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Questions about telephone hearing

IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
edited July 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA

I had a PIP medical assessment on 1 August 2019 and was awarded no points for either Daily Living or Mobility. After a Mandatory Reconsideration, on 5 December 2019 I was awarded the Standard Rate in respect of Daily Living. This was back-dated to the date of my initial claim, 29 March 2019.

No PIP was awarded in respect of Mobility.

On 17 December 2019 I submitted an Appeal to HM Courts & Tribunals Service. Due to my severe depression and anxiety I asked that my appeal be decided on the papers.

On 2 March 2020 the Tribunals Service sent me "a notice made by the Tribunal Judge", advising that as the Secretary of State had not responded to my appeal within the stipulated 28 day time period my appeal would now be listed for an oral hearing at which the Secretary of State would be required to give a full explanation for the failure to comply with the Tribunal's directions.

(Of course, in case anybody is wondering, the Secretary of State doesn't turn up in person. They are represented by a DWP minion).

I heard nothing more until 1 July when I received a letter from HM Courts & Tribunals Service advising that, "a tribunal heard your appeal on 24/06/2020" and that "the Tribunal has decided to adjourn the hearing".

Even though I had made it clear to the Tribunal that I wouldn't be able to attend, should I not have been told that my appeal hearing was taking place on 24 June?

The Directions Notice included with that letter states, " ...the appeal is not suitable for dealing with on the papers as the Tribunal needs to explore in more detail how (the appellant's) health problems affect (the appellant") and that a telephone hearing with an 03 panel will be scheduled. This is expected to last 60 minutes. The Decision Notice goes to say, " ... there is a claimed high level of functional disability which, in the Tribunal's view, requires further exploration.

Does anybody know how long it might be until a telephone hearing is arranged? I've said that I would accept less than 14 days notice and that there are no dates during the next three months when I will not be available. I am assuming that the questioning will be quite intense and am a little concerned that it is going to last 60 minutes.

Any tips or advice would be gratefully received.


  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,087 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Idlewild - & welcome to the community. With PIP you don't get a medical assessment, as, rather than being about any diagnosis, it's about any functional problems, which you later mention in the letter you received.
    Currently, with a Tribunal, they will decide on the papers (as you asked), but where they can't make a decision, they need to ask you further questions. This really is in all fairness to you. I wouldn't worry, as you realise this will be a phone tribunal.
    I'm sorry, I don't know how long it will be until this happens, but perhaps prepare by looking through your initial claim form & see where you should have gained points, & why. The fundamental problem many people have is not realising PIP is about how your disability affects your function with any of the activities, or 'descriptors' that apply. Look through the following link, in case you haven't come across something similar, & carefully read the notes at the end too.
    Then think about how your disability affects you; why are any of the descriptors difficult; what happened when you attempted them (at the time of your assessment); what happened as a result of doing/attempting them; do you need assistance/prompting to do any of the activities; can you do them safely; as often as you'd like, etc?
    Make notes about the points you then need to get across. Take your time in answering, & ask for clarification if needed. The success rate for phone tribunals seems even better than before, & hoping this may also help. :)

  • steve51steve51 Member Posts: 7,175 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Idlewild

    Good Evening & Welcome it’s great to meet you today.

    I am one of the Community Champion’s here at Scope.

    Sorry to hear about your current situation/problems.

    We have got some senior members who are very very good when it comes to “Benefits”

    I will forward your post onto them straightaway if that will help????

    Hi @Adrian_Scope @Chloe_Scope

    Can you please offer me some help with this post in regards to there “PIP”


  • IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thank you both for your replies.

    One of the things I noticed when I received a copy of the PIP Assessment report is that what I was reported as saying and what I had actually said were not always the same.

    At one point the assessor asked me what I would do if I needed work done on my house. Would I allow workmen in? I said I didn't know. She then asked what I thought I would do. Again I said I didn't know. This was written up in the report as me saying I would let workmen into my flat but would prefer not to.

    The report also said that I sometimes cook with a microwave. I don't own a microwave. I have never owned a microwave and have never even used one. 

    Also, I saw in the guidelines provided to the medical professionals that carry out these assessments that prior to concluding face-to-face consultations they are supposed to give claimants an overview of their findings and that claimants should be invited to clarify any points.

    I have had over a dozen assessments at Wimbledon and Wandsworth and this has never been the case. All that happens is at the end of the assessment the HP asks if I have any questions and says that the report will be sent to the DWP later that day.

    When I sent in my Mandatory Reconsideration Request I pointed out all of the above but DWP just completely ignored it. 

  • steve51steve51 Member Posts: 7,175 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Idlewild

    No probs my friend.

    Unfortunately you are not on your own as there has been a large number of cases.

    I am happy in showing this info if you would like ????

    Hopefully the senior members will be with you shortly & they will go through all of it with you.

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,085 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome, you need to focus on the above advice eg how your condition affects you and not on what the assessor said and didnt say, the tribunal are only interested on how you can complete the daily tasks.

    So go through and look at the descriotors you think you should have scored and give real examples of how you manage these tasks and what happens when you try to do them.

    Just because you dont have a microwave doesnt mean you couldnt use one that is what they are trying to determine 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,087 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Idlewild - as jane1967 says, you actually need to forget about what the assessor said; they make 'assumptions', which may/may not be correct. The tribunal will not be particularly interested in the assessor's report, rather your individual response as to any functional problems you have with any of the activities.
    You mention that assessors are, in the guidelines, supposed to give an overview of their findings.... unfortunately this is just a guide, which they don't have to follow. It might make any assessment unduly long, & so far on the community I've never heard of that happening. It didn't happen with me either.
    I hope it's not too long until you get your phone tribunal, & that the info we've given may help. :)
  • IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited July 2020
    Thank you @janer1967 & @chiarieds.

    Don't worry, I'm not focusing on what the HP said or didn't say, I only put that in as a point of interest.

    I do have detailed notes on how my health problems have a day-to-day impact and am hoping that I don't have to wait too much longer for my Telephone Hearing. I applied for PIP on 29 March 2019 and will be glad when it's all over and I can forget about it for another few years.
  • IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Notified yesterday that my Telephone Hearing will be on Tuesday 4 August.
  • Lulu_1949Lulu_1949 Member Posts: 225 Pioneering
    @Idlewild don’t stress, keep calm not as bad as you think, clerk of court will ring you first to put you at ease and tell you who will be sitting in good luck xx
  • IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thank you @Lulu_1949.

    I'm quite relieved now that I know when it is. A little over three weeks and whatever happens hopefully that will be the end of it. (For now).

    When I read the Tribunals letter my main concern was, did my phone accept calls from unknown numbers? The first note about what to do before the hearing says to make sure your telephone can accept calls from unknown numbers. I had given them my landline number but had no idea whether it did that or not. I vaguely remembered that years ago it didn't. However, I have checked this morning and it does. That would be the last thing you need after nearly 18 months of PIP trauma; the Tribunal not being able to reach you, holding the hearing anyway and coming to a decision in your absence.
  • Lulu_1949Lulu_1949 Member Posts: 225 Pioneering
    @Idlewild oh bless you, glad you’ve got that sorted, yes I agree you don’t need that stress. Have your bundle ready, all the pages are numbered but to be fair they did not ask my son to turn to any of the pages. There were three on the panel, a Judge who was lovely, a Doctor and a Disability person they all three asked questions about everyday living, and walking. They definitely had read the bundle with some of the things they came out with. I was worried that they wouldn’t have read it with them being so busy but they had and I was pleased because the assessment report was not at all a report on my sons health and well being and I had written on my MR what was wrong with it but even then he did not get his pip. That’s why we went to Appeal I still feel he should have got enhanced but at least he got pi and we will re- look at it in two years...at the end of the day it’s taken a year to sort this out .
    i wish you all the very best and please let me know how you get on x
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,087 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2020
    Hi @Idlewild - I'm pleased that you not only have a date for your tribunal hearing, but that you're also well prepared knowing that you may need to further explain your functional problems.
    Do make notes of what you hope to get across; take your time in answering, & ask them to repeat questions, or ask for any clarification if needed. May I add my best wishes, & please do let us all know how it goes, thank you. Nearly there...you can do this. :)
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,544 Disability Gamechanger
    Worth saying that there is no “court”. A court and a tribunal are very different things. They have different rules and different procedures and a different burden of proof. Tribunals are intentionally less formal than courts. 
  • IdlewildIdlewild Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thank you @Lulu_1949, @chiarieds and @mikehughescq

    Hopefully the telephone hearing will go OK but whatever happens, I shall let you know.
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