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.