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Bad experience at tribunal - Im desperate for help

gchgch Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited November 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
This is my first time on here and am desperate for help. I had my PIP tribunal last week and had a representative with me. When I first went in the committee said they had some concerns regarding one of my appeals but didn’t say which one, they just stated clauses and numbers from their papers.

My representative didn’t have a clue what she was talking about and seemed to be extremely anxious of what to say or do next. It got to the stage where the judge asked if he had anyone in his office he could talk to for advice. We had to leave the room so my representative could phone his office. I told him right from the start I didn’t want to appeal my care component and only wanted to appeal my mobility.

The clerk came through to see if we were ready to go back in and my representative said yes, without discussing the conversation he just had with his office to me. When I went back in, the committee asked me so many questions re my care and mobility which I answered but I felt they kept pushing me for a different answer.

For instance, I told them that I have some form of eating disorder as food is not an issue to me and I would only eat when prompted. They asked if I could boil and egg and I told them that I wouldn’t eat anything if my daughter, who is my carer, wasn’t there. They kept pushing me asking if I could do this task even thought I kept telling the. That my daughter and husband do the cooking.

By this time, I’ve been in the room for over an hour and in an immense amount of pain and just want to go home. My representative sat there and never opened his mouth in support throughout the whole process. I eventually said that I probably could boil and egg just to shut them up and stop asking about it.

I ended up coming out of the hearing worse off than I went in. I lost my care component so now my daughter has lost her care component and my mobility stayed at the standard rate. I’m in constant pain before I even put one foot in front of the other and told them that the distance I can walk is irrelevant as I’m in constant pain all the time.

I have degenerative disc disease in my back as well as arthritis. I also have arthritis in my fingers and wrists and have a knee condition also where my kneecap hasn’t grown over my knee properly. Is it possible to get another hearing on the basis that my representative was so inexperienced (he’s only attended 1 hearing before mine but told me he had done several).

The committee certainly noticed he was inexperienced so I feel they should have adjourned my case so I could get a representative who was experienced enough to help me through the hearing. If anyone can give me advice or help, I’d really appreciate it.

gch

Replies

  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    gch said:
    This is my first time on here and am desperate for help. I had my PIP tribunal last week and had a representative with me. When I first went in the committee said they had some concerns regarding one of my appeals but didn’t say which one, they just stated clauses and numbers from their papers.

    My representative didn’t have a clue what she was talking about and seemed to be extremely anxious of what to say or do next. It got to the stage where the judge asked if he had anyone in his office he could talk to for advice. We had to leave the room so my representative could phone his office. I told him right from the start I didn’t want to appeal my care component and only wanted to appeal my mobility.

    The clerk came through to see if we were ready to go back in and my representative said yes, without discussing the conversation he just had with his office to me. When I went back in, the committee asked me so many questions re my care and mobility which I answered but I felt they kept pushing me for a different answer.

    For instance, I told them that I have some form of eating disorder as food is not an issue to me and I would only eat when prompted. They asked if I could boil and egg and I told them that I wouldn’t eat anything if my daughter, who is my carer, wasn’t there. They kept pushing me asking if I could do this task even thought I kept telling the. That my daughter and husband do the cooking.

    By this time, I’ve been in the room for over an hour and in an immense amount of pain and just want to go home. My representative sat there and never opened his mouth in support throughout the whole process. I eventually said that I probably could boil and egg just to shut them up and stop asking about it.

    I ended up coming out of the hearing worse off than I went in. I lost my care component so now my daughter has lost her care component and my mobility stayed at the standard rate. I’m in constant pain before I even put one foot in front of the other and told them that the distance I can walk is irrelevant as I’m in constant pain all the time.

    I have degenerative disc disease in my back as well as arthritis. I also have arthritis in my fingers and wrists and have a knee condition also where my kneecap hasn’t grown over my knee properly. Is it possible to get another hearing on the basis that my representative was so inexperienced (he’s only attended 1 hearing before mine but told me he had done several).

    The committee certainly noticed he was inexperienced so I feel they should have adjourned my case so I could get a representative who was experienced enough to help me through the hearing. If anyone can give me advice or help, I’d really appreciate it.

    gch
    Having a rep is not necessary. Many claimants attend on their own with the majority not even bothering to seek any advice beforehand.
    All the Tribunal want to hear is your story and obviously for you to answer their questions.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome
    You can only challenge a tribunal on an error of law, in incompetant rep is not a reason for a new hearing.
    As you have an award in payment you cannot make a new claim
    How long is your current award ?
    There is an option of putting in for a change of circumstance if your condition has significantly worsetened since your origional decision
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    During the hearing your rep wouldn't have been able to speak for you when answering the questions. The Tribunal will have wanted you to tell them in your own words how your conditions affect you.

    You can't chose what you challenge for MR or Tribunal, they will look at the whole award again. Having said that, were you warned before the hearing that you may lose your existing daily living award?
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member

    You can't chose what you challenge for MR or Tribunal, they will look at the whole award again. Having said that, were you warned before the hearing that you may lose your existing daily living award?
    I have a feeling that based on the OP's first post that the Tribunal did in fact try to warn her that they were not happy with what had already been awarded. She failed to understand what was being said and carried on with the appeal.
  • gchgch Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank for all your comments. I wasn’t told by rep or committee that the awards were separate. I only found this out today. They never asked me how my circumstances affected my life and were only interested in me answering their direct questions. I tried to explain how my circumstances affected me but they said for me to just answer the questions and not elaborate. Even after answering their questions, it seemed they weren’t happy or content with what I said as they kept pushing for me to answer differently. 

    gch
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You need to ask for the statement of reasons within 28 days. Unless the error in law is found you won't be able to take this claim any further.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • grammygrammy Member Posts: 12 Listener
    It all sounds awful. So sorry you had to go through this. The way we are treated needs to be challenged 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,958 Disability Gamechanger
    gch said:
    This is my first time on here and am desperate for help. I had my PIP tribunal last week and had a representative with me. When I first went in the committee said they had some concerns regarding one of my appeals but didn’t say which one, they just stated clauses and numbers from their papers.

    My representative didn’t have a clue what she was talking about and seemed to be extremely anxious of what to say or do next. It got to the stage where the judge asked if he had anyone in his office he could talk to for advice. We had to leave the room so my representative could phone his office. I told him right from the start I didn’t want to appeal my care component and only wanted to appeal my mobility.

    The clerk came through to see if we were ready to go back in and my representative said yes, without discussing the conversation he just had with his office to me. When I went back in, the committee asked me so many questions re my care and mobility which I answered but I felt they kept pushing me for a different answer.

    For instance, I told them that I have some form of eating disorder as food is not an issue to me and I would only eat when prompted. They asked if I could boil and egg and I told them that I wouldn’t eat anything if my daughter, who is my carer, wasn’t there. They kept pushing me asking if I could do this task even thought I kept telling the. That my daughter and husband do the cooking.

    By this time, I’ve been in the room for over an hour and in an immense amount of pain and just want to go home. My representative sat there and never opened his mouth in support throughout the whole process. I eventually said that I probably could boil and egg just to shut them up and stop asking about it.

    I ended up coming out of the hearing worse off than I went in. I lost my care component so now my daughter has lost her care component and my mobility stayed at the standard rate. I’m in constant pain before I even put one foot in front of the other and told them that the distance I can walk is irrelevant as I’m in constant pain all the time.

    I have degenerative disc disease in my back as well as arthritis. I also have arthritis in my fingers and wrists and have a knee condition also where my kneecap hasn’t grown over my knee properly. Is it possible to get another hearing on the basis that my representative was so inexperienced (he’s only attended 1 hearing before mine but told me he had done several).

    The committee certainly noticed he was inexperienced so I feel they should have adjourned my case so I could get a representative who was experienced enough to help me through the hearing. If anyone can give me advice or help, I’d really appreciate it.

    gch
    When you first entered the room the tribunal appear to have given you a warning that at least one component was under threat. Your rep appears to have either not understood; not heeded and perhaps not explained this. It’s perfectly okay to ignore a warning if a rep is confident of the outcome. It would be foolish to comment further on that here. 

    Your second paragraph raises further concerns but mine would be that no claimant should be at the appeal stage without it having been clearly understood that it’s a complete rehearing and that you cannot confine yourself to an appeal against one component. 

    Your fourth paragraph suggests further misunderstanding. It’s likely the tribunal accepted you needed prompting to eat which would score you points under eating/drinking but they also wanted to know what help you needed with cooking, which is an entirely different activity. 

    As @poppy123456 says a representative cannot answer the questions for you. Their role is to lay out the case at the outset and ensure all issues have been covered accurately before you leave. The tribunal have no role in the selection of a representative. Their competence is a matter solely for your judgement and they certain,y wouldn’t adjourn based on what you’ve posted here. 

    I think it’s far too easy to conclude there was a problem with the rep here without knowing the facts of the case and, if I were your rep, I wouldn’t be happy that your first port of call is an Internet forum. The better approach would be to ensure you have requested a statement of reasons and a record of proceedings and then go back to the organisation from whence your rep came and allow them to hear and address your concerns. 
  • gchgch Member Posts: 4 Listener
    My first port of call wasn’t an Internet forum. I have spoken to my rep and expressed my concerns but the fact of the matter is, my rep made me believe he was experienced at attending tribunals and he wasn’t as he had only attended one. I merely joined this forum to seek advice, not criticism, from anyone who may have experienced the same issues as me with a representative who was not knowledgeable in tribunals.

    gch
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    No one has critised you, you've had some good honest advice. There won't be anything you can do about the fact that your rep wasn't as "knowledgeable" as you assumed he/she was. It does seem like you didn't fully understand what was going on at the Tribunal.

    The only thing you can do at this stage is to ask for the record of proceedings and statement of reasons and go from there. Good luck.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hello gch

    It is correct that to challenge a tribunal decision you need to request the full reasons for the tribunal decision.  This request must be in writing and please put your appeal reference and national insurance number on the letter.  State the date of the hearing and that it was a PIP appeal, request not only the full reasons for the tribunal decision but also the record of proceedings (this is a copy of the hand written notes a judge takes during the hearing).  You must make this request within 1 month of the tribunal decision date.

    As detailed in previous posts you must identify an error of law to challenge a tribunal decision further e.g. the law has not been followed correctly, or there is inadequate explanation to their decision.  

    Challenging a tribunal decision can be difficult. It can also take a long time, sometimes up to a year.  

    It maybe worth seeing if an organisation can help you challenge a decision, e.g. a law centre.

    If your health becomes worse you can always ask PIP to look again at your award to include daily living.  BUT, this runs the same risk as you have experienced, that is your mobility award will be reviewed and this could be then kept at the same rate, increased or taken away.

    Maria

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,958 Disability Gamechanger
    Generally speaking a first time rep would not say they were as that would raise perhaps unnecessary concerns as many first time reps are perfectly competent. However, it’s equally fair to say that you could have had a very experienced rep and still lost. That’s the nature of tribunals and justice in general. It’s not your rep you need to be speaking to, it’s their employer and, at the end of the day, it still comes back to SOR and ROP being requested and having some insight into what your actual case is.

    Many organisations give first time reps cases which are dead certain losers so that they can gain experience at no cost. Most believe a solicitor would;d we’ve them better than a lay rep but would you believe that if you knew it was their first time out? We can’t possibly comment on the merits of your case but there isn’t a person on here who doesn’t think their case is a ciear cut winner and if you had a first time rep that may not be the case at all.

    As I said earlier these are not matters for a forum. 
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited November 2018
    gch said:
    My first port of call wasn’t an Internet forum. I have spoken to my rep and expressed my concerns but the fact of the matter is, my rep made me believe he was experienced at attending tribunals and he wasn’t as he had only attended one. I merely joined this forum to seek advice, not criticism, from anyone who may have experienced the same issues as me with a representative who was not knowledgeable in tribunals.

    gch
    All I can say is to repeat what Mike and Poppy have said.

    I would also add that many people don't have the 'luxury' of having a rep with them at a Tribunal, in fact many have never managed to get to see anyone who could help right from the beginning when completing the claim form.

    The majority muddle through the whole system best way they can and hope for the best but plan for the worst.
     
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,958 Disability Gamechanger
    Never thought of myself as a luxury item before. Lifted my whole day has that :)
  • gchgch Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I originally muddled through with the PIP form myself but seeked help from a rep when it went to the tribunal. There are many people out there available to help, you just have to look. I think it’s a good idea to get help from a rep as they can help prepare you for what lies ahead.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited November 2018
    Never thought of myself as a luxury item before. Lifted my whole day has that :)
    How else would you describe yourself?

    Desirable to have and hugely difficult to find elsewhere - as rare as hen's teeth in my opinion.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited November 2018
    gch said:
    I originally muddled through with the PIP form myself but seeked help from a rep when it went to the tribunal. There are many people out there available to help, you just have to look. I think it’s a good idea to get help from a rep as they can help prepare you for what lies ahead.
    Been there and tried. Either the ones that do exist locally for me are a waste of time and those that are left are almost impossible to secure.
    After 3 assessments/reviews in the past 5 years I have never been able to find anybody to offer me any good advice or help.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,958 Disability Gamechanger
    Yadnad said:
    Never thought of myself as a luxury item before. Lifted my whole day has that :)
    How else would you describe yourself?

    Desirable to have and hugely difficult to find elsewhere - as rare as hen's teeth in my opinion.
    I would t describe myself. Other people’s view of you is none of your business as was famously once said.
  • justg72justg72 Member Posts: 173 Pioneering
    Hi gch
    So sorry to hear that you did not receive the advice and information you needed before your tribunal. I thought the Rep would have let you know what to expect from the tribunal and that both parts of PIP would be looked at again on the day.
    I would like to say that I have learnt so much from this site and without it I would not have had a clue about challenging a PIP decision. You can get really good advice and information on here. I am currently waiting for a tribunal date so I do look on here regular for any advice on tribunals. I have been in contact with the tribunal service a number of times and they have been really helpful when I have phoned and emailed them. In the future I hope you are able to get the help you need, good luck and take care. 
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