Just failed my PIP tribunal (mental health), absolutely shocked — Scope | Disability forum
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Just failed my PIP tribunal (mental health), absolutely shocked

dunnowhere2start
dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
I seriously can't believe what just happened. I've applied for PIP and after unsuccessful application and MR I've had a tribunal hearing. Now I've read so many people say that they've had a positive experience and they've felt like the tribunal was 'on their side'.
My experience is the direct opposite, there was a DWP employee present and from the very beginning the atmosphere felt very unfriendly, I felt like I am being interrogated rather than listened to. 
I've had a letter written on my behalf Citizens Advice case worker. Where she stated how many points I should be awarded for each activity. 
I struggle with depression and anxiety, don't have any motivation to wash myself or change my clothes ( I do both roughly every once a fortnight when I realise I smell so bad it's unbearable). I do not enjoy eating, don't have appetite, don't have the energy to prepare a meal and therefore only buy ready meals. I can't form a proper social relationship with people, I am anxious and aggressive towards people socially.
I am able to go to the shops, but it takes a lot of mental preparation, I can't just get up and go, sometimes it takes me a couple of days to prepare to leave the house. 
The letter written by CA person highlights all those points, especially the fact that I can't do the things regularly or even when necessary. 
I have told the tribunal that my child walks to school by herself, that I am struggling to leave the house when required and therefore when I used ti walk her we'd be late every single day. However, they've concentrated on the fact that for Christmas this year (mind you, not end of 2022/ beginning 2023 when I've originally applied for PIP) I took the flight to visit my family and I've traveled by train to the airport (I've explained that I've had my mum communicating with me via messages, I took the train because I couldn't afford the taxi and I was so stressed during the journey I thought of jumping under the train).
When I was invited to the room, they've told me all I've got awarded was 2 points for 'interacting with other people'. I asked 'how about my inability to do things when I have to' and was ironically told 'well, you even seem to be able to take the train all by yourself and travel abroad during busy times at the airport do you'. Which sounded almost like a mocking of my condition, it was a one off thing and I also told them I've missed a lot of flights / appointments in the past due to my condition.
And even if they decided I don't qualify for mobility component, the Daily Living outcome doesn't make any sense whatsoever...
I'm just so confused, this doesn't seem fair, I don't feel they've even tried to understand me but rather catch me off guard, or maybe make an example of me since the DWP employee was present.. I'm in complete shock right now, considering whether I have grounds to appeal to the Upper Tribunal but I just feel like I've lost faith in the system completely..
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Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,192 Disability Gamechanger
    I’m sorry to hear this. Did they actually tell you during the hearing that you haven’t been awarded? A lot of times they don’t tell you the decision on the day. They will go away and look at everything before making a decision. So they will send you a decision letter in the post. 

    If you were able to track the appeal online then some people are able to look on there to see what the decision was later that day. 

    If it definitely was a refusal for both parts, you can’t just appeal a Tribunal decision because you disagree with it. You can only appeal on error of law. For this you need to request the statement of reasons and record of Proceedings within 1 month of the date of the decision. 

    Once you receive those you need to find someone to take a look to see if they can find an error in law. 

    This is usually beyond the capabilities of Citizens Advice so you will need to find another advice agency local to you. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • dunnowhere2start
    dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    I’m sorry to hear this. Did they actually tell you during the hearing that you haven’t been awarded? A lot of times they don’t tell you the decision on the day. They will go away and look at everything before making a decision. So they will send you a decision letter in the post. 

    If you were able to track the appeal online then some people are able to look on there to see what the decision was later that day. 

    If it definitely was a refusal for both parts, you can’t just appeal a Tribunal decision because you disagree with it. You can only appeal on error of law. For this you need to request the statement of reasons and record of Proceedings within 1 month of the date of the decision. 

    Once you receive those you need to find someone to take a look to see if they can find an error in law. 

    This is usually beyond the capabilities of Citizens Advice so you will need to find another advice agency local to you. 
    Thank you for your response. Yes, they did tell me that they've decided I do not qualify.
    I do believe that there might be error in law, because they have spent maybe 50% of time questioning me about my (recent) trip, which was a one off, I still struggled a lot and most importantly it didn't happen when I've originally applied for PIP, it was very recent. 
    When I asked them how their decision is fair they've almost sarcastically told me 'well you seem to be able to travel on a train and take the plane all by yourself', so it seems like their decision was hugely based on this one trip which didn't even happen during the relevant period.
    They have completely ignored my statement that I can only bring myself to dress/wash roughly once a fortnight (so definitely less than 50% of the time), and that I said that I only eat when my stomach starts to hurt, and even then I don't have the energy to even microwave a meal, so I end up eating, i.e a slice of bread to stop the pain. 
    That have also allowed the DWP representative to ask me direct questions ( I'm not sure if that's according to the procedure) but forgot to ask me if I want to add anything myself. 
    The whole process felt like they've made up their minds from the start and was extremely long and hostile. I felt like I was specifically asked the questions to 'catch me in a lie' or get me confused, I kept telling them that I struggle to leave the house and even when there's barely any food I might not be able to go out and get food, despite my 12 year old relying on me. 
    I don't know, I realise that things don't always go the way they're expected, but the whole process seemed rigged somehow, they just kept pointing at the notes mades by the DWP assessor and basically telling me 'it says you can do this and that' and then I had to tell them it's all fabricated. I don't feel like I've been listened to of given a fair chance to tell about myself.. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,192 Disability Gamechanger
    I’m no expert so I don’t know if talking about your recent trip abroad would be an error in law. 

    What you need to do is request the SOR and ROP within 1 month of the date of the decision and then find an advice agency. That deadline is quite strict so if you’re going to request it then you should do that ASAP.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • MW123
    MW123 Scope Member Posts: 357 Pioneering
    @dunnowhere2start

    I am truly saddened to hear about the tough time you went through with the PIP tribunal. Your post paints a picture of frustration and disappointment. Your honest account of your health struggles is touching, and I can only imagine how overwhelming the experience must have been. 

    To potentially appeal to the Upper Tribunal, your first step is to request a written Statement of Reasons from the tribunal that rendered the decision. This must be done within one month. The Statement of Reasons will outline the legal rationale and conclusions reached by the tribunal. Simultaneously, obtain the Record of Proceedings, which documents the dialogue and evidence presented during your hearing. 

    Upon receiving these documents, promptly review them to identify any potential errors of law. You'll be aiming to demonstrate that the tribunal's decision was unreasonable or irrational to the extent that no reasonable tribunal, given the same facts and law, would have reached that decision. 

    It's important to understand that appealing a decision made by the First-tier Tribunal can be a complex process. There's a possibility that the first tribunal may refuse permission for the appeal. In such cases, you'll have an additional month to apply directly to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal. Time limits are strict, so prompt action is essential if you choose to pursue an appeal. 

    I extend my best wishes to you and do not forget to look after yourself at this time.


  • dunnowhere2start
    dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    MW123 said:
    @dunnowhere2start

    I am truly saddened to hear about the tough time you went through with the PIP tribunal. Your post paints a picture of frustration and disappointment. Your honest account of your health struggles is touching, and I can only imagine how overwhelming the experience must have been. 

    To potentially appeal to the Upper Tribunal, your first step is to request a written Statement of Reasons from the tribunal that rendered the decision. This must be done within one month. The Statement of Reasons will outline the legal rationale and conclusions reached by the tribunal. Simultaneously, obtain the Record of Proceedings, which documents the dialogue and evidence presented during your hearing. 

    Upon receiving these documents, promptly review them to identify any potential errors of law. You'll be aiming to demonstrate that the tribunal's decision was unreasonable or irrational to the extent that no reasonable tribunal, given the same facts and law, would have reached that decision. 

    It's important to understand that appealing a decision made by the First-tier Tribunal can be a complex process. There's a possibility that the first tribunal may refuse permission for the appeal. In such cases, you'll have an additional month to apply directly to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal. Time limits are strict, so prompt action is essential if you choose to pursue an appeal. 

    I extend my best wishes to you and do not forget to look after yourself at this time.


    Thank.you so much for your kind words. You have no idea how much it means to be listened to, especially after today. 
    To be honest, I'm quite shocked for things to have ended this way, because the benefits advisor I spoke to assumed it's going to be an easy enhanced Daily Living and Standard Mobility, she put a pretty decent letter for me based on case law which the tribunal didn't seem to take into account. I have never thought it'll end up like this..
    I will request both of your recommended documents asap, thank you. As for the appeal to the tribunal, even if it can be a bit of a struggle to prove the procedure wasn't followed I'm almost certain they did not follow case law or precedence - having read up on it, there are Upper tribunal cases where certain descriptors match my situation very closely - but the law wasn't applied in my case. 
    So I'm trying not to be too hopeful, but I feel like I do have grounds to appeal...
    Thought I have to say, this process is taking all I've got out of me..  
    I'm wondering how long it would take to have case considered again providing that the appeal to the UT is successful?

  • MW123
    MW123 Scope Member Posts: 357 Pioneering
    @dunnowhere2start

    To improve your chances of a successful appeal, carefully examine the Upper Tribunal cases you've identified already to determine if there are obvious parallels with your situation. If you find relevant cases that support your argument, include them in your appeal and explain how the law was not applied correctly in your case. 

    When preparing your grounds for appeal, clearly state why you believe the tribunal's decision was incorrect, referencing relevant case law and your specific circumstances. Keep in mind that the Upper Tribunal is not concerned with re-evaluating the facts of your case or your condition(s); their focus is on ensuring that the law was properly applied in the initial decision making process. 

    It's important to note that the Upper Tribunal process can take several months, so it's essential to be patient and prepared for a potentially lengthy appeal process. While I cannot confirm if there are special arrangements for speeding up the process with DWP upper house tribunals, my past experience with tribunals in other areas of law suggests that they can indeed drag on for months. 

    To maximise your chances of success, make sure to clearly outline the reasons why you believe the tribunal's decision was incorrect, highlighting any errors in the application of the law or the consideration of evidence. By presenting a strong, well-reasoned argument that is supported by relevant case law and your specific circumstances, you can increase the likelihood of a successful appeal.


  • dunnowhere2start
    dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    MW123 said:
    @dunnowhere2start

    It's important to note that the Upper Tribunal process can take several months, so it's essential to be patient and prepared for a potentially lengthy appeal process. While I cannot confirm if there are special arrangements for speeding up the process with DWP upper house tribunals, my past experience with tribunals in other areas of law suggests that they can indeed drag on for months. 

    To maximise your chances of success, make sure to clearly outline the reasons why you believe the tribunal's decision was incorrect, highlighting any errors in the application of the law or the consideration of evidence. By presenting a strong, well-reasoned argument that is supported by relevant case law and your specific circumstances, you can increase the likelihood of a successful appeal.


    Thank you so much. Do you think it's worth including things like general tone of the hearing being hostile, the panel concentrating on what I can do sometimes rather than asking how my condition affects me day-to-day, or do all arguments have to be strictly law-based?
    If I understand this correctly, it's a few months for the case to be considered by the Upper Tribunal and providing the appeal is accepted, another hearing by the FTT will be booked which will probably take another several months?
    Just wondering whether it's possible / does it make sense to apply for PIP anew while appealing this decision..
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,192 Disability Gamechanger
    I honestly think you need expert advice here. Appealing a Tribunal decision isn’t an easy or straightforward process. Not all Tribunal decisions can be appealed either. 

    If you start a new claim any new decision made will overrule any potential new decision another Tribunal may make. You will then create a closed period so any money owed will only be paid up until the day before you started the new claim.

    Reapplying using the same evidence you previously used could also see another refusal. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • dunnowhere2start
    dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    I honestly think you need expert advice here. Appealing a Tribunal decision isn’t an easy or straightforward process. Not all Tribunal decisions can be appealed either. 

    If you start a new claim any new decision made will overrule any potential new decision another Tribunal may make. You will then create a closed period so any money owed will only be paid up until the day before you started the new claim.

    Reapplying using the same evidence you previously used could also see another refusal. 
    Thank you for your continuous advice and support, it means a lot. 
    Yes I do realise specialist advice is necessary; the lovely lady who helped me with my PIP appeal (she worked with CAB,  but was in fact Welfare Benefits Specialist) unfortunately doesn't work with them anymore and CAB told me that currently they don't have a replacement for her therefore they can't help me with the appeal.
    I am currently looking into other charities / organisations that offer help in my area, although I assume not many of them are able to offer support at this level.
    Also, I've asked for an advice on another forum and someone got really surprised that I went to the hearing without a representative; is it really that common to have someone help you during the tribunal hearing?
    Just wondering whether things could've turned out differently if I've had someone to fight my corner..
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,192 Disability Gamechanger
    This link will help you find an agency local to you. https://advicelocal.uk/welfare-benefits

    I disagree with what that person said on the other forum. Many people attend hearings without a representative and go onto have a decision in their favour. The success rate is about 68%. 

    They wouldn’t be able to speak on your behalf anyway. 

    You said the person at CA wrote a letter for you but whether that was helpful will depend on what information they put into it. In all honesty I was never impressed with the help I got in the past from CA. 

    The most helpful thing anyone can do is to give real world examples of exactly what happened the last time they attempted each descriptor that applies to them. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • dunnowhere2start
    dunnowhere2start Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    This link will help you find an agency local to you. https://advicelocal.uk/welfare-benefits

    I disagree with what that person said on the other forum. Many people attend hearings without a representative and go onto have a decision in their favour. The success rate is about 68%. 

    They wouldn’t be able to speak on your behalf anyway. 

    You said the person at CA wrote a letter for you but whether that was helpful will depend on what information they put into it. In all honesty I was never impressed with the help I got in the past from CA. 

    The most helpful thing anyone can do is to give real world examples of exactly what happened the last time they attempted each descriptor that applies to them. 
    Thank you for the link.

    Yes you're right, it seems the rep can't really speak for you.

    As for the CAB lady (well not exactly, she was an independent contractor working with them) maybe I've just gave her that much credit because she seemed to empathize with me on a personal level, letting on that she struggles with one of the conditions I have, and she seemed to really understand me. As for her letter, its helpful in a way that it mentions relevant case law, but tbh only the best known and widely available examples, even though I thought it'll do wonders it clearly failed to impress the panel..

    I think it would've been helpful though to have someone guiding my answers (which the rep can certainly do) because the more the hearing went on the more confused and anxious I got, mumbling half the time rather than clearly stating the facts. 

    The panel also didn't help, I felt like I was being badgered by them. Was expecting to be asked how my condition affects me and just state everything how I see it but instead was told to refer to notes made by the assessor and explain why do the notes say I can do the activity without any issues which set a hostile tone to the whole question and made me feel like I was explaining myself rather than telling them about me. (Sorry, maybe this is pretty meaningless info, but I know for sure this way of questioning has affected my answers, it's frustrating).

    I kept your advice on real world examples before going in, I thought it to be very logical and useful, sadly the tribunal's line of questioning didn't really allow for it. I can think of one case, when they asked me why was I able to wash myself before the hearing if I claim to struggle with that to which i said I planned in advance, I'm already on my 3rd day without showering and it took me all I've got to be here on time, washed recently and with clean clothes. I said I did that because I don't want to offend anyone with my b/o or sabotage my appeal by being late but it took all I've got to prepare myself in this simple way and I had to plan several days in advance just to be washed and have clean clothes. Seemed like a good answer but in the end the took it against me, claiming that I can do things when I want to and simply chose not to.

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