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Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Our fortnightly bulletin, with over 80,000 subscribers, is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Find out what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

PIP appeal success
“I just wanted to say how grateful I am to the advice on this wonderful website and forum. If I'd have known about it from the start of my PIP application it would have marginally less stressful because after all Atos and the DWP still make it as awful as possible… I lodged my appeal following the model submissions in the members guides about the vital evidence overlooked by both the HP and DM… Today, to my amazement, I received a letter from the DWP to say that they had looked at my case again and changed the award back to what it was last time, that my appeal was over and the back payments would be in my bank account by Monday. I never imagined that they would change their minds at this stage and had been having sleepless night since June about the thought of a tribunal hearing. It's purely down to the advice received here in formulating my appeal submissions that led to this outcome. Now I know where to come from now on. Thank you!”

DLA to PIP award – from 0 points with no appeal
“THANK YOU to all the people on this site who have HELPED me through the Long DLA to PIPS journey. Starting from 0 points, I have TODAY ACCEPTED 11 and 14 points. Now look forward to a large Back Pay and GETTING MY LIFE BACK !!! If you have just found out you have 0 points, I hope my message will encourage you to fight back and get the points your entitled to. Special thanks to Gordon, Mrs Hurtyback [Moderators] and all the people I have engaged with. Good Luck to all.”

Won PIP Appeal
“Many thanks to all at B&W for all the guides and help and support given to us all, all year around. I really do appreciate all your hard work everyone. My appeal last week was set aside, and new decision made: Enhanced Mobility ( not appealing)..Enhanced Daily Living awarded”

Read more feedback from the forum

 

Prepare to win your PIP appeal

Winning a personal independence payment (PIP) appeal is not as unlikely as you may think.

Because the success rate for PIP appeals was a staggering 73% at the end of 2018. This is according to statistics released by the Tribunals Services in March 2019. You can download the latest PIP appeal statistics here

This doesn’t mean that all those claimants who won their PIP appeal actually got the award they thought they were entitled to. They might have got less. But it does mean that they got a better award from a tribunal than they got from the DWP.

So, the odds of winning are in your favour from the outset.

And with careful preparation you can improve those odds even further.

Join thousands of  other claimants by using the Benefits and Work guides to give yourself the very best possible chance of not only winning, but getting the award you  are entitled to, in full.

 

Thinking about challenging a PIP decision?

pip appeals for claimantsSo, if you are thinking about challenging a PIP decision, don’t begin without consulting the Benefits and Work guides. Written by experienced welfare rights workers and a barrister, they’re the next best thing to having a welfare rights worker by your side.

Our instantly downloadable PIP appeals guides include:

  • A Guide to PIP Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals
  • The Best Possible Support For Clients With PIP Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals
  • A Guide to PIP Appeal Submissions
  • The Best Possible Ways to Challenge A PIP Assessment Report

And you can even use our Guide to PIP Claims and Reviews to check whether, in your original claim, you gave enough detailed evidence about which point scoring descriptors apply to you.

If you didn’t, it’s not too late to put things right in your appeal form or in a written submission to the tribunal. Our guides tell you how.

So, give yourself the best possible chance of appeal success by becoming a Benefits and Work member and getting instant access to all our downloadable guides.

 

PIP mandatory reconsiderations

Unlike in the past, when you could simply go straight to appeal if you were unhappy with a benefits decision, you now have to have a mandatory reconsideration before you can actually appeal.

This means that the decision has to be looked at by another decision maker before you can lodge an appeal.

Your chances of winning at this stage are very poor.

According to the DWP’s own statistics, the success rate for PIP mandatory reconsiderations for new claims was just 19% at the end of 2018 . You can download the latest PIP mandatory reconsideration statistics from here.

But the mandatory reconsideration system has been designed simply to discourage claimants from getting as far as an appeal.

And it has been very successful for the DWP. Since mandatory reconsiderations were introduced, the number of social security appeals has fallen dramatically.

Which is an enormous shame, as many thousands of people who are entitled to a PIP award drop out every year. The DWP succeeds in wearing them down, often making their health condition even worse in the process.

So, please remember, if you don’t give up at this point, but carry on to an oral appeal hearing, then the tables are turned and your chances of winning rocket.

 

PIP appeal deadlines

pip appeals for support workersThe appeal process is full of deadlines.

And the first of these is the deadline for requesting a mandatory reconsideration.

You have one month from the date on the PIP decision letter to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. If you miss this deadline, you can put in a late request up to an absolute deadline of 13 months from the date on your PIP decision letter. The longer the delay the better reasons you need to have.

There’s more on this in our guides.

You can make your mandatory reconsideration request by phone, but we would strongly advise you not to unless you are absolutely up against the deadline. Even then, we would advise you to follow it up in writing. This is because of the real risk that the DWP will say that they have no record of your mandatory reconsideration request and then you may face enormous difficulties lodging an appeal.

There is an online mandatory reconsideration request form which you can download, fill in on screen and then print off and send. You can use it for PIP and a range of other benefits.

There are full details in our PIP appeals guide of how the mandatory reconsideration process works.

Our guide to PIP appeal submissions includes a sample mandatory reconsideration request.

Give yourself the best possible chance of appeal success by becoming a Benefits and Work member and getting instant access to all our downloadable resources.

 

Our PIP appeals guides make a difference

If you are unhappy with the mandatory reconsideration decision, as you very probably will be, our PIP appeals guides will help you to give yourself the best possible chance of success at your appeal.

Amongst other issues, the guides takes you through:

  • how to fill in the SSCS1 appeal form or online appeal form
  • understanding the appeal papers
  • why an oral hearing is so much better than a paper one
  • how to go and watch tribunals before attending yourself
  • the value of written submissions
  • using upper tribunal decisions
  • whether and how to invite witnesses
  • the importance of how you travel to the tribunal
  • what happens at the tribunal
  • dealing with difficult tribunal members

And, once again, there is a vital deadline for you to meet.

If you do decide to lodge an appeal, the most important thing is to do so within one month of the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

You can download the SSCS1 appeal form from this webpage.

Our guide to PIP appeal submissions includes a sample completed SSCS1 form.

Alternatively, if you live in England or Wales, you can now use a new online appeal form for PIP . If you use this form you can also track your appeal and receive reminders and confirmations as it progresses through the system.

 

How to challenge a PIP assessment report

As well as our appeals guide, you can download our guide to the Best Possible Ways To Challenge A PIP assessment report.

It’s packed with over 50 different ways in which you may be able to show that the Atos (or Independent Assessment Services as they now prefer to be known) or Capita assessment report is unreliable. It has dozens of sample texts to help you create your own challenges.

In the end, what really counts at an appeal tribunal is showing the ways that the descriptors apply to you, rather than showing why the DWP are wrong.

But pointing out some of the worst errors, omissions or downright untruths in the assessment report makes it easier for the panel to decide to attach little weight to the DWPs evidence and to prefer yours instead.

 

How to write an appeal submission

You don’t have to write a submission for your appeal.

But a written submission can give you a big head-start, by putting your most important arguments in front of the tribunal members before the hearing even begins.

It can even help you to avoid having to appear before a tribunal at all.

This is because the Tribunals Service is currently trying out what it calls case management ‘triage sessions’. During these sessions a tribunal panel look at the papers relating to upcoming appeals to identify any cases that can be allowed without needing an oral hearing.

If it is clear to them that you are entitled to what you are requesting, you will find out in writing that your appeal is successful without you having to attend a hearing.

If they do not decide to award you the amount of PIP that you say you are entitled to, then your appeal will continue in the normal way.

Our collection of sample submissions includes a step-by-step guide to writing appeal submissions which can also be used for completing your SSCS1 appeal form.

It also includes a sample mandatory reconsideration request and a sample completed SSCS1 form.

Plus there are lots of sample written PIP submissions to study, so you can be confident that yours will do the job you need it to do.

So, give yourself the best possible chance of appeal success by becoming a Benefits and Work member and getting instant access to all our downloadable resources.

 

‘Text box tribunals’ are coming – stay informed

The way PIP appeals operate is changing.

Pilots are beginning in 2019 of a new system of Continuous Online Resolution (COR).

Under COR, most PIP claimants who challenge 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 claimant any further questions they think may be relevant.

For example:

“Tell us more about your work in a factory”

“What help do you need with cooking?”

“What pain do you have when walking?”

The claimant is given a deadline to respond to these questions. They do this by typing directly into text boxes in a Tribunals Service online account dashboard.

Once the online tribunal has all the information it needs they issue a decision.

If the claimant isn’t happy with this decision they can still ask for an oral hearing to take place.

But it means one more hoop for claimants to jump through and even more dropping out before they get to an oral hearing.

You can read more about online PIP appeal hearings here.

Better still, become a Benefits and Work member and ensure you always have access to the best possible information to get, and keep, your PIP award.