PIP, DLA and AA
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PIP Appeal, next renewal

norstar10norstar10 Member Posts: 3 Listener
My wife was on DLA for many years (Middle/Lower award) previously awarded with no assessment and 2 renewals with no assessment. She was then sent forms in 2017 to move to PIP. In 2018 she was contacted to have a home visit assessment.
Long story short, the assessment seemed to go well, but the assessor was very rude and not prepared, even turning up without her laptop and hand write everything. Weeks later we received the outcome and no award.
The records from the assessor were basically completely made up lies and were nothing like the actual assessment. She basically wrote up her hand notes that I watched her write and were all over the place and filled in the gaps. Probably wrote them up days later as the assessment was on a Friday. I complained to Capita stating I think she has mixed up her notes from other assessment.

After a complete mix up by Capita the first mandatory reconsideration failed until I contacted PIP to inform them they went ahead without allowing me to submit the extra paper work I said I was sending. 
The extra paperwork I submitted included exact quotes and extracts from the assessment. I had secretly recorded the whole thing. The physical assessment was even cut short as my wife couldnt complete them and was yelping in pain. The assessors notes stated she completed the physical with no issues or signs of distress.

After the proper mandatory reconsideration she was awarded 3 years for standard living only, even though her condition was far worst than her previous DLA claims. They had awarded 1 extra point in a category we werent even expecting (toilet). On the PIP forms we had ticked that this doesnt effect her and in the assessment we skipped this questioning along.
Capita's only comment was that it was against the rules to secretly record the meetings. Never commented on the lies we proved. They even had the nerve to say we lied about the assessor not having her laptop. Even though we sent a CD to them with an extract of the assessor apologizing that she will have to hand write everything as she had no laptop.

In 2019 we received the questionnaire letter about an appeal case. We returned it stating only I would be going to the appeal and representing my wife. Months later I attended the appeal to an unhappy panel asking where was my wife. They adjourn the appeal to a later date without letting me speak or present the weeks of work I had prepared.

Now comes 2020 and we send the Covid letter back asking for a face to face, not telephone etc. Even though my wife doesnt want to go to a face to face, or speak to them. After the home assessment she doesnt want to deal with this as it upset her to much.

Now comes my future thoughts and questions that I need help with.

We will probably be receiving my wifes renewal forms in 6-8 months time, before any appeal. How will an appeal in progress effect the renewal?

If in 2021 we request the appeal to be changed to a paper hearing and we loose, will this affect the renewal?

I am thinking that if we change to a paper hearing at the last minute, even if they reject and remove all points, then we have lost nothing.

I know during a face to face, they will inform you if they think your case isnt going well and its in your best interest to stop. Can you request a paper hearing and state for the panel to not proceed if your current award is at risk? Or can we write and state we only want to appeal the mobility part and use the extract from her physical assessment as the main evidence?

If we submit a renewal and that also goes badly, can you have 2 appeals going at the same time or are they merged?

Is it worth us writing again to PIP for us to try to negotiate an end to the appeal? For example we were expecting daily enhanced and mobility standard (possibly enhanced) but would settle on my wifes previous DLA award, equivalent to standard/standard.

After so many letters to PIP, Capita and the appeals, I just want this to end and so does my wife. I truly thought audio evidence would have been enough to stop this early on, but so surprised at PIP and Capita responses to it. I have actually submitted audio to them proving the assessor broke the rules by discussing point scoring and comparing my wife to other cases she deals with, and stating that she wont score many points in a certain area.

Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,127 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community, This is really a complex case and I wouldnt want to advise incorrectly so I will tag in other members who may be able to help. I hope you get some answers 

    @Adrian_Scope @mikehughescq can either of you help here
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,941 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2020
    Thanks for tagging me in @janer1967.

    Unfortunately my perspective on a post like the above is unlikely to be welcome but here goes. I do recognise this is the OPs first post so this is a bit unfortunate but people either genuinely want information or they don’t. Good information is not about telling people what they want or expect to hear. Often the best thing which can happen to a case is to be told that things no-one else has the courage to say. I’ve no skin in the game here. A successful or otherwise claim has no impact on me so I hope this will be taken in the spirit intended. 

    1 - the HCP report is one piece of evidence. It feels like a big thing at the time but ultimately it’s one piece of evidence and not an especially compelling one at that. When you get to appeal the tribunal simply won’t be interesting in tales of laptops, lies, recordings etc. They will want to talk to your wife and hear her evidence. Thus far you have a case which appears to be a reaction to the HCP rather than proactively built on the strength of your own evidence. A rethink is required. 

    Discrediting one piece of evidence is a waste of time if there isn’t good quality evidence supporting an award anyway. Your idea that audio evidence would end this is illustrative of the misunderstanding. The audio lessens the weight to be given to the HCP report but that’s all it does and could ever do. Getting PIP is not about discrediting one document. It’s about building on a detailed claim pack with solid medical and anecdotal evidence filling in the gaps. Weakening the influence of one document does not qualify anyone for PIP.

    2 - this has come up before but it’s worth reiterating. When you start an MR DWP call centre staff will say all sorts of things they’re simply not qualified to say and that includes the wholly inaccurate statement that you can start an MR and they will wait for your evidence to come in. They have no such obligation. If the point gets raised at appeal it will be dismissed as irrelevant.

    3 - there is nothing wrong with points being awarded for something you d not asked for. That’s usually a sign a claimant or someone acting on their behalf has not understood what it was they were going for in the first place e.g. someone with a back problem of some severity who claims an issue with walking but says they can dress fine below the waist. 

    4 - forgive my bluntness but your actions as “representative”  thus far appears to have done your wife’s case few favours. You can’t, for example, just choose to rep and turn up in place of your wife and expect that to end well. I’d strongly suggest you read this link about the different roles and consider obtaining formal representation.

    https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/56379/representation-and-tribunal-hearings#latest

    A tribunal don’t want to hear you speak. The whole point of an oral hearing is to hear the appellant. Speaking as a rep, frankly a tribunal don’t give a damn about hearing you speak and couldn’t care less about how many weeks prep you put in. That’s simply because when I rep a case it’s not about me. A good rep has a fully prepped case summarised briefly in writing in advance and should have nothing to say at all on the day other than at the end when invited to address outstanding issues. 

    Even if your wife turns up for the next appeal your role should be minimal. You would be better either going as moral support and staying outside or going in as an observer rather than as a rep if you can keep silent. Much as it’s hard to resist wanting to be a witness this is an informal tribunal and not a court of law. In 34 years I’ve taken 1 witness into a tribunal and that was only because it was a case of mistaken ID involving identical twin brothers. Your evidence here is not going to be the compelling dramatic decisive thing. Your wife’s anecdotal evidence of what has happened when she tries to perform points scoring activities is the largest single factor on the day. 

    5 - to answer your specific questIons:

    - an ongoing undecided appeal has no influence on a renewal. 

    - the appeal concerns an earlier period. It doesn’t matter whether it’s paper or telephone or oral. It’s no impact on the renewal and vice verse. 

    - there’s no justification for switching to a paper appeal at the last minute. You get asked what you want when you appeal. A sudden change would need some considerable justification and would rightly be perceived as game playing. A tribunal is not a court of law. It’s not adversarial or a game of cat and mouse. Your wife has her best chance of winning if she takes part. 

    - if you elect for a paper hearing you’ve no control over the time-scale and it is a paper hearing. It takes place behind closed doors and anything you have to say can only be in advance of the hearing. 

    - you can always change the terms of an appeal but nothing compels a tribunal to confine themselves if evidence happens to bring the other component into play. People often do that inadvertently. Frankly it again smacks of wanting to see this as some cat and mouse/outwitting the enemy kind of approach and I would strongly suggest again that you seek actual representation to give the case its best shot.

    - if the renewal goes badly (and it makes sense) then yes the appeals can be linked (not merged) and potentially heard together but it’s something you’d need to formally request and looking at the timescales you describe I suspect one aspect will comfortably have been determined before the other. The average appeal wait at present is 32 weeks.

    - you can not negotiate or barter here. This is a system ruled by acts, regulations, caselaw and guidance. Build a case for a different decision with anecdotal and perhaps medical evidence. That is your only option. 

    - the HCP broke no rules in discussing points or comparing. I would be interested in the exact “rules”you think they broke. Again though, it’s of no relevance. Build a case for PIP and not just a case against a HCP.
  • norstar10norstar10 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Unfortunately my perspective on a post like the above is unlikely to be welcome but here goes. I do recognise this is the OPs first post so this is a bit unfortunate but people either genuinely want information or they don’t. Good information is not about telling people what they want or expect to hear. Often the best thing which can happen to a case is to be told that things no-one else has the courage to say. I’ve no skin in the game here. A successful or otherwise claim has no impact on me so I hope this will be taken in the spirit intended. 


    Hi, thank you so much for your response and it is very welcomed and very informative. Nothing you wrote has been taken offensively but is very constructive.

    I should have said in my post that I have included in the MR and in the appeals process documents from my wifes doctors records and a letter written by her and a letter written by myself on her daily living.
    Maybe I have looked into the assessors report with to much weight in the argument and seen the panel as 'the enemy'.

    The biggest issue we are hitting is that my wife was on strong medication for years, with massive side effects. They also caused other health complications. She decided to move off medication for the last few years and try alternatives, with consultants and doctors full support. The negatives of medication were far worst than the benefits. Even though PIP states its not about your condition but how it affects your life, almost every part of the assessors report stated she wasnt on medication.

    My wife applied for ESA at the same time, for that she was called in for an assessment. We were in the office for less than a minute before the assessor said I dont know why you were called in and you can leave. I dont think we even got our coats off.

    I am now worried that when renewal comes, PIP and Capita will see the previous complaints and will be negative towards the renewal.

    If the case is heard before renewal and goes in her favour, will that be a benefit in the renewal? If the case goes against her and she looses then I guess the renewal will turn into a new claim.

    Maybe we should have had representation, I dont know if its to late or not. I just sort of believed it would be fine, since DLA was so easy to do and we had no issues for years. Maybe when we completed the PIP application to move from DLA to PIP we just answered to vague or didnt give the correct answers.
  • norstar10norstar10 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    This is a fantastic article and I only wish, like many, that I had read it a very long time ago. Great explanation of what a representative is there for.
    Maybe articles like this should be sent out by the appeals team at the beginning. 
    I wish I had found this site sooner, great information.
  • katho31katho31 Posts: 694 Member
    Hi @norstar10, best of luck with everything  :) keep going and we are all here if you need a chat or more info
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,127 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @norstar10 I am gld you have had some good advice from Mike and hope this makes things a bit clearer for you.

    I have found the information on here valuable for my own renewal and think that by treating my claim as a new one is why I got awarded again without even a f2f assessment, and by following the great advice given by everyonee

    Good luck and keep us updated 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,941 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2020
    norstar10 said:
    Unfortunately my perspective on a post like the above is unlikely to be welcome but here goes. I do recognise this is the OPs first post so this is a bit unfortunate but people either genuinely want information or they don’t. Good information is not about telling people what they want or expect to hear. Often the best thing which can happen to a case is to be told that things no-one else has the courage to say. I’ve no skin in the game here. A successful or otherwise claim has no impact on me so I hope this will be taken in the spirit intended. 


    Hi, thank you so much for your response and it is very welcomed and very informative. Nothing you wrote has been taken offensively but is very constructive.

    I should have said in my post that I have included in the MR and in the appeals process documents from my wifes doctors records and a letter written by her and a letter written by myself on her daily living.
    Maybe I have looked into the assessors report with to much weight in the argument and seen the panel as 'the enemy'.

    The biggest issue we are hitting is that my wife was on strong medication for years, with massive side effects. They also caused other health complications. She decided to move off medication for the last few years and try alternatives, with consultants and doctors full support. The negatives of medication were far worst than the benefits. Even though PIP states its not about your condition but how it affects your life, almost every part of the assessors report stated she wasnt on medication.

    My wife applied for ESA at the same time, for that she was called in for an assessment. We were in the office for less than a minute before the assessor said I dont know why you were called in and you can leave. I dont think we even got our coats off.

    I am now worried that when renewal comes, PIP and Capita will see the previous complaints and will be negative towards the renewal.

    If the case is heard before renewal and goes in her favour, will that be a benefit in the renewal? If the case goes against her and she looses then I guess the renewal will turn into a new claim.

    Maybe we should have had representation, I dont know if its to late or not. I just sort of believed it would be fine, since DLA was so easy to do and we had no issues for years. Maybe when we completed the PIP application to move from DLA to PIP we just answered to vague or didnt give the correct answers.
    Thank you. It’s a constant surprise just how many people mistake accuracy for rudeness so I, glad you took it that way and found it helpful. 

    GP records can be helpful in some circumstances but you need to read them as others might read them as they often contain information which can be viewed multiple ways. Letters from other people are rarely relevant unless directed explicitly to points scoring activities e.g. I’ve seen person x attempt activity y and this is what happened in detail and why they couldn’t do it reliably. 

    Overall my impression is you’ve lots of weight on medical evidence but little anecdotal evidence i.e. the stories she might tell about what happened last time she attempted an activity. You need 2 stories per points scoring activity. If you can’t recall 2 for each then you’re likely struggling to qualify. Either way take your eyes off the medical evidence - yours and theirs - and start thinking about the stories as the focus of the claim. This may help. https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/Evidence-need-not-be-medical-to-challenge-a-health-care-professionals-repo

    Bearing that in mind, forget about the meds issue. In a tribunal it’ll be a one liner. She’s tried medications x, y and z but this is what happened and... next issue. 


    As regards the rest of it I think you can very much get yourself in a tangled mess thinking about the interactions of appeal and renewal. At this stage, forget it. One thing at a time. You’re trying to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and that doesn’t work with the law 

    As regards representation it’s never too late although if you get one after the case has been listed they’re likely to either say no because it’s too short notice or say yes abc insist the hearing is postponed so proper prep can be done. Take a look at https://advicelocal.uk/
    norstar10 said:
    This is a fantastic article and I only wish, like many, that I had read it a very long time ago. Great explanation of what a representative is there for.
    Maybe articles like this should be sent out by the appeals team at the beginning. 
    I wish I had found this site sooner, great information.
    I read this and thought “ooh a good article about reps. That’s always interesting.” It was only when I clicked the link I realised it was the one I wrote :) 

    Again, thanks for the words.
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