PIP, DLA and AA
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Hi, I'm Jacqueline_Rose! Is it standard practice for DM's to offer awards before tribunal?

Jacqueline_RoseJacqueline_Rose Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited March 12 in PIP, DLA and AA
Prior to my son's tribunal, someone from the DWP a <moderator removed name>  called to say that the DWP had looked at the claim and decided to award Dylan PIP at the standard rate. He emphasised that he was the decision maker and he had conceded that my son (who has early onset psychosis and applied for PIP over 3 years ago) scored sufficient points to be awarded the standard rate.

I questioned how he had come to that decision when his OT, Consultant Psychiatrist, Private Psychotherapist and GP had stated in a report that he should be awarded the enhanced rate. He said that if we agreed he would put the money in our account the next day. His approach was initially quite brusque, and at one point I had to ask him to stop shouting.

The nature of the whole call was highly inappropriate. It felt like he was 'doorstepping' us. It was as if it was a private claim and he was offering to settle out of court. The experience was unnerving and I told him, we would rather take let the judge decide. I'm so glad we made that decision as my son was awarded the enhanced rate. 

I feel calling just before the hearing could be deemed as intimidation (although <moderator removed name> was not threatening), as some people would be very worried about appearing in court (pre-Covid) and for that reason may have accepted the DWP's offer as an easy option. 

Is this normal practice on the part of the DWP to treat sick people in this way and to essentially put them in a position where they could potentially lose out on money which is, not only rightly theirs, but for which they have already waited so long for? I am appalled to know that this practice is condoned by the Government. Please can you keep this email as a record and add it to any Social Change Activity you may have. 

Replies

  • Jacqueline_RoseJacqueline_Rose Member Posts: 4 Listener
    edited March 12
    Prior to my son's tribunal, someone from the DWP a <moderator removed name>  called to say that the DWP had looked at the claim and decided to award Dylan PIP at the standard rate. He emphasised that he was the decision maker and he had conceded that my son (who has early onset psychosis and applied for PIP over 3 years ago) scored sufficient points to be awarded the standard rate.

    I questioned how he had come to that decision when his OT, Consultant Psychiatrist, Private Psychotherapist and GP had stated in a report that he should be awarded the enhanced rate. He said that if we agreed he would put the money in our account the next day. His approach was initially quite brusque, and at one point I had to ask him to stop shouting.

    The nature of the whole call was highly inappropriate. It felt like he was 'doorstepping' us. It was as if it was a private claim and he was offering to settle out of court. The experience was unnerving and I told him, we would rather take let the judge decide. I'm so glad we made that decision as my son was awarded the enhanced rate. 

    I feel calling just before the hearing could be deemed as intimidation (although <moderator removed name>  was not threatening), as some people would be very worried about appearing in court (pre-Covid) and for that reason may have accepted the DWP's offer as an easy option. 

    Is this normal practice on the part of the DWP to treat sick people in this way and to essentially put them in a position where they could potentially lose out on money which is, not only rightly theirs, but for which they have already waited so long for? I am appalled to know that this practice is condoned by the Government. Please can you keep this email as a record and add it to any Social Change Activity you may have. 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,250 Pioneering
    edited March 12
    Jacqueline_Rose said: Is this normal practice on the part of the DWP to treat sick people in this way and to essentially put them in a position where they could potentially lose out on money which is, not only rightly theirs, but for which they have already waited so long for? I am appalled to know that this practice is condoned by the Government. Please can you keep this email as a record and add it to any Social Change Activity you may have. 
    Bear in mind that even if the 'offer' is accepted that new decision can then be appealed. So in some cases it can be beneficial to accept so that the award is put into payment and then start the appeal process again.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,071

    Scope community team

    edited March 12
    Hello @Jacqueline_Rose and welcome to our community.

    I've merged your posts to keep everything in one place and have also edited out the name of the decision maker for confidentiality reasons.

    I have heard of this happening before and you can read about it in this CPAG 'An offer you can't refuse' article and in this Guardian article by Dr. Frances Ryan.   I believe it isn't a universal practice however and am glad to hear your son went onto receive the enhanced rate.

    Thank you for sharing and I'd be interested in hearing others opinions.
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 12
    Offers are not routine but also increasingly common. They tend to offer the right award or the right length of award but not both. You can’t really lose. An offer is a big clue that DWP see you winning at appeal. Either refuse and carry on to appeal or accept age appeal further knowing there’s already money in the bank.

    Totally agree that the manner of the offer often leaves something to be desired.
  • Jacqueline_RoseJacqueline_Rose Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I think it's about thinking of lesser empowered people and perhaps those who lack information. We are all in this position either because at this moment in time our health is not at its best, either mentally or physically. Or we in someway lack the ability to go about our daily lives in a way in which most people are expected to; Or even if, as in my case, we are caring for someone in those positions, that too takes its toll on your health.

    So it's all very well saying you can accept and then go on to appeal again, but the process of appealing is very stressful, and to some degree demeaning, and when you are already dealing with the affects your illness has on daily living, quite inhumane. 

    I disagree when you say you can't really lose. The process itself means that sadly we are already losing by the time it comes to a hearing. I appreciate your comment though. Thank you.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 12
    I suspect your response speaks more to where you’re at mentally than about the process itself. The reality is that cases get to the appeal stage because the claim pack didn’t provide what DWP need. Many people get to grips with that. Many don’t. Once the claim has failed then MR is essentially a random process so you’re off to appeal. 

    Whilst I take your point about empowerment, the reality is that there is too much information out there about the appeal process not a lack, much of it poor quality, and anyone who feels unable to cope with any aspect of that has the option of seeking representation at any point. These are not things which anyone has to do alone. The only people I’ve ever come across who felt demeaned by the process did so because they largely didn’t understand it and not because of the process itself.

    I’m not sure what your point is about appeals really. What’s the alternative? No right to appeal? Yes it’s stressful but a further appeal having accepted an offer carries very little stress at all. You were made an offer because DWP knew the appeal would succeed and the evidence which led to that conclusion doesn’t magically disappear just because a further appeal is lodged. Most tribunals are pragmatic as they have to be given the limited time they have to make a decision. So, whilst in theory, a fresh appeal means you’re walking in with zero points, in practice most post offer tribunals will concentrate solely on the remaining issues and it’s a pretty painless process. Nothing demeaning or inhumane about it at all. Indeed all but one of the appeals I’ve done in the past year have been done and dusted inside ten minutes and especially so the post offer ones. 

    So, yes, you quite literally cannot lose albeit that you of course can if there was no case for extra points or extra award length in the first place. However, having a good rep to steer you through that avoids that ever being an issue.
  • Jacqueline_RoseJacqueline_Rose Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I'm sorry I do not see it your way and would refer you to the 2 articles presented by the online Co-ordinator above. The whole process needs a revamp in my opinion. But as always, I appreciate your response.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,250 Pioneering
    I'm sorry I do not see it your way and would refer you to the 2 articles presented by the online Co-ordinator above. The whole process needs a revamp in my opinion. But as always, I appreciate your response.
    As the CPAG article says “A claimant to whom an offer is made would be well advised to accept it“. Their argument for saying that, as set out in the article, seems broadly the same as Mike’s..
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    Indeed. There are really three issues with offers:

    1 - it’s the DWP conceding your appeal but demonstrating once again their poor quality decision making by offering either the wrong award or the wrong award length. Knowing that, there are nothing but positives to be gained from appealing further and for minimal effort and stress.

    2 - the ongoing and conspicuous failure of DWP to tell people that accepting an offer gives them new appeal rights. No official stats, but anecdotally I’ve yet to hear of any further appeal failing.

    3 - when further appeals are made, the ongoing and again conspicuous failure of DWP to notify HMCTS that an offer was made (via a further written sub) or to even support the appeal to, at minimum, the extent of the offer. In unrepresented cases this means whole tribunals can often pass without the panel being aware benefit is already in payment.

    Essentially though, if you’re being made an offer then appealing further is as close to easy money as you’re ever likely to get in the benefits world.

    If anything I was disappointed with the tone of the Ryan article. The opportunity for a wholly positive spin and a whole rash of successful further appeals was lost.

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