Following the release last month of figures revealing how many claimants initially refused any PIP get enhanced awards as a result of lapsed appeals, should claimants be much more aware of them as the second stage in a three part challenge process?
Last month, Labour MP Marsha De Cordova asked DWP minister Tom Pursglove for statistics on lapsed appeals.
Lapsed appeal is the term the DWP use for when they make an award, or a better award, to a claimant who has lost their mandatory reconsideration and lodged an appeal. This causes the appeal to lapse because there has now been a new decision, although you can choose to appeal against this decision too.
The statistics reveal that over the four years up to April 2022, 10.5% of claimants who were not awarded any PIP and who lodged an appeal got an award due to a lapsed appeal. This is a total of 30,200 claimants.
Astonishingly, 51% of these claimants got at least one enhanced component.
It’s a big leap to go from no award at all to at least one enhanced component. To make an offer that high before an appeal suggests that no-one was looking very closely at the claim or the mandatory reconsideration stage.
And that the challenge process should really be thought of as:
The very sad part of this is the number of claimants who drop out after a failed mandatory reconsideration, not realizing there is a real chance of a good award without having to actually go to an appeal hearing - even if you have been given no award at all so far.
According to the DWP’s quarterly statistics, between April 2013 and September 2021, only 38% of completed mandatory reconsiderations went on to appeal.
Yet over one in seven of those claimants then had their appeals lapsed because they were made a better offer by the DWP without going to a tribunal hearing.
And, as we now know, many of those were offers of enhanced awards for at least one component.
Indeed in the current newsletter, Benefits and Work has published feedback from a member who got enhanced rates for both components at a lapsed appeal, having previously been awarded nothing.
“I applied for PIP in May last year using your PIP guidance. I had a telephone assessment where I felt the assessor was trying to lead to answers he wanted. I got refused PIP with 4 points overall so asked for mandatory reconsideration. Again refused so applied for a Tribunal . . . Last week I got a call saying DWP did not want to go to Tribunal and has changed their decision. I received PIP backdated and enhanced rate in both categories. Being finally believed was so emotional for me. Without Benefits and Works I would not have known how to present my issues, or keep fighting when I was struggling so much with physical and mental disabilities.”
So, we would suggest that even if you don’t feel you can face an appeal, you seriously consider lodging one to see if the DWP make you an offer before the hearing.
We’ll be updating our PIP appeals guide in the next two weeks to include more on lapsed appeals.