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TOPIC: Winning my PIP Tribunal - Share Your Experiences!

Winning my PIP Tribunal - Share Your Experiences! 10 months 3 weeks ago #200305

  • A Youngs
I had a meeting with an adviser at the CAB on Monday. I asked for her help in assessing the preparation I had done towards my PIP tribunal, which could come up any day now. The judge is currently assessing whether or not my case merits me being prioritised for a short notice hearing arising from cancellation.

The CAB adviser told me to disregard the Healthcare Professional’s assessment of me (April 2017) and the mandatory reconsideration process, which awarded me 2 extra points (still leaving me 2 short of the 8 point minimum required to qualify for help with daily living). She said the tribunal would be looking to make their decision based on the actual law as it applied to the PIP application form, so we spent 90 minutes reviewing my application form, and preparing notes to speak from at the tribunal.

Question no. 1 – Is it reasonable to think that I might be given as much as, say, 5 minutes to deliver a spoken statement of my case (ie why I qualify for PIP, in my opinion) and why I am seeking the tribunal hearing?

The material I’ve seen from Benefits & Work suggests that I should be looking at legitimate ways to discredit the Health Professional’s report. I believe there are many possible ways. The challenge is working out which of the arguments would carry most weight with the tribunal, so I don’t drown them with detail.

I am thinking, for example, that

a) there are tests described that did not take place and some obvious copy-pasting has been done;
b) I am described of normal height and weight but I am a woman of 5’10” in height and 6 stones overweight;
c) there is no description of a typical day (I was asked nothing like this at all by the HP);
d) my entire working life (36 years, from health to disabilities) is abbreviated to one line, without explaining that my disabilities have gradually limited my capacity for work so that I can only do the self-employed telephone work I now do – ie I have to work from home in a flexible job where I work when I feel well enough, and if I really have to, I could theoretically do the work even lying in bed with a 3 day migraine.

These are all things I pointed out to the DWP in the letter applying for Mandatory Reconsideration but they were ignored.

I have been using slightly different arguments as I’ve gone through this process. At the beginning of the application, I naively assumed that, although I received only the lowest rate of DLA, because it had been awarded to me for life (recently changed to “indefinitely”), the application was more or less a formality. It was a shock to receive only 4 points, because I have more disabilities now than then.

So, my arguments for the tribunal have evolved as I’ve learned more about the law in relation to PIP. DWP have suggested I am making things up because I am adding more detail as we go along. Should I stick with the original information I gave to DWP? Or should I stress that as I’ve learned more about the legislation, I’ve become aware of where my disabilities fit within it? Nothing I can do about them calling me a liar, alas. I expect they do that to most people.

My disabilities go back more than 20 years. It has been over 10 years since I attended the pain management clinic at my local hospital. I am very short on medical evidence around the time of the assessment in April 2017, especially as one of my problems is agoraphobia. I have therefore made many appointments to discuss developments in my disabilities with the GP, only to cancel them. When I finally saw my GP at the end of May 2017 to discuss the issues that had built up over time but which I had not yet been able to get to see her about, I had a list of 11 outstanding issues!

I do have a letter saying I have a pain clinic appointment coming up, and an earlier letter saying I can access CBT for agoraphobia, but both are dated well after April 2017, which is the date of the HP’s assessment report to the DWP.

I am going to the GP’s surgery to go through my medical records tomorrow (Thursday 2 November) and take copies of what is relevant. My understanding is that the crucial period is probably over the last year or two and especially around January 2017 (when I completed the application form) through to the end of April 2017 (when the HP assessed me for PIP). I don’t know if there’s much at all during that time because when you’re depressed and agoraphobic, your GP may not see you much, and if your other conditions are being managed with prescription meds, why would there be?

Question no. 2 – Does that make sense? Should I go back in those notes as far as, for instance, the origin of the agoraphobia (an event in 1981/82)? I don’t want to drown the tribunal in photocopies of records that mention 5 different conditions over 30 years, do I?!

I expect agoraphobia will feature in my notes somewhere, and there should be several mentions of it over the years in between then and now. The same applies to the other disabilities I have.

Going back to the Tribunal itself and my 5 minutes to present my case (assuming I will get that long).

Question no. 3 – Which of these should I include? I am inclined to think I should include them all.

a) Begin by explaining that I am now substantially more disabled than when I was awarded low rate DLA;
b) Focus on the original application form, and the way in which I now realise (having a better understanding of the legislation now than when I originally completed it in January 2017) it should have been completed. Allowing for my agoraphobia under “Engaging with Other People” – something the question on the application form didn’t even hint could be done - might give me as much as another 8 points, according to the CAB adviser;
c) Benefits & Work’s approach of discrediting the HP’s assessment report, where legitimate. I’ve included a few reasons that popped into my head first earlier in this post but there are lots more.

If you have taken the time to read this, please give me the benefit of your advice and experience. I would be so grateful. I have no friends and family nearby to come with me, no representation. It’s just going to be me, so your kindness in sharing how your tribunal went would be much appreciated.

Thank you! (Even if this post doesn’t make it past a moderator until 2 November in the afternoon or later, please reply. I can always go back to the GP if I need more copies!)

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Winning my PIP Tribunal - Share Your Experiences! 10 months 3 weeks ago #200318

  • Gordon
  • Away
  • Posts: 38582

Welcome to the forum, you might want to have a look at the following FAQ which explain where everything is

Welcome to Benefits and Work

In case you are not aware, your real name appears to be showing in the forum, if you want to change this then follow the instructions in the following FAQ

My full name is showing, how can I stop it?

Whilst I don't agree with the CAB about ignoring the assessment report, you do need to understand that refuting it is not going to lead to an award.

By all means tackle issues that effect the points you might score but you are wasting your time in dealing with issues that do not do this.

To try and answer your questions.

1. You will be given time to talk, probably not as long as 5 minutes and it will be at the end of the hearing. You would be far better served creating a one page summary of the issues that you believe are relevant to your appeal and submitting this to the TS in advance of your hearing.

My experience is that you will not remember on the day what it is you want to say to the and you are more then likely to overrun the time available.

1a. Yes include this.
1b. Unless this is relevant to your scoring points I would not bother.
1c. The panel may ask you about this. If it is not in the report how does mentioning it help you score?
1d. It's historical information and I presume that over time your conditions have deteriorated, how is it relevant to how you are now?

2. It's not unusual for claimants to be parked by the DWP, whilst having up to date evidence most certainly helps, it is not catastrophic if you do not have it, we've seen members receive the highest awards with nothing more than a diagnosis letter from many years ago.

3a. The criteria for DLA Is significantly different from that for PIP that you are now being assessed against, so there is not huge value in comparing awards, especially as the award you had has no equivalent under PIP.

3b. The way to an award is to show how you meet the criteria for one. Don't be embarrassed about explaining that you misunderstood the criteria the PIP2 is a best a précis of the legally defined criteria.

3c. Already covered.

I think I have covered everything but if I have missed anything or you have more questions then please reply to this post and we will do our best to help.

The following user(s) said Thank You: A Youngs

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Winning my PIP Tribunal - Share Your Experiences! 10 months 3 weeks ago #200327

  • A Youngs
Clicking on "Thank you" doesn't quite cover it. Thank you so much, Gordon. What a great reply, so helpful! Much appreciated.

I am so glad I found Benefits & Work. If i don't get it this time, I can always re-apply in due course, I imagine. And I know where I would come to get help completing the forms.

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