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TOPIC: Our Little Success Story

Our Little Success Story 1 month 2 weeks ago #242487

Apologies for the delay, guys. I have a thread here about my daughter's PIP claim, but I just can't find it in order to add to it - so I'm starting a new one. If admin can find it and add this to it, then I would be grateful. With the recent GE result, I'm bracing myself for more bad news over the next few years - so may I once again thank Steve, Gordon & the crew for just 'being there' for us, and providing the facts & figures which we need. I don't post very much at all, but B&W is my 'reference library' - as it has the up-to-date authoritative information we need.

Part One - The Original 2016 PIP Appeal Hearing.
Our daughter has been receiving PIP for her learning disabilities - and it has boosted her fragile confidence tremendously in that she has been able to buy things which 'enable' her in so many respects. It benefits us all, as our family budget is not stretched as far as it might have been otherwise. But time flies, and her 2-year PIP award expired recently - so we had to go through the usual PIP 're-application' process a year earlier than the norm. However, in 2019 she turned 18 years old, so she qualified for support from our local Learning Disability Support Service - which was truly outstanding ! If I may, I would like to share our PIP renewal 'story' here - perchance that it may help and encourage others.

In 2016, after a DWP decision & reconsideration to award zero points, HMCTS agreed to an appeal tribunal hearing with just myself present as my daughter's representative (and carer). This followed 2 hearing postponements while the DWP (& HMCTS ?) requested further evidence from our daughter's GP - and I pleaded that this had raised my daughter's anxiety levels excessively. I had also sent HMCTS a rather wordy submission which relied heavily on the need to be able to perform the Daily & Mobility Activities reliably - ie., to be able to do so:
safely;
within a reasonable amount of time;
to an acceptable level when completed;
repeatedly as and when required.

Rightly or wrongly, I consider PIP applications, reconsiderations & appeal hearings as a form of 'bargaining' - with an agreement hopefully being reached which is likely to be somewhere in between our own submitted expectations and the DWP's desire to pay as little as possible. My realistic (but unspoken) expectation was to merely be awarded the Standard (lower) PIP rate for Daily Living, and no more - but my submission actually argued for over 12 points on both the Daily and the Mobility Activities. I entered the tribunal hearing room, took my coat off and sat down with sleeves already rolled up. I then took my appeal papers from the folder and leant forward ready to do battle - making firm eye contact. Sure - I was nervous as hell - but I tried not to let that show as I thanked them for agreeing to allow me to speak on my daughter's behalf.

At this point, the tribunal Judge interrupted me to explain that they had already discussed the claim and had agreed that my daughter was in fact entitled to the Standard PIP rate for Daily Living and for Mobility !!! She explained that I was still entitled to argue my case further if I so wished - but I managed to contain myself and avoided punching the air with a loud "YESSS !" The Judge also explained that the PIP award would only be for a 2-year period, as there was a possibility that my daughter's condition could improve or have less impact within that period. I smiled gently and agreed to accept the Tribunal's decision - whereupon the Judge 'wrapped up' the hearing and told me that I could wait for the written decision to be typed up, or it could be posted to me later (which I agreed to.) I thanked the Tribunal for their time and attention, and was out of the room within 5 minutes - job done !

As many will know, we can ask HMCTS for an explanation of how the Tribunal Judge's decision was reached - and of course this is essential if we intend to appeal further (ie., to the 'Upper Tribunal.') But if we are happy with the Judge's decision, then we will probably just 'take the money and run' - and won't ask for an explanation. But I decided that (as the Judge had advised) our daughter's condition will be scrutinised again after 2 years - and of course that will mean going through the whole process all over again. It occurred to me that this Tribunal's decision could still have relevance in 2 years' time - so I asked for an explanation, anyway - which I duly received, along with a CD recording of the short appeal hearing.

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Success Story Continued. 1 month 2 weeks ago #242488

Part 2 - The 2019 PIP Renewal.
The PIP Renewal form was essentially just another 40-page PIP2 form. However, one of the requirements for receiving support from our local Learning Disability Service was that the disability is considered to be a lifelong and permanent disability - which it is, and which the Disability Service accepted as such. We were therefore able to state that in the opinion of a PROFESSIONAL BODY OF LEARNING DISABILITY SPECIALISTS our daughter's disability is not going to improve with time. We went through each of the Daily Living & Mobility Activities and found that the replies to these would be almost identical to those given in the original 2016 PIP application - the only differences being just fine details, and immaterial to the PIP claim decision.

I decided to enter a statement in the "Any further information" section which pointed out the above, and suggested that if the DWP prefers to rely upon a general and less-focussed 'disability analysis' over the considered opinion of a professional body of learning disability specialists - then they had better have good reason for doing so, particularly if these specialists continue to support the findings of the 2016 Appeal Tribunal. I copied our daughter's support worker in to this, and she was willing to back us up. Sure enough, the assessors (IAS - aka Atos in our case) phoned her, and I assume that she answered their questions truthfully and professionally. Our daughter subsequently received a DWP 'Letter of Entitlement' - without her having to undergo yet another 'disability assessment !

But in addition to 'waving through' her PIP renewal without further ado, the DWP had increased both her Daily Living and Mobility levels from 'Standard' to 'Enhanced' - and for 3 years !!! We had only asked for the claim to be continued at the 'Standard' level set by the 2016 Appeal Tribunal - so this was an unexpected bonus - and it meant that our daughter could apply for a 'Motability' lease on a new car, which she has now done.

I have posted this 'story of our journey' here in the hope that it might inspire others to 'be bold' in the face of the DWP and not to be deterred by the HMCTS Appeal Tribunal service. Even if you are shaking with fear at a tribunal hearing - let them see you shaking ! Although there is very little to fear if you are being honest with them. But do try and get some backing from your local authorities, the CAB, etc. And of course do remember that you are NOT alone, because Steve, Gordon & the team here are backing you up - not just with various opinions, but with factual information - and I thank them for all the help that I have been able to take from here over the past few years. It's about time I did !!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: lesley, An ex nurse, Becky, Devon idil, SUE C C, jim555

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Success Story Continued. 1 month 2 weeks ago #242490

Bill

I'm very pleased for you and your daughter, well done for the increased award and thank you for posting your rale.

Gordon

Tags: @RESULT @PIP
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bill-K

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