PIP appeal in East London
I have not come across a client with symptoms quite like Martin’s. Stress quickly makes his anxiety worse and it exacerbates his gastric problems so that our phone calls had been punctuated by retching and vomiting. He also suffered with heart disease and paranoid schizophrenia. The DWP had not done an awful job with his claim, awarding him the enhanced rate of mobility and leaving him just 1 point short of the enhanced rate of daily living.
We always put in a written submission to the tribunal that sets out the client’s case and for Martin, it explained why we considered that he should score more points for four of the daily living activities. A tribunal has to the power to leave a decision unchanged but can also take away some or all the points awarded so we also covered mobility in the submission, explaining why Martin should have scored more than the 14 points that the DWP awarded.
The judge recognised me from a previous visit to East London, which was nice, and the hearing began well with the judge telling us that the tribunal accepted what we set out in the written submission and that this was supported by the evidence we had sent in. They had been tempted to award 2 additional points and send Martin on his way with his four year award. However, they knew what could happen when such a short-term award comes up for renewal and they wanted to do more for him.
The hearing continued and Martin was giving his evidence when he began to retch and we had to get to the toilet quickly. I am used to taking my bag with out with me when there is a short adjournment, because it could contain a recording device but the judge wanted all our papers out of the room as well. With hindsight, I should have understood why he gave that instruction. Once out of the toilet, the clerk passed a message to the tribunal to say that we were ready to resume, so we waited. We waited so long that, with no sign of the clerk, I reluctantly knocked and put my head around the door of the tribunal room. The judge was typing at the clerk’s table; he said that they had allowed Martin’s appeal, with him scoring “11 million points”, surely an unusual remark from a tribunal judge.
I was asked to go in alone, just to pick up the copies of the decision. The judge said that he doubted he had ever awarded anyone 27 points for daily living before. The award for mobility was also increased, from 14 to 22 points. The decision notice was the most strongly worded I can remember seeing, in support of their decision to give an indefinite award to this young man. The judge went out of his way to be helpful, explaining in the decision notice that the nurse who did his assessment had gravely underestimated the extent of Martin’s mental disablement.
Martin was hugely relieved at the outcome.