The DWP are trying to intimidate an increasing number of PIP appeal claimants into accepting a lower award than the claimant thinks is correct, the Guardian has revealed.
It has been known for some time that a small number of claimants who have lodged a PIP appeal are being telephoned by a decision maker with a better award than the one they are appealing against.
However, it appears that in an increasing number of cases claimants are being told that they must either accept the offer straight away over the phone, or within an hour when they will receive a call-back, or the offer will lapse.
This is almost certainly unlawful and unquestionably bad practice. If a decision maker believes a higher award is appropriate they should simply revise their decision, regardless of whether the claimant agrees or not.
What the claimant is not told in the course of these phone calls is that, even if they accept the offer , they are free to then lodge an appeal against it and they do not need to go through the mandatory reconsideration process again.
Instead, often vulnerable claimants without access to any sort of independent advice are pressured into accepting an award that is lower than the one they would have received if they had gone to a tribunal. They believe that by accepting the offer they have forfeited the right to appeal and so lose out, while the DWP saves money and avoids losing at yet another tribunal.
We’ll be updating our PIP appeals guide to warn readers of these underhand tactics. Meanwhile, we would be interested to hear from readers who have been victim of this sort of dishonest treatment.