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My mum’s PIP tribunal is in 2 weeks, any advice?

amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
edited May 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hello, my mum lost her high rate mobility (and therefore her car) and high rate care in September, and has been housebound ever since she lost her car. She relies on other people to take her to the shops as she doesn’t have the money for taxi’s and cannot use buses as the vibrations and jolts give her pain as she has fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, poly arthritis, audio-processing disorder, schuermann’s disease (curvature of the spine), depression and anxiety and a problem with swallowing food. I believe she has other conditions too but I cannot remember these. She cannot walk without crutches and has had to start using a wheelchair (which I push) to get her around places. She walks with a walking stick in the house, and struggles to bathe, dress herself, can only cook prepared meals, cannot budget finances correctly, she has urniary incontinence issues, forgets to take medication due to APD and fibromyalgia. She also struggles to remember many things and can no longer understand many words/ pieces of information due to APD. My mum has severe anxiety and struggles when meeting people, also because she fears people judge her on her disabilities, and cannot go anywhere unfamiliar unaccompanied. 
My mum has had to stop going to voluntary groups she used to help run which was for people with mental health issues, and she can no longer attend bible study groups nor church as she is a strong Christian. 
My mum’s tribunal is in two weeks, and I am accompanying her to it. We are both nervous wrecks as we do not know what will happen. The assessor last year lied an awful lot on her assessment notes that we received. 
Unfortunately my mum can not get a doctor’s letter as our doctor refuses this - he does not believe people should have to pay for these and flat out refuses to help. My mum also has a scrape and clean done on her knee many years ago at a different surgery - scans show my mum has only mild arthritis, however, after the surgery, they saw chronic arthritis that didn’t show on the scans and had to remove over half of her knee cap, however upon requesting this record it has apparently gotten lost and so have no evidence to back this claim up.
My mum has had thoughts of suicide because of being housebound and has said she feels as though these thoughts would be recurring if the tribunal was to go against her.
Is there any advice based upon this information provided on what to do etc?  
Please help. Thank you so much for reading. 


  • debsidoodebsidoo Member Posts: 327 Pioneering
    Hi amy798.
    My advice would be to make sure you are prepared.Gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible.This can include statements from any healthcare professionals you are involved with,carers physiotherapists etc.
    I know it sounds difficult but try to stay calm,as the calmer you are the more likely you will be able to explain things fully.
    If a wheelchair is normally used then use it.If crutches are normally used then use them. Some things may be embarrassing but remember the tribunal are used to hearing about all types of issues so do explain fully and give examples of all difficulties and how it impacts on her daily life where you can.Remember it’s not just about if she can do things,it’s whether she can do them Safely,To a reasonable standard and in a Timely manner.If doing something takes more than twice as long as an able bodied person takes to achieve then it is not a reasonable standard.Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    Thank you for your reply, just very nervous about what could happen/if my mum doesn’t get her full PIP reinstated x
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Disability Rights UK site (DR) has a good guide to all stages of PIP, and their Disability Rights Handbook has a good section on PIP appeal hearings.  Available from DR site price £18.50 or might be available in your local reference library.
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    Thank you, I will have to let her know about that so she can take a look. Thank you 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    If you haven't already done it, I'd recommend going through the PIP self-test & answering it for or with your mum.

    At the tribunal, your mum will be asked about things she can & cannot do. Think about what points she should get and why. The tribunal will have a judge, a medical member & a disability member. They will mostly want to talk to your mum, but they should allow you to say what you feel needs to be added. Don't worry too much about the lack of medical evidence, but if it comes up, do explain why the assessment report is inaccurate. Evidence from your mum's everyday life is relevant, so it may be worth keeping a diary over the next couple of weeks, to have that all clear in your mind.

    Debsidoo's advice about whether your mum can do things safely, in a reasonable time, to a reasonable standard & repeatedly (where needed) is all very relevant, and I second Matilda's recommendation - the disability rights handbook is excellent.

    Good luck Amy. Let us know how it goes.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Laura99Laura99 Member Posts: 62 Courageous
    Hello. I had a tribunal two weeks ago and I was successful. My PIP has now been backdated to the date when I claimed it, which is a year ago.

    'Hidden' disabilities, such as pain and anxiety, must be emphasised to the panel. Remember that the panel are NOT the DWP, nor do they represent the DWP. The panel consists of a judge, a doctor and a disabled person. They are there to see if the assessment your mum had was correct.

    Almost 70% of appeals now are successful, which is rather embarrassing for the DWP.

    My own assessment for PIP (when I finally read it) was a farrago of nonsense and did not reflect my problems at all. I did feel that the assessor thought I was lying.

    It is completely normal to feel highly anxious about tribunals. 

    Make a list of reasons why you and your mother feel that she should get particular points.

    I made my list and submitted it to the tribunal in advance, posting it recorded delivery, to ensure that it really arrived.

    I also had a welfare rights advisor with me. She didn't think I would be successful, which was depressing.

    In fact, I did begin to wonder if I would be better off going it alone. However, she did write an excellent submission to the panel for me.

    I think the best advice I can give is for you to remember that the panel need to know about things that are difficult 50% of the time. There isn't any point in exaggerating. Just be honest. It sounds like your mother has been through an awful time.

    Wishing you all the best. Let us know how it goes.
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry to butt in, is it two weeks notice you get? 
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    Thank you to everyone who’s replied, it’s making a huge difference in keeping our spirits up. I will let everyone know how we get on. 
    Debbiedo49 we got about 5 week’s notice, but they have to let you know at least 2 week’s in advance I believe at a minimum. We found out online that you can call the courts to see when roughly they believe your tribunal will be x
  • ChrisK2ChrisK2 Member Posts: 8 Connected

    @debbiedo49,  If you mean how much noticed you get once everything is in place for a tribunal then yes it is or was in my case just over two weeks ago, two week or not much longer than that.

    To the OP, what I did on taking advice was to take your bundle that you have from the tribunal court services and mark any pages you want to draw reference to (put a sticky tab on the page with a little reference note on the tab) and remember the tribunal would have read most, if not all of your notes there in anyways.

    That said with my bundle firmly in my wife’s hand we never got to refer back to anything in the bundle because everything is verbal in the court itself and basically they will ask how your disability is effecting you every day and to explain how it effects you and believe you me, it’s hard trying to explain, in my case, how I walk because I sometimes wonder myself how I manage to walk the little distance I can do. They will not try to catch you out however unlike the DWP assessors as their on nobodies side but just want to get to the truth.

    It’s no good me saying try not to worry because that’s impossible, I’ve been in that place for 7 months and done that, but now you’ve got a date for tribunal you can get all this emotion and sleepless nights behind you after that date.

    Best of luck at the tribunal.


  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    I am bricking it, no date yet.
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • ChrisK2ChrisK2 Member Posts: 8 Connected

    @Laura99, That’s a good point you’ve made there and I quote you “I made my list and submitted it to the tribunal in advance, posting it recorded delivery, to ensure that it really arrived.”

    In my case the MR was well and truly over and the dust had settled on the tribunal going ahead for sure but a local advisor said to me sometimes it worth sending a letter one last time as it were, to the DWP out lining why they have got things oh so wrong.

    For example, I had a late letter from my GP backing up my case and I sent it to the DWP marked “for your attention”, now bearing in mind the tribunal had been set in stone but no date for a case I sent another letter a few days later saying “you seemed to have over looked the letter from my GP as I’ve heard nothing from you” etc etc, but I knew they would not response because as far as they were concerned it was going to tribunal so nothing more needs to be said.

    A couple of more days go by and I get a letter with my GP’s letter and my “for your attention” letter I sent to DWP back from the tribunal courts services with the letters now numbered into the bundle and told to put these letter into the back of my bundled.

    So what this has done in my view is pointing out to the tribunal no matter what I say, what evidence I put forward they are taking no notice of it.

    Just to add the letter from my GP that I had photo copied with little degradation had a stamp on the letter from DWP to the courts saying more or less they could not read it but again I had a copy of that letter sent to the DWP from the tribunal courts saying more or less that was nonsense and that the court could read it perfectly well and ordering the DWP to resent the letter without the rubber stamp on it.

    Phew, I don’t half go on.


  • veritercveriterc Member Posts: 204 Pioneering
    This may sound very basic, but if you haven't already done this, get a large sheet of card and carefully write headings of your Mother's main problems.  Holding a list in your hand gives you a good prompt, makes sure you have covered everything, and you could get an official to photo-copy it and hand it out to the tribunal.  And good luck.   
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    @ChrisK2 I understand from talking to my mum how difficult it is to explain your illness in detail and without being stuck to put things into words and sentences. How did you do at your tribunal? It just shows that DWP really don’t care about people who have illnesses and their struggles. There was an article on the news I saw today about a man with MS and DWP were spying on him, and no matter what his doctor tried to say to DWP, the DWP turned around and said that what the GP was saying was merely an opinion. It’s horrendous how they are treating people. But thank you so much for what you have said. 
    @veriterc although it is simple, it may be effective as my mum really struggles now with complex things mainly due to a combination of APD and her fibromyalgia so thank you so much x
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,591 Disability Gamechanger
    1) Concentrate wholly on what you were like on the date of claim.

    2) There are no “trick” questions. Tribunals are usually listed 20 minutes apart so, apart from the appeal papers, they need questions which cut across lots of functions. So the car question is brilliant because it indicates grip; mobility; dexterity; the ability to do something repeatedly; concentration and stamina. Instead of thinking negatively about such stuff think about what they’re getting at and your answers will be much better and more detailed. Similar questions include whether you’ve been on holiday recently. It feeds into mobility (getting across an airport); stamina; the ability to cope alone; the need for aids and appliances.

    3) There are no set rules or order for a hearing beyind the requirement that it must be seen to be fair. 

    4) Watch the judge’s pen. All three members may take notes but only the judge writes a record of proceedings. If you don’t want them to miss anything then remember that they can’t write as fast as you can speak, so watch their pen and slow down. Don’t worry about going too slow. They will tell you if you do.

    5) Never interrupt any tribunal member. It is perfectly okay to challenge them provided it’s not rude or aggressive. However, think about whether what you’re challenging them on is directly related to points. If it’s not then better to focus on points. This is especially important because loads of people second guess the demeanour of tribunal members as determining whether they are pro or against and it’s largely nonsense. An aggressive, challenging member may well just be a poor communicator and wholly on your side right up to the point you challenge them etc.

    6) Get yourself a representative and travel to the venue by whatever means makes you feel comfortable. It’s only ever an issue if you don’t explain what you did in full and if doing so contradicts your other evidence in some way for daily living and /or mobility.

    7) Same goes for clothes. You need to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re not relaxed then the likelihood of you presenting well are much reduced. Dressing down is not a good idea unless that all you can afford. A person who feels naked without make-up or a suit abd tie will similarly be over stressed if they try to pretend they’re in their comfort zone dressing down. 

    8) Other people’s tribunal experience can be valuable but it’s just that. Their experience. If they lost then it’s the tribunal to blame. If they win they everything they did is why they won and what you must do. The truth is usually very much in between.

    9) Know your case. What points are you going for and why. What’s your evidence? “The HCP was a liar” is neither evidence nor a winning strategy. Also, know the appeal papers. What’s where. 

    10) Do not be tempted to claim you’ve worsened since the date of claim. That’s a recipe for a failed appeal and an invitation to make another claim. Even if you have got worse always concentrate on your date of claim and what you were like then.
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    @mikehughescq my mum’s condition means she only worsens and doesn’t get better so concentrating on what she was like at the time of her assessment is hopefully not too much, but depends on whether she can remember now any details.  But over the next week we will try to gather some notes on everything. Thank you for your reply though as everything you said seems quite straightforward but jus the stress of everything. Thank you so much though 
  • Laura99Laura99 Member Posts: 62 Courageous
    I am quite sure that the panel will be able to recognise that your mother has difficulty remembering things. 

    In some ways it really is straightforward. But you will feel very anxious no matter how much you prepare for the hearing.

    The one thing that helped me was knowing that the panel did not represent the DWP. In fact, they themselves emphasised that to me on the day of my hearing.

    What gets me is that such a high percentage of decisions are overturned on appeal. It does leave me wondering how many people simply don't bother with appeals and how many of them would have been successful.

    I am still waiting for the DWP to get in touch, of course. I did ring them but I got the usual rude person (they must hand-pick them) telling me that there was no information about my award of PIP on their system.

    I am very interested to know how your mother's tribunal goes.

  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    @Laura99 thank you. My mum wants to start a petition about PIP assessments and how they are unfair and leave the ones who are being assessed feeling vulnerable and embarrassed, let alone judged. I’m very glad you were able to be successful in your appeal and wish you all the best. I will let everyone know how it goes x
  • Laura99Laura99 Member Posts: 62 Courageous
    I actually wrote on my submission to the tribunal that I thought that the assessor had thought that I was lying in order to get PIP.

    I have read quite a few people's stories about tribunals and many of them describe feeling disbelieved by the DWP assessors.

    My own assessment stated that I could walk briskly. I did point out that the assessor had not walked anywhere with me, so she was not in any position to judge how I walked.

    I would be supportive of your mother's petition.
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    @Laura99 yes my mum’s assessor claimed that because she apparently saw my mum walk across the living room using a walking stick, she said that she could walk 50m; our living room is only 16ft at most. Thank you, I will post a link to it on here when she begins one.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    My assessor claimed that because she watched me walk 16m waiting area to interview room then I must be able to walk 20-50m outdoors.  In my appeal submission I argued that this was a preposterous extrapolation and at tribunal I was awarded enhanced mobility.
  • Laura99Laura99 Member Posts: 62 Courageous

    The trouble the DWP have created for themselves by using ATOS & Co. must be coming back to haunt them.
  • amy798amy798 Member Posts: 29 Connected
    @Matilda Congratulations on your tribunal, I’m so happy for you. The amount of experiences I’ve read on PIP assessments is unbelievable in how Atos and Capita have treated disabled people. It makes people believe that others don’t see their problems and probably makes them feel so embarrassed and ashamed, let alone vulnerable. My mum has said that that is what she has felt. Hopefully the panel recognise her illnesses on Thursday. 
    @Laura99 it must be - also very embarrassing for them to say the least.
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