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Bad tribunal experience

dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
edited January 14 in PIP, DLA and AA
hello! I’m new here, so sorry if I’ve done anything wrong. Also sorry for it being so long and rambling, I’m a bit all over the place. I just got back my my PIP appeal tribunal and it was pretty awful. 

For a bit of context, I have EDS (hypermobility type), chronic fatigue, anxiety and colitis. I was awarded DLA indefinitely at the lower care rate about 10 years ago when I was a minor. When it moved over to PIP, I had another assessment as my condition had gotten a lot worse and as I was now older and needed to support myself more, I needed more help. When I had this assessment the women was so awful, she gave me 0 points for everything (despite medical evidence to show I’d had no improvement) and said she didn’t believe I didn’t go out with my friends because I was “pretty” and “dressed well”. I was such a bad state mentally after that we didn’t take it to tribunal. 

Recebtly, in 2017 we applied again (as once again, my condition got worse, I’d injured myself badly several times attempting to work full time and part time). this time I was short by 3/4 points or so. However, when we got the notes back from the assessment, the woman had completely lied and written things that were untrue. For example, I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided. I need help off the toilet/out the bath, but she again awarded no points saying I could do those things alone fine. I also explained how someone else was responsible for my medication, prompted and reminded me to take it, and gave it to me (with the fatigue, I’m in and out of sleep constantly and can never remember what I have/haven’t taken and have overdosed in the past when attempting to administer my own medication, which we told her) yet, she awarded 0 points, saying I could take it without aid.

so, this time, we went to the tribunal, at first it was adjourned due to no evidence from DLA about when they stopped it in the first place, judge said we’d have to wait for them to provide it, but they never did. so, we got a new date, which I just got back from, and I don’t think it went well at all. 

Firstly, they made no mention of the original claim (despite this being the reason it was adjourned) and made no mention of half the descriptors we were appealing. She told me only I was allowed to speak, that my mother (who’s my appointee) couldn’t help me answer or speak at all, despite me having bad anxiety and not feeling comfortable talking. They asked so many irrelevant questions, such as what GCSEs I got, things about which games console I prefer, (and they were writing the answers down, so wasn’t just small talk). The disability awareness woman (sorry, I don’t know the actual term) was really unfriendly too. She asked why I needed help from a person when I had a grab rail in the bath. I explained I get dizzy and faint from low blood pressure as well as dislocating when changing position so I have a person there to help, to which she shook her head, told me that was what grab rails were for, and that she couldn’t see why I needed help from a person and rolled her eyes. This made me feel so awful. 

She also continuousely asked me leading questions. For example, when she spoke about medication, she asked when I took my Tremadol, I explained that as/when I felt in pain. She said “okay so, you can take all your medication fine, yes?” And went to write it down. I explained no, that someone else helps, and she said “well, why? you take it when your in pain, so why do you need somebody else to tell you when your in pain”. I was so distraught at this point and tried to explain that I wasn’t JUST staking tremadol, and was also on 4 other medications a day, and those have a set routine I have to follow. She just shook her head and sighed. 

There were several different occasions where she made similar leading questions and I felt she was trying to trick me. I explained how my partner helped me by preparing/cooking my food, helping my in and out the shower etc and had gone from full time to part time to help with this. She said “well why couldn’t he just do that after work” suggesting I just lay in bed and not eat or bathe until 7pm each day. 

I felt belittled the entire time and like like they were constantly trying to lead my answers a certain way.  I have no hope of getting any kind of successful outcome to this. Is there anything I can do if that’s the case? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options and despite the 300+ pages of evidence, they will still say no. 

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 11,814Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Were you awarded PIP by the Tribunal? or are you waiting for a decision?
  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    Hi,

    Were you awarded PIP by the Tribunal? or are you waiting for a decision?
    Still waiting. They said they’d send it via post.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 11,814Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Usually they write to you quite quickly. No one can tell you what your chances are unfortunately. If it's not the decision you're happy with then you need to request the statement of reasons and record of proceedings within 1 month of the date of the decision. Good luck.
  • briancharles5612briancharles5612 Posts: 22Member Listener
    We went to one last week was horrific and were probed continually but we won. Can never tell. Just hoping DWP don’t challenge. Hard to judge how it goes on the day, So fingers crossed.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 3,384Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    dh97 said:
    hello! I’m new here, so sorry if I’ve done anything wrong. Also sorry for it being so long and rambling, I’m a bit all over the place. I just got back my my PIP appeal tribunal and it was pretty awful. 

    For a bit of context, I have EDS (hypermobility type), chronic fatigue, anxiety and colitis. I was awarded DLA indefinitely at the lower care rate about 10 years ago when I was a minor. When it moved over to PIP, I had another assessment as my condition had gotten a lot worse and as I was now older and needed to support myself more, I needed more help. When I had this assessment the women was so awful, she gave me 0 points for everything (despite medical evidence to show I’d had no improvement) and said she didn’t believe I didn’t go out with my friends because I was “pretty” and “dressed well”. I was such a bad state mentally after that we didn’t take it to tribunal. 

    Recebtly, in 2017 we applied again (as once again, my condition got worse, I’d injured myself badly several times attempting to work full time and part time). this time I was short by 3/4 points or so. However, when we got the notes back from the assessment, the woman had completely lied and written things that were untrue. For example, I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided. I need help off the toilet/out the bath, but she again awarded no points saying I could do those things alone fine. I also explained how someone else was responsible for my medication, prompted and reminded me to take it, and gave it to me (with the fatigue, I’m in and out of sleep constantly and can never remember what I have/haven’t taken and have overdosed in the past when attempting to administer my own medication, which we told her) yet, she awarded 0 points, saying I could take it without aid.

    so, this time, we went to the tribunal, at first it was adjourned due to no evidence from DLA about when they stopped it in the first place, judge said we’d have to wait for them to provide it, but they never did. so, we got a new date, which I just got back from, and I don’t think it went well at all. 

    Firstly, they made no mention of the original claim (despite this being the reason it was adjourned) and made no mention of half the descriptors we were appealing. She told me only I was allowed to speak, that my mother (who’s my appointee) couldn’t help me answer or speak at all, despite me having bad anxiety and not feeling comfortable talking. They asked so many irrelevant questions, such as what GCSEs I got, things about which games console I prefer, (and they were writing the answers down, so wasn’t just small talk). The disability awareness woman (sorry, I don’t know the actual term) was really unfriendly too. She asked why I needed help from a person when I had a grab rail in the bath. I explained I get dizzy and faint from low blood pressure as well as dislocating when changing position so I have a person there to help, to which she shook her head, told me that was what grab rails were for, and that she couldn’t see why I needed help from a person and rolled her eyes. This made me feel so awful. 

    She also continuousely asked me leading questions. For example, when she spoke about medication, she asked when I took my Tremadol, I explained that as/when I felt in pain. She said “okay so, you can take all your medication fine, yes?” And went to write it down. I explained no, that someone else helps, and she said “well, why? you take it when your in pain, so why do you need somebody else to tell you when your in pain”. I was so distraught at this point and tried to explain that I wasn’t JUST staking tremadol, and was also on 4 other medications a day, and those have a set routine I have to follow. She just shook her head and sighed. 

    There were several different occasions where she made similar leading questions and I felt she was trying to trick me. I explained how my partner helped me by preparing/cooking my food, helping my in and out the shower etc and had gone from full time to part time to help with this. She said “well why couldn’t he just do that after work” suggesting I just lay in bed and not eat or bathe until 7pm each day. 

    I felt belittled the entire time and like like they were constantly trying to lead my answers a certain way.  I have no hope of getting any kind of successful outcome to this. Is there anything I can do if that’s the case? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options and despite the 300+ pages of evidence, they will still say no. 
    Sorry you felt it was a bad experience. Let me explain some aspects of it. I’m assuming you were unrepresented?

    Recent case law says that if you were a DLA conversion case then the PIP 1 form should at minimum be in the appeal papers and, if that shows you asked for your DLA evidence to be taken into account when converting, then your DLA evidence should be in your PIP papers. However, more recent case law has said that the need for it really depends on whether the PIP activities you were claiming for overlapped with the DLA rules. So, your first tribunal adjourned to comply with the first caselaw and your second one concluded it wasn’t wholly necessary. They’re allowed to do that but their decision should fully explain why that else there’s a potential error of law. 

    On the other hand you knew what the first tribunal asked for and, if you thought it relevant, you should have asked for a further adjournment to force the issue with DWP. You’re a participant in a hearing not a passenger would be one way of putting it.

    Are you sure your mother is your appointee? Was there evidence of that in the papers? A recent decision - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/appointment-to-act-for-child-dla-recipient-when-invited-to-transfer-to-pi - makes very clear that child appointments don’t automatically become adult ones unless they were “unable to act” appointments. Please clarify why you think your Mum is your appointee. 

    An appointeeship is in respect of being unable to handle their own financial affairs only and when combined with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act (where there’s a presumption of capacity unless evidenced otherwise) that means the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you questions directly about your health as it’s no evidence you’re not capable of answering because appointeeship is not evidence of that.

    There are no irrelevant or trick questions at a tribunal. They have 45 minutes to hear evidence; find facts and apply the law to those facts. It’s a tough ask. Some questions can instantly cover multiple activities e.g. a GCSE question covers reading, cooking, budgeting for starters. The games console one covers reading, taking nutrition and so on e.g, if you can handle a controller what’s the problem with a knife and fork!

    The disability qualified member has practical experience of disability. Leading questions are not acceptable but are often used as a way of telling you your evidence is insufficient it detailed or misdirected. It’s a mugs game trying to read a tribunal. Most are trying to help you to help yourself and it’s easy to mistake persistence for aggression.

    The fact you had 300 pages of evidence is of concern and makes the GCSE type questions more likely as tracking through all that gives less time to ask stuff. No PIP appeal needs 300 pages of evidence. For future reference you rarely need more than one medical report or letter per condition and your focus is better directed to anecdotal examples of what incidents have occurred when you tried to do a specific activity. 
  • cristobalcristobal Posts: 571Member Pioneering

    I agree with @mikehughesscq - 300 pages of evidence is too much and would take several hours to read. Far better to make your point as concisely as you can and back it up with good examples.

    I think that you might have made the same mistake as I did which is not having a clear idea of what the descriptors mean which will make your evidence difficult to present.

    For example, you say that,

    “I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided.”

    According to the DWP guidelines  “cooking” means cooking above waist height (taking food out of the oven is specifically excluded), and does not include serving food/eating it. So two examples you give are not relevant. I’d also expand on your inability to open jars. Is this to do with your grip? Can you use a tin opener? Chop vegetables?

    In my case I found it really helpful to study the descriptors closely and then choose evidence to match.

    I hope things go well for you…




  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    dh97 said:
    hello! I’m new here, so sorry if I’ve done anything wrong. Also sorry for it being so long and rambling, I’m a bit all over the place. I just got back my my PIP appeal tribunal and it was pretty awful. 

    For a bit of context, I have EDS (hypermobility type), chronic fatigue, anxiety and colitis. I was awarded DLA indefinitely at the lower care rate about 10 years ago when I was a minor. When it moved over to PIP, I had another assessment as my condition had gotten a lot worse and as I was now older and needed to support myself more, I needed more help. When I had this assessment the women was so awful, she gave me 0 points for everything (despite medical evidence to show I’d had no improvement) and said she didn’t believe I didn’t go out with my friends because I was “pretty” and “dressed well”. I was such a bad state mentally after that we didn’t take it to tribunal. 

    Recebtly, in 2017 we applied again (as once again, my condition got worse, I’d injured myself badly several times attempting to work full time and part time). this time I was short by 3/4 points or so. However, when we got the notes back from the assessment, the woman had completely lied and written things that were untrue. For example, I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided. I need help off the toilet/out the bath, but she again awarded no points saying I could do those things alone fine. I also explained how someone else was responsible for my medication, prompted and reminded me to take it, and gave it to me (with the fatigue, I’m in and out of sleep constantly and can never remember what I have/haven’t taken and have overdosed in the past when attempting to administer my own medication, which we told her) yet, she awarded 0 points, saying I could take it without aid.

    so, this time, we went to the tribunal, at first it was adjourned due to no evidence from DLA about when they stopped it in the first place, judge said we’d have to wait for them to provide it, but they never did. so, we got a new date, which I just got back from, and I don’t think it went well at all. 

    Firstly, they made no mention of the original claim (despite this being the reason it was adjourned) and made no mention of half the descriptors we were appealing. She told me only I was allowed to speak, that my mother (who’s my appointee) couldn’t help me answer or speak at all, despite me having bad anxiety and not feeling comfortable talking. They asked so many irrelevant questions, such as what GCSEs I got, things about which games console I prefer, (and they were writing the answers down, so wasn’t just small talk). The disability awareness woman (sorry, I don’t know the actual term) was really unfriendly too. She asked why I needed help from a person when I had a grab rail in the bath. I explained I get dizzy and faint from low blood pressure as well as dislocating when changing position so I have a person there to help, to which she shook her head, told me that was what grab rails were for, and that she couldn’t see why I needed help from a person and rolled her eyes. This made me feel so awful. 

    She also continuousely asked me leading questions. For example, when she spoke about medication, she asked when I took my Tremadol, I explained that as/when I felt in pain. She said “okay so, you can take all your medication fine, yes?” And went to write it down. I explained no, that someone else helps, and she said “well, why? you take it when your in pain, so why do you need somebody else to tell you when your in pain”. I was so distraught at this point and tried to explain that I wasn’t JUST staking tremadol, and was also on 4 other medications a day, and those have a set routine I have to follow. She just shook her head and sighed. 

    There were several different occasions where she made similar leading questions and I felt she was trying to trick me. I explained how my partner helped me by preparing/cooking my food, helping my in and out the shower etc and had gone from full time to part time to help with this. She said “well why couldn’t he just do that after work” suggesting I just lay in bed and not eat or bathe until 7pm each day. 

    I felt belittled the entire time and like like they were constantly trying to lead my answers a certain way.  I have no hope of getting any kind of successful outcome to this. Is there anything I can do if that’s the case? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options and despite the 300+ pages of evidence, they will still say no. 
    Sorry you felt it was a bad experience. Let me explain some aspects of it. I’m assuming you were unrepresented?

    Recent case law says that if you were a DLA conversion case then the PIP 1 form should at minimum be in the appeal papers and, if that shows you asked for your DLA evidence to be taken into account when converting, then your DLA evidence should be in your PIP papers. However, more recent case law has said that the need for it really depends on whether the PIP activities you were claiming for overlapped with the DLA rules. So, your first tribunal adjourned to comply with the first caselaw and your second one concluded it wasn’t wholly necessary. They’re allowed to do that but their decision should fully explain why that else there’s a potential error of law. 

    On the other hand you knew what the first tribunal asked for and, if you thought it relevant, you should have asked for a further adjournment to force the issue with DWP. You’re a participant in a hearing not a passenger would be one way of putting it.

    Are you sure your mother is your appointee? Was there evidence of that in the papers? A recent decision - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/appointment-to-act-for-child-dla-recipient-when-invited-to-transfer-to-pi - makes very clear that child appointments don’t automatically become adult ones unless they were “unable to act” appointments. Please clarify why you think your Mum is your appointee. 

    An appointeeship is in respect of being unable to handle their own financial affairs only and when combined with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act (where there’s a presumption of capacity unless evidenced otherwise) that means the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you questions directly about your health as it’s no evidence you’re not capable of answering because appointeeship is not evidence of that.

    There are no irrelevant or trick questions at a tribunal. They have 45 minutes to hear evidence; find facts and apply the law to those facts. It’s a tough ask. Some questions can instantly cover multiple activities e.g. a GCSE question covers reading, cooking, budgeting for starters. The games console one covers reading, taking nutrition and so on e.g, if you can handle a controller what’s the problem with a knife and fork!

    The disability qualified member has practical experience of disability. Leading questions are not acceptable but are often used as a way of telling you your evidence is insufficient it detailed or misdirected. It’s a mugs game trying to read a tribunal. Most are trying to help you to help yourself and it’s easy to mistake persistence for aggression.

    The fact you had 300 pages of evidence is of concern and makes the GCSE type questions more likely as tracking through all that gives less time to ask stuff. No PIP appeal needs 300 pages of evidence. For future reference you rarely need more than one medical report or letter per condition and your focus is better directed to anecdotal examples of what incidents have occurred when you tried to do a specific activity. 


    Thanks for your response.

    First of all, yes, she’s the appointee, all paperwork/correspondence goes to her, and everything is dealt with via her. The DWP clarified that she was the appointee in the tribunal also.

    As for the pages of evidence, this is because the first time round they said there was a gap in my medical records and needed more, they requested access to my records, and then we received at 300+ page tribunal bundle from the court. They were the ones who wanted the entirety of my medical records. 

    As for the cooking and such, she asked specifically about the oven, so that is why I answered about the oven. The problem with jars/cutting/mixing is my wrists are too weak/dislocate easily, and I cannot do it, especially without being in pain for hours and hours afterwards. The same with the games console, I don’t see the connection, I never said I couldn’t take nutrition, just that I needed help cutting things, due to my wrists, an action that isn’t really comparable to moving your thumbs on a controller.  

    As for the GCSEs, mine were all theoretical and didn’t involve cooking or any real kind of movement. So I didn’t see the relevance. I never disbuted my ability to read or understand things. 

    And i can appreciate that they were being persistent, but rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me doesn’t fall under persistence for me haha. 


  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    cristobal said:

    I agree with @mikehughesscq - 300 pages of evidence is too much and would take several hours to read. Far better to make your point as concisely as you can and back it up with good examples.

    I think that you might have made the same mistake as I did which is not having a clear idea of what the descriptors mean which will make your evidence difficult to present.

    For example, you say that,

    “I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided.”

    According to the DWP guidelines  “cooking” means cooking above waist height (taking food out of the oven is specifically excluded), and does not include serving food/eating it. So two examples you give are not relevant. I’d also expand on your inability to open jars. Is this to do with your grip? Can you use a tin opener? Chop vegetables?

    In my case I found it really helpful to study the descriptors closely and then choose evidence to match.

    I hope things go well for you…




    Think I ended up replying to both yours and the above question in the same reply. My bad! 

    But yeah, the oven thing I only mentioned because she specifically asked. And cutting/opening tins/mixing and things like that are due to weakness, pain and dislocations in my wrists. I told them this too! 
  • miilreefmiilreef Posts: 21Member Connected
    So sorry it was a horrible experience. I too have hEDS and understand the difficulties. I really hope you receive good news from the tribunal.
    What your condition is is irrelevant to the assessor who are only interested in the descriptors but it isn’t irrelevant to you when trying to explain how you meet the criteria. I read your explanation and get it immediately. You have wrists like mine, subluxations and dislocations doing things people take for granted, then repeated injuries mess up those joints for ever.
    If you end up back at square one, which I really hope you don’t, then feel free to message me and I will help all I can having been through all of it myself.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 3,384Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    dh97 said:
    dh97 said:
    hello! I’m new here, so sorry if I’ve done anything wrong. Also sorry for it being so long and rambling, I’m a bit all over the place. I just got back my my PIP appeal tribunal and it was pretty awful. 

    For a bit of context, I have EDS (hypermobility type), chronic fatigue, anxiety and colitis. I was awarded DLA indefinitely at the lower care rate about 10 years ago when I was a minor. When it moved over to PIP, I had another assessment as my condition had gotten a lot worse and as I was now older and needed to support myself more, I needed more help. When I had this assessment the women was so awful, she gave me 0 points for everything (despite medical evidence to show I’d had no improvement) and said she didn’t believe I didn’t go out with my friends because I was “pretty” and “dressed well”. I was such a bad state mentally after that we didn’t take it to tribunal. 

    Recebtly, in 2017 we applied again (as once again, my condition got worse, I’d injured myself badly several times attempting to work full time and part time). this time I was short by 3/4 points or so. However, when we got the notes back from the assessment, the woman had completely lied and written things that were untrue. For example, I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided. I need help off the toilet/out the bath, but she again awarded no points saying I could do those things alone fine. I also explained how someone else was responsible for my medication, prompted and reminded me to take it, and gave it to me (with the fatigue, I’m in and out of sleep constantly and can never remember what I have/haven’t taken and have overdosed in the past when attempting to administer my own medication, which we told her) yet, she awarded 0 points, saying I could take it without aid.

    so, this time, we went to the tribunal, at first it was adjourned due to no evidence from DLA about when they stopped it in the first place, judge said we’d have to wait for them to provide it, but they never did. so, we got a new date, which I just got back from, and I don’t think it went well at all. 

    Firstly, they made no mention of the original claim (despite this being the reason it was adjourned) and made no mention of half the descriptors we were appealing. She told me only I was allowed to speak, that my mother (who’s my appointee) couldn’t help me answer or speak at all, despite me having bad anxiety and not feeling comfortable talking. They asked so many irrelevant questions, such as what GCSEs I got, things about which games console I prefer, (and they were writing the answers down, so wasn’t just small talk). The disability awareness woman (sorry, I don’t know the actual term) was really unfriendly too. She asked why I needed help from a person when I had a grab rail in the bath. I explained I get dizzy and faint from low blood pressure as well as dislocating when changing position so I have a person there to help, to which she shook her head, told me that was what grab rails were for, and that she couldn’t see why I needed help from a person and rolled her eyes. This made me feel so awful. 

    She also continuousely asked me leading questions. For example, when she spoke about medication, she asked when I took my Tremadol, I explained that as/when I felt in pain. She said “okay so, you can take all your medication fine, yes?” And went to write it down. I explained no, that someone else helps, and she said “well, why? you take it when your in pain, so why do you need somebody else to tell you when your in pain”. I was so distraught at this point and tried to explain that I wasn’t JUST staking tremadol, and was also on 4 other medications a day, and those have a set routine I have to follow. She just shook her head and sighed. 

    There were several different occasions where she made similar leading questions and I felt she was trying to trick me. I explained how my partner helped me by preparing/cooking my food, helping my in and out the shower etc and had gone from full time to part time to help with this. She said “well why couldn’t he just do that after work” suggesting I just lay in bed and not eat or bathe until 7pm each day. 

    I felt belittled the entire time and like like they were constantly trying to lead my answers a certain way.  I have no hope of getting any kind of successful outcome to this. Is there anything I can do if that’s the case? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options and despite the 300+ pages of evidence, they will still say no. 
    Sorry you felt it was a bad experience. Let me explain some aspects of it. I’m assuming you were unrepresented?

    Recent case law says that if you were a DLA conversion case then the PIP 1 form should at minimum be in the appeal papers and, if that shows you asked for your DLA evidence to be taken into account when converting, then your DLA evidence should be in your PIP papers. However, more recent case law has said that the need for it really depends on whether the PIP activities you were claiming for overlapped with the DLA rules. So, your first tribunal adjourned to comply with the first caselaw and your second one concluded it wasn’t wholly necessary. They’re allowed to do that but their decision should fully explain why that else there’s a potential error of law. 

    On the other hand you knew what the first tribunal asked for and, if you thought it relevant, you should have asked for a further adjournment to force the issue with DWP. You’re a participant in a hearing not a passenger would be one way of putting it.

    Are you sure your mother is your appointee? Was there evidence of that in the papers? A recent decision - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/appointment-to-act-for-child-dla-recipient-when-invited-to-transfer-to-pi - makes very clear that child appointments don’t automatically become adult ones unless they were “unable to act” appointments. Please clarify why you think your Mum is your appointee. 

    An appointeeship is in respect of being unable to handle their own financial affairs only and when combined with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act (where there’s a presumption of capacity unless evidenced otherwise) that means the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you questions directly about your health as it’s no evidence you’re not capable of answering because appointeeship is not evidence of that.

    There are no irrelevant or trick questions at a tribunal. They have 45 minutes to hear evidence; find facts and apply the law to those facts. It’s a tough ask. Some questions can instantly cover multiple activities e.g. a GCSE question covers reading, cooking, budgeting for starters. The games console one covers reading, taking nutrition and so on e.g, if you can handle a controller what’s the problem with a knife and fork!

    The disability qualified member has practical experience of disability. Leading questions are not acceptable but are often used as a way of telling you your evidence is insufficient it detailed or misdirected. It’s a mugs game trying to read a tribunal. Most are trying to help you to help yourself and it’s easy to mistake persistence for aggression.

    The fact you had 300 pages of evidence is of concern and makes the GCSE type questions more likely as tracking through all that gives less time to ask stuff. No PIP appeal needs 300 pages of evidence. For future reference you rarely need more than one medical report or letter per condition and your focus is better directed to anecdotal examples of what incidents have occurred when you tried to do a specific activity. 


    Thanks for your response.

    First of all, yes, she’s the appointee, all paperwork/correspondence goes to her, and everything is dealt with via her. The DWP clarified that she was the appointee in the tribunal also.

    As for the pages of evidence, this is because the first time round they said there was a gap in my medical records and needed more, they requested access to my records, and then we received at 300+ page tribunal bundle from the court. They were the ones who wanted the entirety of my medical records. 

    As for the cooking and such, she asked specifically about the oven, so that is why I answered about the oven. The problem with jars/cutting/mixing is my wrists are too weak/dislocate easily, and I cannot do it, especially without being in pain for hours and hours afterwards. The same with the games console, I don’t see the connection, I never said I couldn’t take nutrition, just that I needed help cutting things, due to my wrists, an action that isn’t really comparable to moving your thumbs on a controller.  

    As for the GCSEs, mine were all theoretical and didn’t involve cooking or any real kind of movement. So I didn’t see the relevance. I never disbuted my ability to read or understand things. 

    And i can appreciate that they were being persistent, but rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me doesn’t fall under persistence for me haha. 


    She can only be the appointee then if you’re mentally incapable of handling your own financial affairs. Thus the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you health questions. That would only be different if she had something like a power of attorney. 

    300 pages of medical records is ludicrous but clearly not your fault. Previous tribunal should have directed themselves to only recent records. That said, it does suggest that the new tribunal felt no need to direct themselves to DLA evidence precisely because they did now have all the other stuff. Bottom line though in a tribunal os that if you’re unhappy in a tribunal the onus is on you to say so.

    I was giving examples of how certain questions work and not durecrkt relating them to your case. That said there is strong research which suggests that the action of gripping a games controller is exactly analogous to gripping utensils in terms of pressure/tension so I can see where they were coming from there.

    Wholly agree that eye rolling and head shaking are inappropriate but the other side of that is that we’re talking about a disability qualofied tribunal member and many of them are in fact disabled. It is entirely possible for example to interpret something like Nystagmus as eye rolling etc. so I wouldn’t read anything into that until you’ve an outcome. 
  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    dh97 said:
    dh97 said:
    hello! I’m new here, so sorry if I’ve done anything wrong. Also sorry for it being so long and rambling, I’m a bit all over the place. I just got back my my PIP appeal tribunal and it was pretty awful. 

    For a bit of context, I have EDS (hypermobility type), chronic fatigue, anxiety and colitis. I was awarded DLA indefinitely at the lower care rate about 10 years ago when I was a minor. When it moved over to PIP, I had another assessment as my condition had gotten a lot worse and as I was now older and needed to support myself more, I needed more help. When I had this assessment the women was so awful, she gave me 0 points for everything (despite medical evidence to show I’d had no improvement) and said she didn’t believe I didn’t go out with my friends because I was “pretty” and “dressed well”. I was such a bad state mentally after that we didn’t take it to tribunal. 

    Recebtly, in 2017 we applied again (as once again, my condition got worse, I’d injured myself badly several times attempting to work full time and part time). this time I was short by 3/4 points or so. However, when we got the notes back from the assessment, the woman had completely lied and written things that were untrue. For example, I need somebody else to cut up food for me, open jars, get food out the oven, yet she wrote I could cook unaided. I need help off the toilet/out the bath, but she again awarded no points saying I could do those things alone fine. I also explained how someone else was responsible for my medication, prompted and reminded me to take it, and gave it to me (with the fatigue, I’m in and out of sleep constantly and can never remember what I have/haven’t taken and have overdosed in the past when attempting to administer my own medication, which we told her) yet, she awarded 0 points, saying I could take it without aid.

    so, this time, we went to the tribunal, at first it was adjourned due to no evidence from DLA about when they stopped it in the first place, judge said we’d have to wait for them to provide it, but they never did. so, we got a new date, which I just got back from, and I don’t think it went well at all. 

    Firstly, they made no mention of the original claim (despite this being the reason it was adjourned) and made no mention of half the descriptors we were appealing. She told me only I was allowed to speak, that my mother (who’s my appointee) couldn’t help me answer or speak at all, despite me having bad anxiety and not feeling comfortable talking. They asked so many irrelevant questions, such as what GCSEs I got, things about which games console I prefer, (and they were writing the answers down, so wasn’t just small talk). The disability awareness woman (sorry, I don’t know the actual term) was really unfriendly too. She asked why I needed help from a person when I had a grab rail in the bath. I explained I get dizzy and faint from low blood pressure as well as dislocating when changing position so I have a person there to help, to which she shook her head, told me that was what grab rails were for, and that she couldn’t see why I needed help from a person and rolled her eyes. This made me feel so awful. 

    She also continuousely asked me leading questions. For example, when she spoke about medication, she asked when I took my Tremadol, I explained that as/when I felt in pain. She said “okay so, you can take all your medication fine, yes?” And went to write it down. I explained no, that someone else helps, and she said “well, why? you take it when your in pain, so why do you need somebody else to tell you when your in pain”. I was so distraught at this point and tried to explain that I wasn’t JUST staking tremadol, and was also on 4 other medications a day, and those have a set routine I have to follow. She just shook her head and sighed. 

    There were several different occasions where she made similar leading questions and I felt she was trying to trick me. I explained how my partner helped me by preparing/cooking my food, helping my in and out the shower etc and had gone from full time to part time to help with this. She said “well why couldn’t he just do that after work” suggesting I just lay in bed and not eat or bathe until 7pm each day. 

    I felt belittled the entire time and like like they were constantly trying to lead my answers a certain way.  I have no hope of getting any kind of successful outcome to this. Is there anything I can do if that’s the case? I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options and despite the 300+ pages of evidence, they will still say no. 
    Sorry you felt it was a bad experience. Let me explain some aspects of it. I’m assuming you were unrepresented?

    Recent case law says that if you were a DLA conversion case then the PIP 1 form should at minimum be in the appeal papers and, if that shows you asked for your DLA evidence to be taken into account when converting, then your DLA evidence should be in your PIP papers. However, more recent case law has said that the need for it really depends on whether the PIP activities you were claiming for overlapped with the DLA rules. So, your first tribunal adjourned to comply with the first caselaw and your second one concluded it wasn’t wholly necessary. They’re allowed to do that but their decision should fully explain why that else there’s a potential error of law. 

    On the other hand you knew what the first tribunal asked for and, if you thought it relevant, you should have asked for a further adjournment to force the issue with DWP. You’re a participant in a hearing not a passenger would be one way of putting it.

    Are you sure your mother is your appointee? Was there evidence of that in the papers? A recent decision - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/appointment-to-act-for-child-dla-recipient-when-invited-to-transfer-to-pi - makes very clear that child appointments don’t automatically become adult ones unless they were “unable to act” appointments. Please clarify why you think your Mum is your appointee. 

    An appointeeship is in respect of being unable to handle their own financial affairs only and when combined with the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act (where there’s a presumption of capacity unless evidenced otherwise) that means the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you questions directly about your health as it’s no evidence you’re not capable of answering because appointeeship is not evidence of that.

    There are no irrelevant or trick questions at a tribunal. They have 45 minutes to hear evidence; find facts and apply the law to those facts. It’s a tough ask. Some questions can instantly cover multiple activities e.g. a GCSE question covers reading, cooking, budgeting for starters. The games console one covers reading, taking nutrition and so on e.g, if you can handle a controller what’s the problem with a knife and fork!

    The disability qualified member has practical experience of disability. Leading questions are not acceptable but are often used as a way of telling you your evidence is insufficient it detailed or misdirected. It’s a mugs game trying to read a tribunal. Most are trying to help you to help yourself and it’s easy to mistake persistence for aggression.

    The fact you had 300 pages of evidence is of concern and makes the GCSE type questions more likely as tracking through all that gives less time to ask stuff. No PIP appeal needs 300 pages of evidence. For future reference you rarely need more than one medical report or letter per condition and your focus is better directed to anecdotal examples of what incidents have occurred when you tried to do a specific activity. 


    Thanks for your response.

    First of all, yes, she’s the appointee, all paperwork/correspondence goes to her, and everything is dealt with via her. The DWP clarified that she was the appointee in the tribunal also.

    As for the pages of evidence, this is because the first time round they said there was a gap in my medical records and needed more, they requested access to my records, and then we received at 300+ page tribunal bundle from the court. They were the ones who wanted the entirety of my medical records. 

    As for the cooking and such, she asked specifically about the oven, so that is why I answered about the oven. The problem with jars/cutting/mixing is my wrists are too weak/dislocate easily, and I cannot do it, especially without being in pain for hours and hours afterwards. The same with the games console, I don’t see the connection, I never said I couldn’t take nutrition, just that I needed help cutting things, due to my wrists, an action that isn’t really comparable to moving your thumbs on a controller.  

    As for the GCSEs, mine were all theoretical and didn’t involve cooking or any real kind of movement. So I didn’t see the relevance. I never disbuted my ability to read or understand things. 

    And i can appreciate that they were being persistent, but rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me doesn’t fall under persistence for me haha. 


    She can only be the appointee then if you’re mentally incapable of handling your own financial affairs. Thus the tribunal were perfectly entitled to ask you health questions. That would only be different if she had something like a power of attorney. 

    300 pages of medical records is ludicrous but clearly not your fault. Previous tribunal should have directed themselves to only recent records. That said, it does suggest that the new tribunal felt no need to direct themselves to DLA evidence precisely because they did now have all the other stuff. Bottom line though in a tribunal os that if you’re unhappy in a tribunal the onus is on you to say so.

    I was giving examples of how certain questions work and not durecrkt relating them to your case. That said there is strong research which suggests that the action of gripping a games controller is exactly analogous to gripping utensils in terms of pressure/tension so I can see where they were coming from there.

    Wholly agree that eye rolling and head shaking are inappropriate but the other side of that is that we’re talking about a disability qualofied tribunal member and many of them are in fact disabled. It is entirely possible for example to interpret something like Nystagmus as eye rolling etc. so I wouldn’t read anything into that until you’ve an outcome. 
    Thanks again for replying! 

    got a response and the appeal was denied, they stuck to the previously awarded points despite all the evidence! 

    And yeah, I totally get where you are coming from with the controller aspect, but I don’t even play either console. They just asked my preference which doesn’t mean I play it. She could of asked if I prefer cats or dogs, doesn’t mean I have one that I look after. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 11,814Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    You should request the statement of reasons and record of proceedings. Once you have those then find someone to advice you and see if an error in law has been made, if it hasn't then you won't be able to take it further.
  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    You should request the statement of reasons and record of proceedings. Once you have those then find someone to advice you and see if an error in law has been made, if it hasn't then you won't be able to take it further.
    Thanks for your advice.

    I noticed on this site it mentions a breach of natural justice if a member of the DWP is alone with the panel without you. Is this the same as an error of law? 

    When i I arrived for the tribunal, the presenting officer for the DWP was already in the room with the panel. The clerk told me they were just discussing something and that they wouldn’t be part of my hearing. But they were. Is this something that shouldn’t have happened?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 11,814Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I really have no idea, i'm sorry. Have you requested the SOR and ROP as advised? You can't do anything without these. Once you have them then you need to find someone to see if there's the error in law.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Posts: 3,384Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    Been looking for the perfect opportunity to make my last reply a nice one so here goes 

    Yes, a breach of natural justice is one of the 5 possible errors of law. Furthermore the PO being in the tribunal room is well on its way to being one. They have guidance which says they must be last in and first out so as to reinforce the idea they are not part of the tribunal and have no part in the decision making process. Ordinarily it’s a straight up breach if they can be seen in there alone and UTs used to overturn FTT on that alone. More recently there’s been some case law which muddies the water and suggests that, for example, what the clerk told you should be taken at face value and accepted as true. I personally think that’s nonsense. Breach of natural justice is all about the perception and that’s what you should be arguing assuming there’s no other obvious errors (there usually are). 

    That said most UT wins return the case to a new FTT so there’s absolutely no point in going to UT without having first got solid face to face advice on the merits if your case i.e. is it winnable at FTT.
  • dh97dh97 Posts: 7Member Listener
    Been looking for the perfect opportunity to make my last reply a nice one so here goes 

    Yes, a breach of natural justice is one of the 5 possible errors of law. Furthermore the PO being in the tribunal room is well on its way to being one. They have guidance which says they must be last in and first out so as to reinforce the idea they are not part of the tribunal and have no part in the decision making process. Ordinarily it’s a straight up breach if they can be seen in there alone and UTs used to overturn FTT on that alone. More recently there’s been some case law which muddies the water and suggests that, for example, what the clerk told you should be taken at face value and accepted as true. I personally think that’s nonsense. Breach of natural justice is all about the perception and that’s what you should be arguing assuming there’s no other obvious errors (there usually are). 

    That said most UT wins return the case to a new FTT so there’s absolutely no point in going to UT without having first got solid face to face advice on the merits if your case i.e. is it winnable at FTT.
    Yeah, I mean, the clerk told me that it was okay for the P/O to be in there as the P/O wouldn’t be present in my tribunal. But obviously, they were, so by him saying that I assumed they weren’t supposed to be in there if they are going to be attending your case. 

    For now im just waiting for the SOR, thanks for all your advice 
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