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Thread: PIP - Taking it to tribunal

  1. #1

    PIP - Taking it to tribunal

    Hi there,

    A bit of background - I have a problem with social anxiety and associated nausea. I applied for PIP in June 2013 - received my initial report a couple of months ago, requested a mandatory reconsideration, which has arrived this week.

    My inital PIP score was 0 and after requesting a mandatory reconsideration, including a 7-page account of my problems, I have now found that they've bumped me up to 6 Daily Living and 4 Mobility (= 0).

    So.... I'm thinking of using the appeal process to take this to tribunal - I have two reasons for this really, the first being that I could really use the money, and I feel that I made a little progress in the Mandatory Reconsideration, so perhaps there's hope. The second reason being that I've been pretty disgusted by the PIP process in general - I remember when I first read about PIP and the fact that it was there to include/support people with mental health problems such as myself, I was greatly encouraged - a little help to get by, when so much is a struggle sounded great - I even remember thinking after reading some of the text surrounding the provision, that "this is for me - I'll qualify" - well, since then (and I don't want to get distracted here by all the delays and poor communication that so many people here will allready know all about), I've found the whole process to come across as completely uninterested and unsympathetic towards challenges caused by mental health problems - it's almost as if the initial government announcements wanted to include mental health, but either somewhere along the drafting of the bill, or somewhere along Capita's training programme mental health has been forgotten/brushed under the carpet.

    I remember feeling that the second of the assessors that I saw simply looked at me and thought "Anxiety? Nausea? But is there anything 'physically' wrong with you? You're wasting my time" - Likewise, the wording in the forms and the so-called "Decision Maker's Reasoning" all seemed to focus on physical ability and health. I tried to paint a picture as Flymo has often advised as to how my mental problems cause me to meet the criteria outlined in the legislation - but it seems that despite my efforts I came up short.

    So, my second motivation is to get my case listened to by a tribunal, and a) hopefully get approved and b) if I could win an approval, then hopefully this would feed back into the system and improve it for other applicants with mental health problems.

    So.... this is a bit of a call out to the community here, has anyone else been through the tribunal process? How was it? Has anyone had a similar feeling about the process (i.e the forms/assessments don't really seem to be set up for mental health assessment)? Does anyone have any advice?

    Thanks again to everyone who has contributed advice on this forum - it's been a great help so far, and even though I'm pretty fed-up with the whole PIP process, I feel like I want to "take it to one more round" if I can

    Any thoughts?

    Ian

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    You should try and get the help of an experienced Welfare Worker from somewhere like MIND, they would be best placed to help you present and support your case.

  3. #3
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    I'm only aware of two forum members who have appealed a PIP decision to a tribunal.


    In a physical health case, DWP reconsidered again in the light of the submission to the tribunal and awarded the PIP rate that was sought. The tribunal proceedings were therefore discontinued.

    There is a mental health case that is pending tribunal, with the indications being that DWP are resisting the appeal. The claimant asked for paper hearing but DWP have asked for oral hearing, indicating they might intend to send a presenting officer to appear before the tribunal.


    As Jard says, it's best to find a suitably experienced person to represent you at tribunal.


    If you believe you have an arguable case for the award of PIP, I would encourage you to go to tribunal in an attempt to get the PIP you believe you are owed.

  4. #4
    Ok - well, that's bad news about the paper vs oral tribunal. If anything I'd planned to type up what I had, and the arguments which I felt were pertinent, and let the tribunal have a think about it.

    It's difficult because you start to doubt yourself - over the last year, any time I've been going through a "healthy" patch, I've almost started to feel like a fraud - a few weeks on an I'll feel completely incapabe of living a normal life, and begin to resent the fact that the PIP provides so many hoops to jump through.

    I suppose I'm picturing a judge high up in his chair screaming that there's nothing wrong with me and I'm wasting everyone's time.

    I've got a few weeks to make up my mind, but I'm not sure if I'll go and see a Welfare Worker - half of my problem is that I'm a recluse, going out and about getting support and seeking meetings with professionals and guidance officers left right and centre is the opposite of the whole tide of my behaviour. Then again, reading through the legislation and the PIP Guidance and making a long list of arguments seems like another huge amount of work, that'll probably end up going nowhere.

    I know I'm entitled to fill in the appeal form and send it in, but I'm starting to feel like a trouble maker.

  5. #5
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    DWP's decision to resist the claim in the case I mentioned relates solely to the facts of the case. If DWP believe you are more likely than not to win, the chances are they will reconsider again and award PIP.

    If you want to get a welfare rights worker involved, you need to act quickly. Many welfare rights services are either closed to new cases or are operating with long delays. You only have a month to file your appeal with HM Courts and Tribunals Service.


    There is an element of "keep it simple" involved. You only need to make the arguments that you feel entitle you to additional points, not argue against every point in the paperwork that you dispute.

    Writing up your notes can do a lot to clarify your thinking.

    It's worth thinking about sources of evidence that would support the level of functional impairment you are claiming.

  6. #6
    OK - I'll have a sit down with all the paperwork.

    When I was sitting down with the guidance and preparing my personal statement for the mandatory reconsideration, there were parts of the criteria where I felt fairly strong, but which I haven't been awarded any points for. I'll sit down again with the guidance and make a note of which points I feel are my strongest - I only need 2 more to get the basic daily living component. Perhaps if I just make a list of these particular issues and state why I think my case fits the criteria, that will be enough to push the DWP over the edge.

    I haven't time today, but I'd like to have a read through the appeal form as well, so I can see where and how I might be able to make these arguments in the form.

  7. #7
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    Most of the SSCS1 is administrative in nature, apart from the box where you asked to set out, in any form you choose, the grounds on which you wish to appeal.

    It might help to prepare a skeleton argument for the appeal form, then attach a separate document that expands on those points under the headings of the skeleton.

  8. #8
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    If you can't get the help of a Welfare Worker ask a friend or family member to support you at the hearing also something else to bare in mind, is. If you can support your case by describing the help/care you receive from anyone, in respect of the Daily Living and/or Mobility components and these people are in attendance with you at the Tribunal it can carry a great deal of weight in swaying the decision in your favour. As you've noted you only need 2 points to gain an award, good luck with it.

  9. #9
    That's great - I might use the headers of the criteria I feel I met on the guidance form - maybe even trying to find the corresponding part of the legislation (perhaps I can just quote the relevent sections of the bill). As you say, I don't need to re-iterate my whole argument, I've already received some points after all - just challenge them on the areas where they haven't awarded me the points - this should cut down the amount I need to include and help "keep it simple" as you say.

    Thank you again Flymo - I'm feeling a little more confident now about how I'll structure my response.

  10. #10
    Thanks Jard, I know I could rely on my partner to come along with me if necessary. She's a Mental Health OT herself, and has been pretty shocked by the way the process has been followed.

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