ESA and PIP appeals in Birmingham
The Tribunal Service helped by listing Jon’s two appeals on the same day as it avoided travelling to sunny Birmingham a second time. Years ago, if a client had appeals for both ESA and PIP, they were listed before the same tribunal but a policy decision stopped that. It was awkward doing it that way since the panel for a PIP appeal includes a ‘disability qualified panel member’ whereas for ESA, it is just the tribunal judge and a medical member.
ESA had found Jon capable of work with a score of zero points. His appeal against that decision was heard in the morning and went very well with the tribunal awarding 18 points, more than the required 15 points. They also agreed with us that Jon should have qualified for the support group, so that he got the higher rate of benefit and was not required to carry out ‘work-related activity’.
Jon, his father and I ate sandwiches in the waiting area because the PIP appeal was listed for just after lunch. It had been explained to us that the PIP panel would be given a copy of the morning’s ESA appeal decision. Jon went into the PIP appeal with 2 points for the daily living component and 4 for mobility, so no award. However, our appeal was refused, the tribunal confirmed the DWP’s decision. We were surprised and disappointed, and I could not tell why they refused us; certainly, there was nothing wrong with the evidence they heard that day. I remained convinced about Jon’s entitlement to PIP, that he should have had the enhanced rate of both components. We don’t just walk away from a client in a situation like this, so it was agreed that I would ask the judge for a statement of their reasons for the decision, the idea being that if we could find an ‘error of law’ in that statement, then we would try to get it set aside by the Upper Tribunal.
I considered that there were errors of law in the statement of reasons that arrived and I put together an application for permission to appeal to the UT. That application was dealt with by a judge sitting alone and we must have done a decent job because instead of giving us permission to appeal, that judge set aside the first tribunal’s decision and directed that Jon’s PIP appeal be re-heard by a different panel. This avoided what would have been a very time-consuming process.
Jon still had a long wait for that re-hearing in Birmingham but it was worth it as the new panel agreed with our assessment of his entitlement so that he got the awards of the enhanced rate of both the daily living and mobility components of PIP, backdated of course to the original date of claim.