The Tribunals Service has announced the start of Continuous Online Resolution (COR) for PIP claimants from this month, beginning with a trial scheme in the Midlands. The new system obliges most claimants to go through an online appeal before they can progress to an oral hearing.
As we explained last month, under COR, most PIP and ESA claimants who appeal a decision will have their appeal looked at by an online tribunal panel.
The panel will review all the documents relating to the appeal and will then ask the appellant any further questions they think may be relevant.
Once the tribunal has all the information it thinks it needs, it gives the claimant and the DWP a ‘preliminary view’.
This is, in reality, a decision, telling the claimant what award of PIP, for example, the panel thinks they should get and the reasons for reaching the decision.
The claimant is given a deadline to respond and say whether they agree with the decision.
If the claimant agrees, and the DWP do not object, then this becomes the final decision.
If the claimant does not agree, they have the right to have the case heard at an oral hearing in the normal way.
The pilot scheme will be launched in mid-April. It will be trialled by Midlands, Sutton and North-West Tribunal Panels, inviting up to 1000 appellants to participate in the trial on a rolling basis in groups of 50.
Benefits and Work would very much like to hear from anyone who finds themselves involved in the pilot.
The Tribunals Service has also announced other steps in its aim to digitise appeals, including:
The Submit Your Appeal service will be extended to other benefits as well as the current PIP and ESA appeals, this summer. Appellants can complete and submit appeals online and can upload supporting evidence
Track Your Appeals and Notifications for PIP and ESA will come out of beta and be available nationally. It is a free sign up service that allows appellants and their representatives to track their progress in the appeal process using an online progress tracking bar. Text and email notifications provide status updates so that appellants know what stage their appeal has reached and the date and time of the next hearing, where appropriate.
Two new services will start this Autumn. Manage Your Appeal and Manage Post Hearing Appeals will enable appellants to view their appeal online, make applications, confirm hearing dates and submit expenses claims.