Before you sign a no-win, no-fee contract
This kind of agreement might be right for you if you have decided you can’t face an appeal on your own. But before committing yourself to handing over thousands of pounds, please think about all the options available.
Could you do it yourself?
The success rate for PIP appeals is currently 60%. The vast majority of those claimants don’t have anyone to help them and yet they still win. So, you don’t need to be any kind of legal expert to win your appeal.
If it’s the thought of the actual hearing that frightens you, bear in mind that the vast majority are now telephone or video appeals, so you will be able to attend the hearing whilst sitting in your own home. And you can have a friend or relative to support you and help you give your evidence.
And you might not even have to have a hearing. An increasing number of appeals are won because the DWP backs down before the hearing and offers a better award.
Our PIP appeal resources will give you absolutely all the information you need to prepare for your hearing and they cost under £20, so it’s an option very much worth considering.
Thousands of our members have won their appeals with the help of our guides, often backed up by information and reassurance from our forum.
Could you get free help?
If you are certain you can’t do it alone. Have you tried contacting your local advice agencies, law centre or similar for support. They may be able to help you prepare your appeal or even represent you at the hearing.
You can find details of your local advice agencies by following this link:
Would a fixed-fee be a better option?
If you can’t get free help, there are some companies who work for a fixed-fee, rather than a percentage of your backdated award.
In general, this will be over a thousand pounds.
Obviously there is more risk involved for you. But if you have waited a long time to get to an appeal and you are expecting a large award, then it might mean you lose a lot less of your backdated payment.
Should you use a solicitor?
There is no longer any legal aid available to help pay for representation at a first-tier tribunal. Though if you lose your appeal you may be able to get legal aid to pay for appealing to the upper tribunal.
But some solicitors do offer representation at first-tier appeals. They may do so on a no-win, no-fee basis though a fixed fee is more likely and the cost could be very high.
Do take into account also that most full-time welfare rights workers are at least as knowledgeable as a qualified solicitor when it comes to PIP appeals and may have had a great deal more experience.
Is the representative reliable?
Whatever type of representation you decide on, you still need to be able to try to make a judgement about how reliable they will be.
There are a growing number of websites offering representation out there. Some give detailed information about their background and experience.
Some display a clear amount of legal knowledge, which is obviously important.
But PIP appeals are primarily about good preparation to ensure you give accurate and detailed on the day about how your condition affects your everyday living and mobility.
You also need to ensure you have submitted all the supporting evidence that might be of value in your case.
And you need a representative who can the strength of your case and give you sound advice about what the correct award to aim for is.
Unfortunately, figuring out if a given organisation will do a good job can be very hard and we aren’t able to recommend any particular service.