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P.I.P. Tribunal hearing

clapton16 Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited December 2017 in PIP, DLA, and AA

I have just spent the best part of a year going through the whole P.I.P. process, which included the application form, and the face to face assessment, which was a farce as the assessor totally twisted everything I said and made up or lied about crucial points. He said he carried out a physical examination which he didn't. The outcome of this was that I was awarded the standard rate of P.I.P. for both components even though I was on both the high rates of DLA previously. Needless to say I was very upset about this, especially about the unfair assessment which  was in fact was carried out by a nurse with no specialist training or understanding of a complex illness. Also the fact that the DWP didn't contact my GP for any medical history, and relied solely on the dodgy assessment was very worrying.

Consequently, I applied for a mandatory reconsideration which is the next procedure. This was then refused by the DWP, and I then appealed to the tribunal. My post today is regarding my tribunal experience, which took place this morning.

After a year of fighting and the stress and upset this has caused, the tribunal this morning was without doubt the most horrendous experience I think I have ever gone through since my illness began about 20 years ago. The tribunal consisted of three people, a doctor, a judge, and a disability specialist in daily living. They proceeded to systematically go through my whole claim and attempted to humiliate me. They questioned me for 45 minutes on every aspect of my claim. Their questioning was aggressive and intimidating, and they constantly went back trying to trip me up in some way. After the doctor had finished questioning me, he sat for the rest of the time with a smirk on his face which was very intimidating and unsettling. They managed to make me feel a complete fool and worthless. I went into the tribunal fairly confident that I could put my case across fairly and persuade them to award me the enhanced rates after all, but I came out feeling demoralised and not knowing if I would keep my award at all. Apart from my physical disabilities I have suffered from anxiety and depression for many years. I went into this tribunal at least being able to speak coherently, but I came out stuttering, which I have never done in my life. My daughter, who is my carer and who was with me this morning, was devastated by my treatment, but was told by the judge not to speak or interrupt or prompt me at any stage as the tribunal was about me and not her. I don't hold out much hope of a successful conclusion for me, but I just wanted to at least let other people know what may be in store for them if this is in fact the normal way a tribunal operates.

Still trying to recover at this point.



  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @clapton16
    Welcome to the community and thank you for sharing your tribunal experience, I am so sorry to hear that you found it so traumatic, it sounds very upsetting.

    There are so many members here who have been through the appeal process and understand where you are coming from, so do reach out and connect with them. 

    I wish you all the luck for a happy outcome from this.  If you aren't you can make a further appeal but it is a complex thing to do and you would need legal advice.

    We have a video about this here

    Senior online community officer
  • clapton16
    clapton16 Member Posts: 4 Listener

    Hi Sam,

    Thank you for your message. I have received my letter this morning and my appeal has been refused. My original award still stands and they haven't taken any points away from me, which is what I thought might happen. Yes, I am very disappointed, as they have ignored my serious misgivings about the lies and false assumptions made by the assessor at the face to face assessment, but I am thankful that I have still got my original award. I'm back to where I started. I don't think it was worth the trauma that they put me through though yesterday. I probably won't pursue this any further as the stress it causes is too much. Thanks anyway Sam.

  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    I am really sorry to hear that @clapton16 :(
    Senior online community officer
  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Steve

    How long is your award for ?

    Far to many people have bad experiances with assessors as you have had. Unfortunately Tribunals are not interested in persuing these assessors, the main focus of a tribunal is to establish how your condition  affects you and this is what claimants should focus on, showing that they meet the criteria for an award.

    This in no way excuses the terrible treatment you received

    Complaints about assessors should be made to the assessment provider as a separate issue and I would urge you to do so.

    It is never to soon to start preparing for your next assessment, which normally happens a year before your award ends. It is important to understand the points system, descriptors and the criteria for a PIP award which is different to a DLA award


    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • trevor
    trevor Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I Know what you are going through I was in the same position with regard to my mobility allowance which was not at the higher rate this was decided by the dhss in there assessment which I replied to they was insistent that i could walk more than 20 yards and disallowed my  living allowance these people should be stopped and educated in the way they make there decisions apparently 98% of appeals go through mine did and I count myself lucky all they are is penny pinching from the true honest claimants. I am sorry for you with the way you were treated but dont give up go for it again and be strong get help as well.
    Trevor Ray
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2017
    I am sorry you had such a bad experience, @clapton16.

    PIP tribunal hearings are supposed to be inquisitorial.  Unfortunately, this does come as a shock to many appellants.  Disability Rights (DR) site publishes a benefits Handbook with a good section on appeal hearings.  Price £15 from DR site.

    The doc at my hearing was a bit of a smart alec but I stood up to him.  The other two panel members were more reasonable.  Luckily, I was awarded enhanced both elements, up from standard both elements after assessment.

    Here's what I posted after my tribunal hearing:

    "Had my Hearing today and have been awarded enhanced daily living and enhanced mobility; indefinite award.

    Tips?   Have your wits about you and be prepared for a grilling; and have thorough medical evidence even if it's not recent.

    The only medical evidence I had was the DWP doctor's report and my GP's report from 1998 (both very thorough) when I was awarded DLA highest rates both components indefinitely.

    The other two tribunal members weren't too bad - but the doctor asked some probing questions.  Asked for how long I could walk (time).  The Atos assessor asked that, too.  Although of course PIP points are supposed to be awarded for distance, not time (or so I thought).

    Doc also asked how did I know I could only walk 20 yards?  Had I ever measured it?  I replied no, it was an estimate based on experience of distances.

    The judge, doctor (as well as the Atos assessor) all seemed to think that ability to drive indicates a low level of disability.  Which is nonsense.  What's the point of Motability, then?  And many disabled people would be housebound without a car.  

    I only take two, maybe three, round trips of 12 miles or less a week; I find driving long distances tiring.  I wouldn't advise any claimant to state that they do a lot of driving, especially longer distances."

  • clapton16
    clapton16 Member Posts: 4 Listener

    Hi Matilda,

    Thanks for your message. There are so many people that seem to have had a similar experience to me. I am considering making a formal complaint to Atos about my face to face assessment and the lies in the report which are mind blowing.

    My Tribunal appeal was refused. I had the letter this morning, so I still have my original award of the standard rate for both components, which I strongly disagree with. I am adamant that they have made a mistake, as I have an absolute mountain of medical evidence which they have ignored. This is a crazy unfair system.

    Thanks again for your interest.


  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger

    Hi Steve

    You could appeal to a UTT if the FTT has made an error of law but probably only an organisation like the CAB or similar would be able to determine this.  

    If you want to look for a possible error of law, I suggest you ask in Ask a benefits advisor category what are your next steps.

  • clapton16
    clapton16 Member Posts: 4 Listener

    Thanks Matilda.



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