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PIP Appeal lost - and changed to no award!

Thurgosh
Thurgosh Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited February 2017 in PIP, DLA, and AA
Hi, My wife was on DLA - full mobility rate and lower carers. When moved to PIP last year the DM decided (May 16) to increase her carers element but dropped her to the lower mobility rate, meaning we had to return the mobility car and buy an old banger. We appealed this and had our tribunal hearing yesterday. Got the decision letter to day and they have removed all of my wife's points, meaning they not only disagreed with our appeal but that DWP was completely wrong.
This was what I can only call an aggressive panel where the Dr kept pressing my wife on her lack of exercising and lack of regular contact with certain medical people, the Disability expert got red in the face and frustrated because we were not aware of things that our OT should have recommended/advised to us such as a wheel chair assessment and kitchen & dressing aides, he was basically annoyed that we had purchased a wheelchair some years back when my wife was struggling to go around the shops with me due to her pain levels. And  the Judge was obsessing on some events that happened 31/2 years before with a vehicle collision. So I've today written for the statement of how they came to their decision.

My wife has been disabled for about 8 years, she has upper spinal problems with her ribs being out of alignment causing upper body pain particularly on the right side, arthritis in both knees and a list of other medical problems that contribute to her basically being in constant pain in most areas of her body. Doctors have advised that her condition will gradually get worse over time, so we are astounded by the Tribunals decision.
Has anyone got any advice in addition to appealing? Many Thanks.



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Comments

  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2017
    @Thurgosh - this sounds appalling!  Did the tribunal warn you at any time in advance that they were considering removing your wife's award and ask if she wanted to withdraw her appeal?
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    Dear Thurgosh,

    Very sorry to hear this. You've done exactly the right thing by asking for a statement of reasons. Once you get it, consider whether to appeal further (to the Upper Tribunal). You'll need to seek permission to appeal from the first tier tribunal. We would always recommend that someone seeking to appeal further gets advice, for example, from a Citizens Advice Bureau.

    To get permission to appeal you'll need to show there was an error of law, but I think you have some: the tribunal seems to have taken things into account which it shouldn't have done (the events from long ago). And it may possibly have simply got the law wrong - whether your wife purchased a wheelchair or not, she clearly uses one, and presumably could 'reasonably be expected' to use one (the principle used in PIP). Points could be awarded on that basis, as well as for other activities where she could 'reasonably be expected' to use aids and appliances. On the other hand, if it was particularly difficult for you to get certain aids then perhaps you should be arguing that it is not reasonable to assess certain activities in relation to aids your wife does not have, and experienced difficulty in getting, or was never told existed!

    Once you have the statement of reasons, it will be easier to identify an error of law if there is one  - but you can see why it is helpful to have a specialist benefits adviser to help you with an appeal to the Upper Tribunal. But you can at least start the process. 

    I had a think about whether the decision could be set aside but that only really applies where there is a procedural unfairness, such as not getting paperwork in time.

    The other thing you might consider in these circumstances is making a new claim for PIP. I say this only because getting the existing decision changed via the Upper Tribunal could take some time. You can still continue with the challenge to the original PIP decision whilst your wife puts in a new claim.

    You may already know how points are awarded in the different activities but if not, useful resources are the PIP self-test, and the website PIPinfo where you can find out more about PIP by activity, conditions and key concepts (including 'aids and appliances').

    Finally, given the behaviour of the appeal panel I wonder if it is worth complaining about that too. Complaining about the judge may be tactically something not to do right now because you are seeking permission to appeal. But you could complain about the doctor/disability member (it certainly sounds as if their behaviour distracted from the matter in hand). You start this sort of complaint by writing to the regional tribunal judge to begin with. But you might want to concentrate on challenging the decision/reclaiming PIP first as obviously getting the correct money reinstated is the important thing.

    Will

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Thurgosh
    Thurgosh Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Matilda said:
    @Thurgosh - this sounds appalling!  Did the tribunal warn you at any time in advance that they were considering removing your wife's award and ask if she wanted to withdraw her appeal?
    Hi Matilda,
    Not in those words. We have said all along that we were appealing about the mobility part of the award which my wife qualified for under DLA. What the chair said a one point was, "you should be aware that we look at the whole of the award when we make our decision. Would you like to step outside to discuss, whether to go on with the appeal or withdraw it?" We did step out but thought that we should keep going as this had been the 3rd time we had attended one of these, the previous two needed to gather more medical evidence as DWP had not asked for any during the PIP process.
    Thanks.
  • Thurgosh
    Thurgosh Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi Will, 
    Thanks for the advice, I've taken tomorrow off work so we can attend a CAB drop in at our nearest office about 8-9 miles from our village. We'll get a new PIP application going asap.
  • Lynne53
    Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    In the assessed report and the report following the mandatory reconsideration, phrases like I decided he was able to walk upstairs, or he said he would not read aloud which shows that he can read, just won't.  This is my 63 year old husband with severe dyslexia because in his day if you struggled to read you were thick and that was the end of it.  This speculation has cost him everything.
  • Thurgosh
    Thurgosh Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks Lynne, I'll watch for those sorts of comments when I get the statement of reasons.
  • beves
    beves Member Posts: 13 Connected
    Hi everyone im new to Scope and just started my appeal to the tribunal for pip, ive had the High Rate mobility for DLA for 12 years and im 68 years old, I had to apply for pip and was awarded the standard rate for living which I have never had before and never considered it, but I was only awarded the standard rate for the mobility I was devastated because my car is the only means for me to get around as I live in a village 4 miles away from from any of the daily tasks I have to do ie doctors, hospital,  shopping, bank and alot of other things, to get to anyone of theses would mean I have to catch 4 buses each round trip, frightening for me as I know nothing about the bus services, I had an assessment in my home and it was appalling,  no physical at all which I was very concerned about, all of it was just about in the home, the decision from the DWP was that I can walk 50 mtrs, clime stairs, walk unaided over uneven ground and walk up slopes, how they came to that was unbelievable as I live in a small ground floor flat, no stairs, no slopes, no uneven ground, i have lived here 20 years, I wrote a long letter to ask for a reconsideration and the decison from that was worse than the firs one , she said she had no doubt to disbelive the assessment, I feel totally overwhelmed as I have no family and no close friends who I can ask for help, I feel as if I'm in the middle of a nightmare and can't wake up, has anyone got any advice they can give me, very much appreciated.  beves.
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    @beves

    Have you got a copy of the assessor's report from the DWP? Many assessors' reports are flawed to put it politely.  80% of MRs fail. At tribunal I was awarded enhanced both elements, up from standard both elements after assessment and MR.  65% of appeals succeed.  Disabilty Rights UK site (DR) has a good guide to PIP appeals as does their Handbook priced £15 from their site.  I found it worth the money.
  • beves
    beves Member Posts: 13 Connected
    HI Matilda, I have requested a full assessment report from the DWP just waiting for it to come, thank you for talking to me, I've felt so alone regarding this pip business, beves
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    @beves

    People on the forum are very supportive of those going through the PIP nightmare as many have been through it themselves and come out the other end OK!

    You have very good grounds for appeal.  The DWP's own PIP Handbook states that walking should be judged outdoors, using pavements and kerbs.  The assessor wrote that because she had watched me walk 16m on a level, carpeted surface then I must be able to walk 50m outdoors!  I pointed out in my appeal form that my walking assessment meant that all the assessor could say for certain was that I could walk 16m indoors.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519119/personal-independence-payment-handbook.pdf

    There's also the DWP PIP guide for assessors:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547146/pip-assessment-guide.pdf

    The first link is more about how assessments should be conducted, the second more about how they are conducted in practice (e.g. gives examples of trick questions to ask claimants!).

  • MrLomas
    MrLomas Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Afternoon all,

    Due to born with heart condition, I'm unfit for work and very limited to do things.
    I've never in my time that I've been on benefits, had to go to an Appeal.

    I was on High rate DLA and then had to apply for PIP. Only to be refused PIP.
    The "Medical assessment" was very short approx 15mins, even my friend said that was very quick. I just felt the assessor wasn't interested.. And claimed she watched me walk from my chair to the room. No she did not, she went in the room and I was following her, she did not follow me, or stop too watch.

    I didn't hear anything for while, only to view my bank-statement my benefit had stopped, I immediately contacted PIP to be told a letter was sent, I told them did not receive any letter. I was told another letter would be sent.  I waited and letter finally arrived to state I wasn't awarded PIP. I contacted PIP which this person told me to send as much diagnosis into them, I stressed I do not keep that type of paper work my specialists do. I was granted time, only to receive another letter 3 days later that they reviewed my case and still standing by there decision.

    I contacted PIP yet again, asking why have they done this with out receiving the vital paper work, to be told there was contradictions on there part, and to just send when I can, with this happening and waiting for specialists letter etc, I finally sent them, and again I was refused... Now this point my appeal period expired. I asked how do I appeal, for them to tell me, sorry but you cant as the time period has expired. I stressed this was not my fault but yours. Then I was given contact number for HM Tribunal, I was finally granted appeal, This ordeal was over 19 months from Sept 2016 - April 2018. I went for my appeal and was told at the beginning anything after medical assessment wont count,  i.e if I was ill or in hospital. 

    They asked questions, and then they asked questions if I had been on holiday in last 12months?. (not that I have) but why ask that. Then they asked if I had been in hospital within last 12 months, I was in hospital before my medical assessment.
    Then I they would go back to asking if I can do this or that, then ask questions  of recent what did I do this week, how did I get here. why state at the beginning on the appeal, that anything after the assessment wont count, but then ask questions relating after my assessment?. The way they where coming across to me I felt they had there mind made up before I even got in the room. 19months of stress,

    Then one of the women I think it was the judge, as she handed me some papers, she said: put a fresh claim in?. Why would she say that, when PIP DWP and the appeal panel say I don't meet the criteria for PIP.  But when I was on DLA I was awarded all the time (never refused or had to appeal)

    There was a couple waiting in the waiting area, and them too said its took 17months for appeal. I find this length for appeal date disgusting, as people I've spoken too say, you won't win your appeal cause they wont want to pay all that back-date money, and as sad as it sounds, I think they could be right.




  • susan48
    susan48 Member Posts: 2,222 Disability Gamechanger
    @MrLomas,
    im so sorry to read what you’v been through.

    I personally would get advise from CAB or The nearest Law centre about all this.

    I don’t understand why all this happened.

    I too was asked question regarding now after being to it was about then not now!!!!

    Its a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress to go through , I understand that too.


  • MrLomas
    MrLomas Member Posts: 4 Listener
    @susan48

    Thank for the reply.. I'm going CAB tomorrow.

    But I think (could be wrong) but you can't appeal against an appeal now?

    I had to fight for an appeal, not only that I wish I had the capability to record phone-calls, cause one that sticks out, when I sent documents to PIP I knew they had them as I sent all documents signed for. I contacted them and I asked if they received my documents, to be told Yes!, our specialists are looking over them, we'll be in-touch. I thought great.

    Didn't hear anything for couple weeks, I phoned them up again, stated last time I was on the phone you or your colleague said that your specialists are looking over my paper work. To be told, we don't have specialists just health advisers. So I said erm I was told specialists are looking over my condition, now your saying health advisers are, do they have the qualification of both my Heart specialists. Then I just got told sorry  I don't make the rules, a latter will be sent out.

    I'm 35, and I struggle with daily living due to my heart condition, I've seen older and younger people in worse condition and been refused PIP.

    The Sad thing is... a close friend who became ill with cancer and didn't have long to live, she was awarded PIP, and her words, she said, so you've to be on your death bed before they award you PIP. Although she put in joking way, as that type of person she was, but, in reality she was right.
  • susan48
    susan48 Member Posts: 2,222 Disability Gamechanger
    @MrLomas,
    You can appeal to the upper tribunal after an appeal has failed, I’m sure.
    Glad your going to CAB and I’d take everything with you.
    Sorry about your friend, I hope your managing to cope ok.

    I  don’t and probably never will understand the process of PIP.

    Something really needs to change, 69% of appeals are successful, says to me, it’s not working.

    you sadly have been through all this and are not any further forward, there’s been , by the sounds of it, lots of errors in the handling of this for you. 

    Maybe the call call you made was recorded at the DWP end???

  • Holz
    Holz Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Im sorry that your going through this process which is stressful and not helpful as does mess up your life I was on high rate mobility and standard care, and was put onto standard care but no mobility. I recently had my appeal and luckily I did win. 

    When I had my assessment I asked the person what qualifications did she have but I was told she didn't need to tell me. During the assessment she refused to see any of my medical documents, we had to spell out my conditions to her and I asked her if she knew what they meant and I was ignored. Even my husband was angry by the end of it. She told me that if I actually restarted physio that I could be walking within a year, although I was sat in my wheelchair and have very limited movement in  my right leg. When I received the letter she had really twisted everything I said.

    When I appealed I got back the same thing again that they agreed with my assessment. At that point I sent in with the appeal 20 letters from professionals that I am under. Yet they still said no. Luckily for me I didn't have a car through mobility as if did I wouldn't be able to do anything. I then have waited 16 months for it to go to tribunal.

    When I went in before I said anything the Judge apologised to me and said the fact I had so much medical evidence from all my consultants that it should never of gone that far. When he asked me about how I found the process etc once I explained how much stress it has been which without my husband I wouldn't of got through it. He apologised again and put me back on high rate mobility. 

    The most advice I can give is reappeal the decision and get as many letters from doctors and other professionals that you see and send them in. Although they say they ask for letters from doctors, they may ask once but not chase them. Where I asked and kept contacting them until I got the letters I needed. And the last bit, when you have appointments ask for copies of the letter sent to your GP, and then keep all medical letters together in a folder that way you have the information on hand!!

    Good Luck to everyone fighting for their PIP, I know its not been an easy process but don't let them win!!
  • MrLomas
    MrLomas Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thankyou Susan48, I will see what CAB say.. but I feel as though I might have to re-start fresh claim.

    I'm very glad you won your appeal Holz, I too felt the assessor didn't have clue what was actually wrong with me.  when I was on the phone to PIP stating contact my specialist they'll be more than happy to tell you my condition. To be told, it's not for us to-do so. Yet in some case they have contact GP or specialists.

    This has been my first ever appeal, and by-heck it's been stressful one, I would not of thought I would of been going through this, but seen the amount of people that has gone through this stressful/upsetting ordeal is shocking.

    I know of people who went for appeal, and lost, but was instructed to just re apply, some where awarded others where not.

    With the women telling me to put fresh claim in, really has got me wondering,
    ( I could be wrong) but is possible that maybe been 2 votes to 1? or not work like that?. I will be going CAB tomorrow, will let people know what they say.

    As Holz says, Good Luck to everyone fighting for their PIP, I know its not an easy process and is very stressful, but don't let them win.




  • sandyp196
    sandyp196 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    Oh my gosh I'm so sorry this happened to you and your wife. 
  • sandyp196
    sandyp196 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    I don't know anything about the mechanics of pip. But isn't it better to appeal your present claim rather than put in a new claim?. If you win your present appeal you will get reimbursed your back pay.  If you put in a new claim and are successful you will onky get the payment from the decision.  
    I think starting new claims suits the dwp as it saves them money.  
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,748 Listener
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  • MrLomas
    MrLomas Member Posts: 4 Listener
    @sandyp196

    I will ask at CAB tomorrow.

    From what I've seen, if you appealed and lost, It will be easier hopefully less stressful to make new claim, I've seen people make new claim and be awarded straight away.
    I know everyone's case is different, but this for me has gone on for too long.
    If I had won my appeal, I would of been owed a-lot back-dated money, and I agree it suits DWP for folk to just roll-over. I've fought with them for about 19months and its just ridicules, how they are treating people.

    All I can say, is best of luck for people that are still fighting. :)




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