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, so get specialist advice before you give up and accept what the Decision Maker says.
Yes, they might be right, but it is so rare for us to have to tell a client that they are barking up the wrong tree and that the Department are right.
OK, so what do you do when a decision that you do not agree with arrives? We recommend that you call PIP to request a copy of the assessment report, because this is very likely to be where things went wrong. When we recommend this to clients, they will sometimes say that they have seen the report, but they are talking about the page or so of excerpts from the report, since most of the assessment reports are around 28 pages long.
We go through these reports with clients, pretty much line by line, to see what went wrong, what wasn’t said, what has the Healthcare Professional misunderstood, what didn’t they include in the report and whether things happened just as they described in the musculoskeletal system section. I do not recommend that you say that the Healthcare Professional lied. Look at it from the Decision Maker’s or tribunal’s point of view. Why would they lie? What do they have to gain by lying? Who does have something to gain by lying? You do.
For this reason we much prefer to describe our criticisms of the assessment report as misunderstandings, omissions and mistakes. One client described himself as a bit of an inventor, and he recorded the whole thing using a tiny body camera. The report described a full examination having been carried out by the doctor, whereas the video showed him approaching the client, the client declining and the doctor backing away. That client did no harm by accusing the doctor of lying as he had the evidence to back it up. The client went to the trouble of getting a forensic report on his recording, to exclude the possibility of him having tampered with it. The tribunal in Walsall had a screen to view the video evidence, but they opted not to watch it, dealing instead with the appeal on the usual evidence, which they accepted, allowing his appeal.
Should you complain to the company that employs the Healthcare Professional if you had a bad experience at the assessment? Yes, but if you came out of the assessment and felt that you had been dealt with badly, that it was rushed, that the assessor had been rude or they had refused to look at evidence that you considered to be relevant, then we hope that you would have made that complaint at once, and before anyone could suggest that it was ‘sour grapes’ over a decision that you did not like. Although we have yet to see such a complaint achieve anything, it is helpful, certainly at the appeal stage, to show that you had felt that strongly about your experience.
Remember, if the decision 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; you have to go through this stage before you will have the option of an appeal to an independent tribunal.
We might advise you not to instruct us to help at this mandatory reconsideration stage – it depends on the gap between the points that you did score and the points that you should have scored. If you have scored few or no points, then even working together, the chances of persuading the second Decision Maker that the first one got it totally wrong would be close to nil, so it would not be a good use of your energy or resources to instruct me.
Our experience tells us that where you find yourself in that situation, it is better for you to go through the motions, just asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at the PIP decision again, and instead of involving mes, focus your efforts on a tribunal appeal, where the quality of decision is very much better.
What do we mean by this? Well, as an example, the law says that if you can do one of the activities in the test, preparing food, walking 20 metres, etc. then they must consider whether you can do it safely, do it as often as reasonably required, do it to an acceptable standard, and do it within a reasonable time. This is in regulation 4(2A), but it might as well not be there as far as Healthcare Professionals and Decision Makers are concerned as we have yet to see this part of the law applied correctly. A tribunal will look at these factors and can be persuaded to award points where they apply.
The sad fact is that there is often a difference between what a Decision Maker can be expected to award on a claim, or a mandatory reconsideration, and what an appeal tribunal can be expected to award you. The most recent Government figures that we have seen showed that just 17% of PIP mandatory reconsiderations resulted in any additional points being awarded, never mind the correct award being made, so it can make sense to concentrate on a fight that you can win, rather than one that you are very likely to lose.
The time limit for requesting a reconsideration is one month from the date on the decision letter, regardless of how long it took to reach you. Comply with that time limit if you possibly can, and keep a copy of your letter. I send reconsideration requests ‘signed for’, just for piece of mind, and where the time limit is close, ‘next day delivery guaranteed’. Do not give up if you miss the one-month deadline as it is often possible to get a late request accepted. There is an ‘absolute time limit’ of 13 months (the one month, plus an additional 12 months). Talk to us if you have missed even this extended time limit as we may still be able to help.
When we work on a mandatory reconsideration, we make every effort to get the right result, so that the delay, stress and expense of a tribunal appeal can be avoided. We begin by going through the PIP test with you to see where you should have scored points, why you should have scored them and how strong a claim you have for those points.
Once we know what it is we have to prove, we can then take you through the assessment report written by the Healthcare Professional at the face-to-face meeting, to see where this went wrong. Some clients believe that the reasons included in the PIP decision is the full report, but the assessment report is usually about 28 pages in length. We go through this with you pretty much line by line, to see what is wrong, what has been misunderstood and what has not been included at all.
We will have agreed sources of evidence to support our view of where you should have scored points. This could be medical reports or letters that you already have, or that we request. It could be medical notes from your GP surgery, but could also be witness statements taken by me from people who know for themselves how you are affected by your medical conditions.
With the groundwork done, we are in a position to put together the mandatory reconsideration request and the first part of this would explain to the Decision Maker what was wrong with their assessment of you and why they should not give it much weight.
We explain in detail where you should have scored points and why, referring to the PIP legislation, the regulations and the Upper Tribunal case law that supports your case.
We get a great deal of satisfaction in getting the original decision changed at the mandatory reconsideration stage, avoiding the stress, delay and expense of a tribunal appeal and getting arrears of the new award dating back to the date of claim.
What if you are happy with the award, but dismayed at the prospect of having to go through the whole claim/assessment/decision process again in a year or two? The law does allow you to challenge a decision, and to appeal, just over the length of the award. It would be very unusual, and we recommend that you get specialist advice before you begin such a challenge, but it could be done.
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 November 2023 we have a 98.65% Tribunal success rate, based on 716 appeals.
We hope to hear from you soon.
Many thanks to Sebastian Brooks. I recommend him. He is most knowledgeable and professional. With his help, DWP got the correct award for me and did so without the need for an assessment.
So glad we found Sebastian Brooks! Without him I doubt we would have navigated the PIP process and gained our awards. Sebastian worked with us and the results were such a relief. I would recommend Sebastian to anyone going through the application process or if, like me , you have to go to tribunal.
I used Disability Claims UK to help with my child's first PIP claim and I cannot recommend them enough. From the outset, Sebastian Brooks was professional, approachable and efficient and explained the process and the law around it in easy to understand language. It felt like there was a mountain to climb but he made it all seem so straightforward, helping to collate all the paperwork and giving honest and reliable advice.
I knew straight away that I had made the right decision in reaching out to Glenn Brooks for help with my Pip application. He is very professional, supportive and talked me through the whole process. After two stressful applications in the past on my own, both with 0 points, with Glenn's knowledge I have been successful. I have been awarded standard daily living and also standard mobility for fibromyalgia. I would absolutely recommend the help from Disability Claims and I will definitely be contacting again when my renewal is due. Thank you very much.
Joanne Porter - April 2021
I couldn’t have got my pip sorted without Glenn he walks you through the whole process and prepares you for the assessment, he makes you feel at ease but is totally professional. I would highly recommend him to help you with this. It will take the pressure off this arduous application process , including the stress of the forms. He knows this benefit inside and out, and it’s so reassuring . I’ve just heard I’ve received the full award I was entitled to and I couldn’t have received this without Glenn’s help. The thing that helped me the most was the preparation call before the assessment . He provides an excellent service .
Melanie Simpson - March 2021
Glenn Brooks always answered my call or txt's to help me with any questions or problems.
he's very polite and professional with me.
No question's were ever unanswered.
And i was very pleased with my tribunal outcome WE WON BRILLIANT.
I highly recommend you give Glenn a call he's the best.
Andrew Hunt - February 2021
I have to admit when I opened the application form my heart sank. It appeared so long and complicated & I really couldn’t be sure of the context so I referred to the guidance book and blind panic set in! Where to start?
Thankfully, I discovered Glenn Brooks Disability Lawyer on Google and he calmed my severe anxiety, supported and guided me through the whole process with a clear upfront fee.
For that I got expert advice & very patient, caring support. One thing’s for sure Glenn is not just totally focused on supporting his clients he is passionately empathic – he really cares about you. Thank you Glenn.
Paul Lonsdale - January 2021
Can I first congratulate you on the way you have written the content of your site. Despite there being quite a number of sites that appear to offer information and help, yours was by far the most informative and written with insight from a claimant's point of view.
Thank you for that.
Madeleine - April 2021
Glenn Brooks is simply a God sent from start to finish. From the first phone call I made to Glenn. He reassured me after listening to me and explained all I needed to know. Glenn was there for me from the start. His fees are reasonable and I worked out a payment plan. I wish many people going through mandatory reconsiderations and tribunal appeal can find Glenn. Without him by my side I would not have been able to cope or go through such a difficult process. My appeal was successful. Thank you for everything Glenn Brooks. Thank you.
AYODELE AWARUNS - December 2020
I had a thorough consultation with Glenn before deciding to move forward. Everything was very simple in terms of getting copies of paperwork for evidence to support my PIP claim.
I didn’t have to fill the forms in which I struggle with; it was completed over the phone. It was really helpful to have someone talk to you about your disability while the form is being completed as I would have missed key things that the assessor needed to be aware of.
I got the award I was entitled to and wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this without Disability Claims. I am very happy and will use the company again when my award is due for renewal.
Suzanne Ellis - September 2020
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.
“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
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.