PIP Appeal Tribunal Awarded Six Times The Number Of Points Awarded By The DWP
Diana telephoned on 6th June to explain that she had a hearing date in Preston on 19th June for her PIP appeal. With just 9 working days between then and the hearing, I did consider whether the right advice would be to request a postponement but concluded that there would be enough time. Work began that day going through the PIP test together to establish how she should have scored additional points, and my advice was that she should have had awards of the enhanced rate of both components.
On the days that followed, we went through the assessment report together, after receiving the appeal bundle by post, finding a significant number of misunderstandings, omissions and errors. I was then able to put together a submission for the tribunal and the first part of this explained what was wrong with the Department’s assessment and why the tribunal should not rely on it. The second part of the submission set out in detail where Diana should have scored additional points and why, explaining how our view was supported by the legislation, PIP regulations and Upper Tribunal case law. I enclosed one of the Upper Tribunal decisions that I thought was particularly relevant. I took a witness statement from her daughter and after she approved the draft version, all our written evidence was emailed to the tribunal office, seven days before the hearing.
Diana's husband and daughter attended the hearing to support their witness statements and Diana did particularly well with her evidence. Everything seemed to have gone well but since the tribunal opted to put the decision in the post, rather than announce it on the day, the outcome could not be taken for granted. I got a call from Diana on the Saturday following the hearing to explain she had scored a total of 36 points, a massive improvement on the 6 points awarded by the Department. Out of the 14 points scored for the daily living component, eight of these came from preparing food, which I was particularly pleased about. The tribunal went on to award 10 points for Planning & following journeys and 12 points for moving around and the icing on the cake was that their award was not for a fixed period, so is ongoing.
I have seen arrears paid within a matter of days of a hearing, but this appears to be rare. I generally advise a client that they should expect 4 to 6 weeks and allowing six weeks, Diana's arrears period amounts to 67 weeks. Taking the April 2019 uprating into account, her arrears should amount to £9780, quite a good return on her fixed fee of £2685. It represents 27% of her arrears, justifying our reluctance to charge a percentage of a client’s arrears. Diana’s ongoing four-weekly payments will be £595. A good outcome.