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PIP tribunal and DWP requesting a statement of reason

Suzielou1973Suzielou1973 Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited June 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
Help needed- PIP process and tribunal hearing 

Dear all, 

I wanted some advise,

I originally applied for PIP in April 2017, this followed an assessment with CAPITA which resulted in me being awarded 0 points for both elements of PIP. At this stage no medical evidence was provided in application and the decision was based on my medical assessment with CAPITA where the nurse in the assessment re-asked me the questions on the original PIP questionnaire. No physical examination was made of me as I was in too much pain at the time. 

This was followed by a mandatory reconciliation in which I submitted 279 of pieces of medical evidence detailing all my medical conditions and how they affect my day to day life. This included letters and Medical information from all my medical specialists. 

I received a decision from PIP in August 2017 awarding me 6 points for the daily living aspect of PIP and 4 points for Mobility aspect so I was not awarded PIP again on this occasion. 

This was followed by me submitting a request to appeal against the decision by PIP at tribunal, I waited from August 2017 until May 2018. In the tribunal I was represented and advised by an advisor from FRU who submitted submissions prior to my hearing. I arrived at the court on 24th May 2018 with my Representive from FRU it so happened that on this day the DWP representative missed his train and he wasn’t supposed to be in my hearing but due to his train situation he attended my tribunal hearing and sat next me in the court hearing there was also my representative but I was asked questions and no one could speak on my behalf which was very uncomfortable and caused me tremendous anxiety and stress  in an already highly stressful situation. This was not what I expected to happen. But it this was also part of my ordeal which lasted over 3 and half hours. A decision was made on the day. 
 
 I can only describe the tribunal hearing as  horrendous and the ordeal lasted three and half hours and I received the decision to award me PIP daily living allowance at the enhanced rate but nothing for the mobility aspect just the same 4 points I had been awarded previously by PIP. 

I felt so  relieved and a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. I couldn’t believe this ordeal was over! I have been suffering with severe anxiety/ panic attacks and depression and I also have  sciatica and several bulging discs in my back which cause me chronic pain and  restricts my movement and ability to walk. I was surprised to be awarded daily living allowance at the enhanced rate and nothing for my mobility more than the 4 points previously awarded. But I was happy it was all finally over and I would finally get some help financially and be able to move forward with my life and help me manage my conditions and have a better standard of living. My award was for two years only and I had already lost over one year of my claim and would have only ten months until this process would need to be started again! Having said that I felt relieved and happy that I would receive my back pay from April 2017 and receive the money monthly for the next 10 months. 

My medical conditions have worsened since my original application and the stress of the whole PIP process and other personal and medical issues have meant that I have lost my job through this whole process and have been having a nervous breakdown for over 7 months now. My quality of life has decreased severely since my original application and things have got much worse in my life. 

Today I received a letter from PIP stating they are not going to pay me my award and have asked the court for a statement of reasons on my tribunal decision.

 I am in complete shock and disbelief that this is happening to me again! After everything I have been through now I am going to have additional anxiety and destress from something that I didn’t think could be happening! I feel this is such a cruel way to treat people. I have followed the process and waited a tremendous amount of time for my tribunal hearing as it stands already. The way I was treated at the tribunal was less than desirable and I didn’t feel that the judge, and two medical practitioners where in anyway on my side or gave me an easy ride in fact completely the opposite. I wasn’t a criminal case but I felt as though I was Interrogated, repeatedly questioned and given a very difficult time during the whole tribunal hearing. I was in tears and very anxious and distressed throughout. 

I have extremely bad anxiety and depression and I don’t feel that any exceptions were made towards my treatment during my hearing. 

 I have extreme financial issues and the thought of getting this money with the back pay would have solved a  multitude of my financial issues. 
I truly do not know how much more I can take regarding this situation and I would appreciate some sound advise on what I can do next. 

The letter from PIP was dated 24/05 the date of my appeal so I am not sure how much thought was put into this from their part regarding appealing against the decision. I feel the DWP Representive was typing this up as I sat next to him in court. I do not know what the next steps are regarding this and I have left a voicemail and sent an email and text  to FRU to call me with some advise.

 No one advised me this could even be an option and after the three and half hour hearing where quit frankly I was  humiliated degraded bullied and subjected to what I can only described as a criminal trail having to justify my illnesses and putting me through more stress and anxiety and pain in my back. I seriously thought this  was all over and done with for at least the next ten months anyways. 

I am at a complete loss of what to do next in the letter it states that following the statement of reasons from the tribunal court PIP will decided if they want to appeal against the decision and than this will be sent to the upper court and the decision could take several months before the tribunal is heard.

 In the meantime I am entitled to no money from the DWP.  This is all additional stress and anxiety for me to go through and I just don’t understand how the government can treat disabled people in this way. 

I really need some legal advise on what to do next?

 I have made a call to PIP this morning to ask them why this is happening and they have explained that this is their right to request a statement of reasons same as if my appeal wasn’t successful I would also have this right to appeal against the decision. The DWP stated I have no right to appeal this process further and advise me to speak to my local authorities for a hardship loan. This is far from what I could foresee happening after everything. 

I honestly do not think that the judge wanted to award me PIP and stated that due to the medical evidence supplied by me it was difficult not award me the advanced PIP award but felt that I couldn’t clearly demonstrate the fact that I couldn’t walk more than 50 metres therefore left the point originally awarded by PIP for the mobility element the same. 

Please some with legal knowledge please help me out here. 

Kind Regards 

Replies

  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Suzielou1973, welcome to the community! It's great to have you here.

    Thanks for sharing this with us- I'm so sorry to hear that you're feeling worried about what happens next. If it's any reassurance, this sort of thing happens in many cases and it isn't just a case of singling you out, but I'm tagging in @mikehughescq and @CockneyRebel, who may be able to explain this process, and what happens next, better than me. 

    If we can be of any assistance in the meantime, just let us know. You can also contact our helpline at 0808 800 3333 if you feel you'd like to speak to somebody on the phone. Wishing you all the best!
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,003 Disability Gamechanger
    Okay then. Well from the top.

    1) You should not have expected a medical examination at your face to face assessment. They should only be done in the absence of up to date functional information. Assessors do functionally test routinely but people need to refuse consent and actively challenge this. In your case there was no functional assessment and I consider that a good thing.

    2) There’s no way around saying this but you have done yourself a gross disservice by submitting 279 pieces of medical evidence. I have represented on cases which have gone on all day and have included appeal papers which ran to 500 pages or more but never in 3 decades have I come across a statement like that, Frankly, if your diagnosis and symptoms are not in dispute then you don’t need anything medical to back them up. PIP is about the functional consequences of your conditions not the conditions themselves and the best evidence of that is not medical but anecdotal and story based. If you are to take this forward then you need to narrow down your medical evidence to no more than 5 to 10 documents at most and that’s being generous. 

    3) That most likely explains why the tribunal hearing took that length of time. PIP would ordinarily be 40 minutes plus a delay for a decision. However unpleasant your tribunal, it appears in part self-inflicted. No tribunal can seriously be expected to wade through that much evidence. Criticism of the outcome is harsh under the circumstances. I have considerable sympathy for the panel in these circumstances. Their job was near impossible. It should also be said that all three on the panel make a decision. Not just the judge. Indeed the judge can be over-ruled with a minority decision albeit that this is rare.

    4) A DWP presenting officer would always sit next to you at an appeal with your rep. on the other side. That is a good thing as it shows legally they have no more rights than you and, in practice, unless they were the actual decision maker (which nowadays they never are) then they actually have less. They’re no part of the decision making on the day so where on earth did you think they were going to sit? 

    It’s also worth saying that having a PO turn up is no bad thing at all. It gives the tribunal one less get out clause for an adjournment and generally speaking the level of knowledge of the law and case law is negligible so their presence if anything would antagonise the panel and help you. 

    However, there is no way that the PO would have been typing anything in the hearing itself and it’s not their decision as to whether to request a statement of reasons and record of proceedings. Legal section do that alone. 

    5) I am sorry you were not aware where the PO would sit nor that the DWP have the same appeal rights as you outside the tribunal room. These are matters to take up with your representative. Bear in mind that the self same SOR and ROP can now also be used by you to make an argument for an error of law at Upper Tribunal and that in turn may return your appeal to a First tier appeal that could rehear your case and, given the opportunity to view a sensible volume of evidence, could make the award you think you’re entitled to. What you’re seeing as wholly negative is only what your representative would have done if you wanted to pursue the matter further and seeing as it sounds like you doI don’t see the issue.

    You make no mention of having been in receipt of DLA previously so I assume this was a new claim to PIP. Therefore, whilst you are not being paid at present, this does not appear to be money you have ever had. It will be a bonus rather than a restoration. 

    6) You may well be right that little thought has been put into their request. There is some evidence that this is happening with lots of enhanced rate only awards. See the Benefits and Work and DNS web sites for more information on that. However, unfortunately, the volume of evidence you put in made it much easier for them to claim the decision contains an error of law. Most decision do but in being asked to weigh 279 pieces of evidence; a HCP report, claim pack and your verbal evidence any tribunal would be hard pressed to make a well balanced justifiable and legal decision. 

    7) The refusal to pay is an interesting one. From a moral perspective most people, if it was someone else we were talking about, would be outraged if DWP paid up whilst there was a chance the money could be being overpaid. You can almost see the headlines about “bureaucracy gone mad” now. 

    On the other hand the legal position is that the tribunal decision is currently the only one in existence and until it ceases to exist then it should be acted upon and put into payment. The best most decisive way to do that is to issue a letter before action. As you already have a representative then you should go back to them and ask them to address the matter. I have to say I would have some sympathy if they advised against simply because having an SOR and ROP where you disagree with the decision is the route you’d have ultimately gone down. 

    8) Finally, I should say that

    a) if you have a representative then you either go back to that representative for further advice or, if not happy, you go elsewhere. A web forum is not the place to seek advice of this sort. You will note I make no comment on the advice or representation you have received at all. 

    b) There is a potentially salutary lesson in your case for other claimants who believe they must qualify for PIP because of the weight of medical evidence. 

    Please accept my apologies for any perceived harshness of tone. I felt it best to cut straight to the chase here. 
  • Suzielou1973Suzielou1973 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    edited May 2018

    Thanks for your advise 

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 9 Listener
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  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Sometimes offering a spoonful of sugar will take away the impact of the advice.
    Sometimes it is always best to get the bad news out first then offer some advice on how to deal with the fall out later.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 9 Listener
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,003 Disability Gamechanger
    Hmm. Welcome to the forum!!!

    To be clear then, you’ve joined this forum today; done a search and decided to resurrect a thread last posted on 8 months ago. Your post then immediately breaches forum guidelines by commenting on the poster not the post. You’ll forgive me if I don’t take you seriously. Trolling is not welcome here.

    Until Scope lift the limit of 5 people who can be added to the Ignore list I guess I’m stuck with this kind of thing but, for the record...

    The OP asked for advice. Neither they nor anyone else took issue with the response. Indeed other threads at the time commented on the post as an example of what not to do on an appeal. 

    As your concern appears to considerably exceed that of others on here may I suggest you take the paragraph which most offends you from my previous post and rewrite it in full here to show how you would have been “diplomatic”.

    I look forward to it. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 9 Listener
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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 9 Listener
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  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger

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