Challenging a PIP decision is straight forward; you just say that you disagree. It is the same when you appeal to a tribunal after the mandatory reconsideration stage. These decisions are mainly about the facts of your case, such as what you can and cannot do when preparing food, washing or bathing or dressing, for example. The decision made by an appeal tribunal cannot be challenged just by saying that you cannot do what they decided you can do.
A tribunal decision can only be challenged by identifying one or more ‘errors of law’ in a document called the statement of reasons, which the tribunal judge has to put together if any party to the appeal requests it. If you are unhappy with the tribunal’s decision, begin by requesting a statement of the tribunal’s reasons for their decision.
In that letter/phone call/email, we recommend that you also request a copy of the judge’s ‘record of proceedings’. We always take our own note of the evidence at a hearing and sometimes this can help you to show that the tribunal misinterpreted the evidence that it heard.
If the record of proceedings is hand-written, it can be hard going, but always make the effort as it can pay off. Bear in mind that you need to make the request for these documents within the time limit of one month, that runs from the date that the Decision Notice was sent, or handed, to you by H M Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS). Talk to us if you have missed that time limit as we may be able to help.
The tribunal that heard your PIP appeal is entitled to make what decision it wants, but it must arrive at that decision in a lawful manner. It cannot ignore the law or case law from the Upper Tribunal or higher courts, where it is relevant to your appeal. Where this applies, or where you can show that the tribunal misunderstood the law, this will be an error of law. It is not just about the law though; where the statement of reasons shows that the tribunal ignored or overlooked evidence, or where they have misinterpreted evidence, or taken account of evidence that is not relevant, then this too will be an error of law. In a statement of reasons, the judge will state what the tribunal found to be facts, and will give their reasons for awarding points, or not doing so, for each part of the PIP test that was relevant to your appeal – preparing food, planning and following journeys, etc. Look at those findings of fact, because the tribunal must decide what the facts are, and must not take into account irrelevant facts, if they are to avoid making an error of law. Reasons for a decision must be adequate, showing how the evidence that they read or heard lead them to the facts that they found, and why those facts lead them to apply the law as they did.
Other potential errors of law apply far less often, that the tribunal made a perverse decision, or that there was a breach of the rules of natural justice. You may well have looked at the tribunal’s Decision Notice and thought it ridiculous, but that is very different to showing that it is perverse. Here, you would have to show that the tribunal acted irrationally, that no reasonable tribunal could have made this decision, given the evidence it had before it, and given what the law says. A breach of the rules of natural justice would involve a procedural error, such as not explaining to you at the start of the hearing that some of the points awarded by the Department were in doubt, so far as they were concerned, and might be taken away; or, not allowing you or your witness to speak, when it was their turn.
Put your application for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal in writing. Try to keep it concise and avoid the temptation to re-argue the evidence; at this stage, the focus is on matters of law, as outlined above. Do not be put off if the judge turns down your application for permission; it can be renewed, directly to the Upper Tribunal, using the form UT1 that should be sent to you with a refusal decision. It is quite common for an Upper Tribunal judge to find an error of law, where the local judge said no.
There is another way of getting the tribunal’s decision undone, and for you to get another hearing before a different panel, but it will apply far less often. We are talking here about having the decision set aside on procedural grounds. A judge will look at your application without either party being there, and he or she will need to accept that it is in the interests of justice that the decision in your appeal be set aside. In addition, they will need to accept that something went wrong at a procedural level, not looking here at either the facts of your case, matters of law or whether the tribunal made the right decision. Examples of when this would apply would be where you could not attend your hearing, perhaps because you were ill; or, the appeal papers or other evidence was not available to the tribunal when it should have been; or, where evidence was not received by you or the Department when it should have been, giving sufficient time before the hearing.
We have seen examples of where a client has successfully applied for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal without representation, but there is no doubt in our minds that your chances of success will be increased by having help from a competent representative. Some clients come to me having been refused permission by the local judge, so that we take over with the application direct to the Upper Tribunal, which is also fine.
A properly completed pip claim form is the foundation for getting the right outcome on your claim, whether you end up with the right award when your claim is first dealt with, after a Mandatory Reconsideration or an appeal to an independent tribunal. You need to know where the Healthcare Professional and Decision Maker are coming from, as well as what the law says the words and phrases in the test mean.. MORE
Your PIP claim, whether a fresh claim or for a move from DLA to PIP, is very likely to involve a face-to-face assessment. Yes, the PIP claim form asks for details of medical people who are or have recently been treating you, and for any medical evidence you have, but in my experience, it is rare for the Department to contact anyone. They would much rather rely on their own PIP assessment, arguing that the disability.. MORE
You would not be reading this if you were happy with what is in your decision letter. In a perfect world, you would be able to say to yourself that if you were refused benefit or if you were awarded less than you hoped for, then it must be because you just didn’t meet the criteria; that the Department for Work & Pensions must know what they are doing. Experience says that you cannot rely on that being the case..MORE
You would probably not be reading this if you were happy with the PIP decision letter. The first thing to remember is that if it is wrong, we can almost certainly put it right, so do not panic. Challenging the PIP decision is a two-stage process and the first of these is a paper challenge, called a mandatory reconsideration. ‘Mandatory’ because you cannot go around it..MORE
You must have received your mandatory reconsideration notice before you can put in an appeal to an independent tribunal. It is better to use the standard SSCS1 appeal form, but the rules say that a letter is acceptable, as long as it includes all the necessary information. The appeal form/letter is sent to the HM Courts & Tribunals office in Bradford..MORE
Challenging a PIP decision is straight forward; you just say that you disagree. It is the same when you appeal to a tribunal after the mandatory reconsideration stage. These decisions are mainly about the facts of your case, such as what you can and cannot do when preparing food, washing or bathing or dressing, for example. The decision made by an appeal tribunal cannot be..MORE
Are you in need of professional PIP or ESA legal help ?
Don't hesitate to contact Disability Claims.
As of February 2021 we have a 97.1% Tribunal success rate based on 611 appeals.
We hope to hear from you soon.
Going from DLA to PIP for my son resulted in only 2 points being awarded; my completion of the mandatory reconsideration form resulted in no improvement. At this point I realised that we needed professional help (with hindsight it would have been better if I had sought this earlier) and found the Disability Claims website via Google Search. They were most helpful and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the system, they meticulously prepared for the appeal tribunal and represented us. The result was an increased award from 2 points to 22 points. We couldn't have achieved this without them. Highly recommended.
Simon - 20 November 2019
“From the moment I spoke to you, you took the anxiety and stress from me. I was still worried about the whole procedure which was affecting my condition. You were so very, very helpful and extremely understanding. I was awarded high Mobility and high daily living. The assessor who came out was a nurse. She was very understanding of my condition and how it affected me. It was a long assessment as I did explain everything in detail. You are so very, very good at what you do. Many thanks once again.”
Mrs P of Suffolk 10 July 2019
“We were kept informed of the progress of the claim and the process we followed.
You obviously have good knowledge on the subject and was to formulate an
accurate statement, and present our case well at the appeal hearing. It is likely that
we will be in touch for help when our renewal form arrives.”
Mr M of Louth
Disability Claims are a courteous professional business. I highly recommend them to anyone needing help with PIP. They are cool and calm and after a few minutes speaking to them I was assured that I had made the right decision to ask their help. Most of all you are not forgotten about, as they check up on how things are, thank you. And to anyone faced with these forms they are your go to business.
Really professional and expertly researched legal representation. I went from 0 points on ESA to 18 points on appeal and got back in the support group. Highly recommended.
I strongly recommend Using Disability Claims. They are the best you can ever hire using PIP tribunal hearings appeal forms and reconsideration the best Welfare Benefit Solicitor in the whole of UK. I strongly recommend Disability Claims as the no 1 Welfare Benefit Solicitor.
With many disabilities, my full DLA allowance when changed across to PIP, and following my assessment, was reduced to standard rates, resulting in the loss of my car. Requested for a tribunal, and gobsmacked when the papers arrived, could not believe the ( I worded it inaccuracies) LIES that the assessor had told. Disability Claims attended the tribunal with me, and I was glad of their experience and reassuring me, if I got really nervous , that they would assist. My PIP was upgraded to enhanced care and mobility. I would certainly recommend that you should not accept any reduction in your benefits and should contact Disability Claims, I cannot express my gratitude enough.
Do not think of attending a tribunal without this business, they made the whole process so easy for my very stressed, distressed sister, who had her entitlement reduced and her car removed,at the change to PIP, they took the time she needed to calm her and put her at ease with some things that she was very uncomfortable talking about, they did a first class job at very short notice and worked until after 8PM on the evening of her initial interview, we would not hesitate to use their service's again or to recommend thrm to anyone who needs this kind of help.
The Disability Claims team are first class. If you need any help with any benefit they are the number one people to call.
They are excellent at what they do and will always explain to you each step of the process.
Fees are very reasonable for all the work and travel involved.
I have recommended them to people in need of their services.
Even get their help when the first forms drop through your letter box.
What can I say? They have helped my wife with her fight against this injustice winning every time which without them been harder..
I have been dealing with Disability Claims for many years for help with claiming the right benefit. They helped me a great deal, particularly when the DWP got it very wrong. They were confident and reassuring that I was in the right and we won no problem on appeal. You can be as genuine as possible, with real issues but often it's how those words are put over - this is where Disability Claims came in. Filled out the same information (mostly) as I did, just worded much better and was successful without any problems. Highly recommend you deal with Disability Claims if you're worried or have issues. In an ideal world this service should not be needed, but the DWP are ruthless and don't care what your circumstances are.
I would like to thank Disability Claims very much for their support and professionalism in dealing with my husbands case. At tribunal they took my husbands ESA case from zero points to support group. They are very pleasant, very experienced and knowledgeable in their work of supporting and advising on benefit claims. They are clear and to the point and I have no doubt that a genuine claimant will be supported 100%. They are very black and white as there is no room for grey areas in these case. I would recommend them to anybody who has a pending appeal or indeed any of the other services they offer. We certainly could not have got through this without their support and very clear understanding. There were no hidden costs everything was very transparent. Professional in every way. Thank you again.
Disability Claims is absolutely brilliant. I too wish that I had used them to fill the dreaded form in to begin with too! I will definitely be using them in the future if needs be. They were so patient, professional, caring, and lovely, lovely people. They travelled a long way to deal with my case and was with me every step of the way. Their service is not for free, but it is worth every single penny. I don't think I would have got the perfect outcome I did without them. In fact I know I wouldn't have. I highly recommend them to others.
Thanks so much.
PIP & ESA Updates
Our PIP & ESA updates newsletter is sent out to everyone who has signed up and keen to keep up to date on the subject of Personal Independence Payments and Employment and Support Allowances. Expect to see links to our latest articles, case studies, testimonials and of course solid guidance on how to navigate the difficult and sometimes complex field of Disability Claims.