Now that's what I call a PIP reconsideration request..
We helped Cathy with her claim for PIP and we always confirm our advice on entitlement in writing. That advice to a client is usually that there are two outcomes; what she is really entitled to, being what we would expect a tribunal to award on appeal, as opposed to the points we expect the assessor and decision maker to award. There should be no such difference because everyone is applying the same law, but experience tells us that the difference does exist. We explain all this to a client in plain English, not trying to impress with jargon.
Cathy received from us a score sheet that highlighted her relevant descriptors, the detailed letter of advice and a copy of the agreed wording on her claim form. They are all used when we prepare a client for their assessment, once the date for this is known, and clients tell us that this call of 20 to 60 minutes has been invaluable to them.
Our advice to Cathy was that she should not score fewer than 10 points for daily living and 20 for mobility. The decision to award 8 points for daily living and 10 for mobility was surprising and disappointing. We don’t know what was said by the client during the assessment but we do know that the decision was wrong. We gave advice on Cathy’s options and she trusted our judgment and instructed us to request a mandatory reconsideration. We went carefully through the assessment report with her when this arrived as it is important to see where the claim had gone wrong. In the meantime, we asked her to request a copy of her GP notes from her surgery, which we went through page by page. We took statements from people who had seen for themselves how Cathy was affected by her medical conditions and set out her case in a letter to the DWP, explaining where points should be scored and why, supporting this with Upper Tribunal cases. We always ask a client to comment on a tribunal submission or a reconsideration request as it is important that we have correctly understood how she is affected.
According to the Government’s statistics, not many reconsiderations result in any additional points being awarded, never mind getting to the right award, so it was very pleasing when they increased her score to 21 points for daily living and 22 for mobility. We had also put forward reasons why the award should have been for more than the usual three years, but were unsuccessful here. Cathy was happy and the effort put into her case had been well worthwhile.