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PIP Tribunal

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by Wonko, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I've had a PIP appeal running since last June.

    In the appeal paperwork I stated I wanted a paper hearing.

    3 or so months ago they wrote to me asking for permission to access my medical records and checking if I still wanted a paper hearing, as an oral one could be arranged in my home town (not in a bit I am familiar with tho).

    I wrote back giving them permission and restating I wanted a paper hearing, and giving them reasons why.

    This morning a letter turned up saying a tribunal had been arranged at the end of the month, in my hometown, and I was to bring my copies of all the paperwork they had sent me. No reason was given for why I should attend, not that the DWP had insisted on an oral hearing, not the the tribunal had decided I must attend or the appeal would be stopped.

    Can they do this? I understood I had a choice, they imply I have a choice by asking the question, giving the options, paper or oral.

    Given that part of my claim is for being unable to go to unfamiliar places, for planning and other reasons, and that I have great difficulty dealing with unfamiliar social situations, especially with people I don't know, and that I have a tendency to "present" far too well if people don't want to see how ill I am, I am intensely distrustful (which creates its own problems), that the effort and likely severe disruption would do anything but hurt my case - in short I consider it pointless, there is no scenario where I could gain by attending, I simply cannot, in real time, explain myself well enough, the stress and adrenaline is likely to up my physical performance to a degree that is unhelpful etc. etc.

    Now it's likely, unless the DWP choose to send me another ESA50 (or whatever the UC version is) in February (which given my claim is up for reassessment in June is perfectly possible), that I can "afford" the downtime, nothing is currently booked in the time I would need to recover in, so with planning it could be managed - but PEM, why? When it's unlikely to gain me anything.

    But....losing what will be nearly 8 months of SDP @£62 (or whatever) a week, having to repay it, if, as seems very likely, I lose, will seriously dent my bank balance, an actual PIP award at this point is irrelevant, if I have to repay the SDP - I won't even be able to afford to die (without someone else picking up the tab, even a simple cremation plus mandatory paperwork, 3-4 thousand, which I have, but take the best part of £2k away and......)

    Why didn't I inform the DWP that they had decided not to award me PIP and therefore I wasn't entitled to SDP? First off, they should know, secondly I thought I had a clear cut easy case to start with so it wouldn't be an issue, and lastly, my area is now a Universal Credit area, Universal Credit does not include SDP, at all, once switched over you lose it, so stopping my SDP claim could mean I wouldn't ever be able to restart it, regardless of the decision.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    MEMarge, AndyPandy, Binkie4 and 15 others like this.
  2. zzz

    zzz Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I have no direct experience with the UK system, although I have read about it plenty here. Some elements sound very much like the US Social Security disability system, with which I have had a lot of experience.

    Since they offered you a paper hearing, and gave you no reasons for changing to an oral hearing, I would recommend writing them back and saying that you were not physically capable of attending an oral hearing. This is basically what you have said in your post; you just would have to phrase it and explain it in a way that would sound convincing to them. I certainly wouldn't consider you capable of attending an oral hearing, based on what you wrote.

    This may or may not work, but I don't see that you have anything to lose by trying.
    I don't know what the legal answer is, but the short answer is that they're the government; they can do what they want to do. If what they're doing is actually illegal, you would need a lawyer to fight it, with all the attending complications that that would involve.

    Good luck, and I hope you can get that paper hearing.
    Binkie4, erin, Indigophoton and 5 others like this.
  3. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    At the last poster, your post disappeared but to answer the question in it, SDP is severe disability premium, you need to be both in the support group and get medium rate care (or higher) DLA or a PIP care component award to get it, as well as fill in a form (there are also other conditions which are more complicated but basically if you live alone you should qualify, if not, it get complicated)
    Binkie4, Inara, Indigophoton and 5 others like this.
  4. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    @Wonko I would get back in touch with them and explain that you have asked for, and previously been told you can have, a paper hearing.

    If it were me, I would phone them, and then follow up with a letter. Just make sure you get the name of the person you spoke to, record the call of you can or at least make notes.

    I have had them do something similar to me with a WCA, even though my doctor wrote a letter explaining I needed a home assessment. Sometimes they just chance it to see what you will do.

    As it stands, they could claim that requesting you go to their centre is an oversight, whether or not they can legally do it.

    I think I would also seek advice about paying back the SDP. I don't know how your ME affects you, but if you have on record as part of your claim that you suffer cognitive difficulties, then I would argue that they should have informed you it was stopping and stopped it themselves.

    I know you've mentioned that the CAB wasn't much good in your area. I believe Fightback4Justice are supposed to be good. Also, there is a closed group on Facebook for ME and benefits.

    I hope you get it sorted. It's always so stressful having any dealings with them.:(

    MEMarge, Binkie4, erin and 11 others like this.
  5. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    You are legally entitled to ask for a paper hearing.

    Form SSCS1 is where you probably put your request the first time.


    Section 6 (page 5)

    If so, refer them back to it.

    The tribunal must copy it and send a copy to the DWP.

    From form SSCS1A http://formfinder.hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/sscs1a-eng.pdf
    So, either:
    • the DWP asked for an oral hearing,
    • the tribunal decided for an oral hearing,
    • someone has made a mistake.
    Hope this helps.
    Binkie4, Inara, erin and 12 others like this.
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I've got no advice, but just wanted to send my best wishes. Sorry your health has trapped you in that system.
    Forbin, Binkie4, Inara and 12 others like this.
  7. ladycatlover

    ladycatlover Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Liverpool, UK
    I can vouch that F4J are fantastic. @Wonko, go to their FaceBook page and ask them there about this. You don't need to go into so much detail as you have here, just ask about the legality of being told to go to f2f hearing when you asked for a paper one. Though from what Luther says above it may be that they can do that if DWP demand?

    Sending you some Positive Vibes and cyber hugs from sunny Liverpool. Wish I could do more to help - if you were anywhere near us I'm sure @Daysailer would come and drive you to Tribunal and be a support for you.
    Binkie4, Amw66, Inara and 10 others like this.
  8. Nellie

    Nellie Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    Binkie4, Inara, erin and 7 others like this.
  9. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    If you are getting the SDP when moved over to UC, then you will in effect still get it: there is to be no loss of income due to the transition, so you will get exactly what you do now (or, post successful hearing, when it all gets re-instated and backdated etc).

    The issue is longer term: people with transitional protection of their benefit level will have their benefits frozen until UC catches up, ie, until inflation etc has eroded what one gets downwards to meet the level of UC.

    Benefitsandwork.co.uk have very good guides to all aspects of the process, worth the subscription.
    Kitty, Binkie4, ladycatlover and 4 others like this.
  10. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Fightback4Justice certainly know the relevant caselaw very well, they have legally qualified advocates and an excellent success rate at appeals and tribunals.

    They have two services – a VIP platform, where you pay a monthly subscription, and free support through a private Facebook group, which you could ask to join. I paid the monthly subscription for a couple of months to enable me to download well-completed forms relevant to my PIP claim, then cancelled it. (They're fine with this, as even one month's subs from a client helps towards the cost of running their office.) It's worth looking into the Facebook group at the very least.
    MEMarge, Binkie4, Trish and 7 others like this.
  11. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Maybe UK and Germany are similar in this...

    Did you receice a decree with the decision of an oral hearing?

    If not you could try to ask for a paper decision again and demand an explanation for their decision. Is there something like access to records? You would probably understand the process better which could lead to a better argumentation.

    If you received/receive a formal decree you could enter a formal objection.

    Depending on their answer you will have a decision by paper or the possibility to go to court. In Germany, you don't have to pay for these processes if you don't have the income (legal aid).

    [You don't need a lawyer. BUT I am not sure if a process before court is doable in your case. I wouldn't/couldn't do it.]

    Please let me say that I feel with you. I made my experiences with officials, too...It sucks. There's no fairness.
    Wonko likes this.
  12. Milo

    Milo Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Good luck @Wonko! Best wishes!
    Inara, Binkie4, ladycatlover and 4 others like this.
  13. Maria1

    Maria1 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    North England
    @Wonko apologies I posted right at the start of his thread, but I made no sense and seemed to lose the capacity for editing. So I deleted the whole post.

    I wanted to say I recently lost at upper tribunal and wished I hadn’t attended, for the similar reasons you don’t want to attend yours.

    I would stick to your guns and reiterate you want a paper hearing. I have always had positive contact with the tribunal office (there is a phone number and email on the correspondence which I assume is same as yours).

    Also, for what it’s worth, my Community Benefits and Rights Worker told me I could just decide not to attend on the day- the appeal would still be heard without me. I don’t know if I trust that but it’s what she said.

    Good luck with it all. I hate that so many poorly people are struggling with this.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    Inara, Skycloud, MEMarge and 9 others like this.
  14. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    @Wonko i have only just seen this thread, and I send my best wishes for a satisfactory resolution.
    I feel very emotional that sick people have to go through such damnable hoops to access what is theirs.
    I hope the advice others have given you brings you success in your endeavours without a deterioration in your functioning.
    :hug: If that is ok.
  15. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Hmmmm....I just got a change of circumstances letter from the DWP.

    My SDP has been removed, backdated to June last year, so I would expect to get a demand for repayment of overpayment soon.

    The timing is what I find curious, my research has suggested that it normally takes them about 2 years to realise if it's slipped past the original inter department notification, so 6 months?

    My Tribunal is next Monday (the 29th) so I'm wondering if there is any connection, the timing just seems....odd.
    MEMarge, Binkie4, AndyPandy and 6 others like this.
  16. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    What does that mean?
    Luther Blissett and ladycatlover like this.
  17. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    SDP is a payment that is tied to another benefit (in this case PIP). Because of an unqualified, and lying, assessor last year my entitlement to this other benefit (PIP) was withdrawn, and thus my entitlement to SDP stopped. I immediately appealed the PIP decision and a decision has still not been made on this appeal.

    The normal procedure is that once PIP stops an interdepartmental message is sent which also stops any SDP payment. However this did not happen, so they've continued paying it, which if I win my appeal is all perfectly above board.

    If I lose however, I will have broken a rule on notifying them of their own decision, and they will at some point ask for the overpayment back.

    It just seems very odd for them to have finally noticed this overpayment just a week before my appeal is heard.
  18. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe after all this time someone finally got around to looking at the paperwork for your case.

    Best wishes for the tribunal.
  19. Liv aka Mrs Sowester

    Liv aka Mrs Sowester Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    @Wonko I'm just starting out in the whole claiming process, the CAB have been amazing - there is no way I would be even filling in the forms correctly without their help.
    I looked through the PIP form and jotted down my answers to help me at the CAB the next day. When I got there the chap pulled out a sheet of 'descriptors' and said 'You need to meet the descriptors to get points, if you answer the questions directly you won't meet the descriptors'.
    He's filled out the whole form for me. I couldn't have got it right by myself at my current level of cognitive function.
    He told me that people who have the help of the CAB win 90% of cases at tribunal. It isn't too late to ring them up and get them to help you Wonko.
  20. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    oh it is - ATM I am barely functional, only getting anything done by resting in silence on the bed 20-30 minutes virtually every hour. In the last week I have barely been able to feed myself let alone anything else (first 2 days couldn't even manage a sandwich and couldn't even get justeat to work, another couple of days justeat, next day made an inedible chilli, last night jam and cheese sandwiches etc.) - I haven't been outside, or even downstairs, since I got the blood test done on the 10th.

    I have simple things to do, like copy some stuff onto a USB stick to send out, been well over a week now, not even done that let alone find a jiffy and do a label, let alone get it posted - irrelevant trivia I know, but it's a simple 5 minute job and it's beyond me.

    Cognitively and physically I'm not in good shape, I've been worse, but I'm not up to phone calls, or trying to explain things to people I don't know (or even those I do in enough detail to make a difference).

    So...thank you, I know it's probably good advice, but I'm just not capable ATM.

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