting any update either.
    My last phone call to the DWP ( a week before there time ran out to appeal ) I was told that the decision maker would possibly be able to appeal the mobility 1f descriptor. I asked on what error of law and was told that basically they could play around with it and find something and there actual words "if the judge denies us we won't care and we'll go to utt anyway".
    Low and behold, two days later had a phone call from DWP saying "the decision maker has accepted the tribunal decision and your money will be in your account within the next 5 days. I have no idea what they get out of scaring people like that, there was no need for them to say we're probably going to appeal and then two days later telling me they're not.
    Moral if the story, don't trust anything anyone tells you at the DWP, it is a shambles. I don't know if getting my MP involved helped or not, but anyone going through this, there is no harm getting an MP involved, especially if they're an opposition party. From start to finish this has gone on for 10 month's. I'm glad it's finally over and can het back to life.
    I would like to thank everyone on here who gave me advice. And to anyone who's going through this process, don't give up.
  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Member Posts: 1,114 Pioneering
    Thanks for the insight and advice, @dc2908. I'm sorry to hear about all the problems you had with the tribunal, but I'm glad the decision was accepted. Congratulations!
    Liam
  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
  • ourvoicesourvoices Member Posts: 47 Connected
    edited August 2017

    Hi @dc2908,

    That is really helpful to know (and to be made aware of).  How can the DWP say (in their own documentation) that PIP is there to help people with disabilities live full, active and independent lives when they are putting some of us through this kind of additional stress and leaving people without the benefits they are entitled to?

    I applaud anyone who manages to stay sane through this process and doesn't give up, despite all the hurdles that get put in the way.  

    A massive congratulations too.

  • dc2908dc2908 Member Posts: 20 Connected
    @ourvoices thank you 
    It baffles me how they can get away with it.
    They say each case is different and fair. There is way to many stories/incidents for this to be a fair system. Even the UN said it's unlawful.
    Again thank you
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