More adventures in PIP: the DWP sets you up to fail.

So I’m not one to boast (honest!) but I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person. I have a Masters degree. I’ve worked in housing and youth work and at various points I’ve worked in a professional capacity with benefits offices, social services and housing organisations. I’ve written benefits forms for almost every benefit there is at one point or another, and I feel pretty confident that I know how the benefits system works.

And I’d like you to bear the above in mind when I say, trying to organise my PIP appeal is not easy.

2016-01-11 12.31.54

The top brown folder is the paperwork I already had. The pile underneath is the “bundle” the DWP sent to me.

My “bundle” arrived in the post a few days ago. This is the pile of paperwork the DWP send you when you say you’re going to a tribunal to challenge their decision. Because the tribunal is handled by the courts, the DWP has to give up any documentation they have for my PIP application so we can look over it and make my case for qualifying for PIP. Firstly let’s cast aside the fact that 99.9% of the 183 pages I was sent I already have. When they say you are sent a bundle that’s literally what you get. A wodge of A4 papers. Consisting of any application forms you’ve done, any supporting documentation you’ve sent, any assessments you’ve had, anything and everything they’ve used to assess your PIP claim.

And that’s it. You’re sent the info and that’s all you have. The rest is up to you.

Luckily, I already know that there are places that have a very high rate of success if you go to them for support with your tribunal. I know that if you have someone representing you at the tribunal you’re more likely to succeed. I know that I could use various local resources – Citizen’s Advice, the local Law Centre etc. – to help me put forward a good case at tribunal and so increase the likelihood of it being successful. I have the knowledge and the ability to be proactive and to go to the right places to get support in doing this. But even with all my background working in this area, I’m still finding it confusing.

I wonder how many claimants who should be receiving PIP stopped at the first refusal letter, because they didn’t know what mandatory reconsideration was and they didn’t have the support to apply for it. I wonder how many found the court form to request a tribunal far too confusing and just couldn’t do it. I wonder how many people on hearing the word “tribunal” were terrified at the thought of having to go to a court and argue their case. And I wonder how many people upon receiving 180-odd pages of meaningless paperwork just felt they couldn’t deal with the stress of it all. I can see why.

I almost feel lucky to be in the position I’m in because I know how to jump through the hoops. The system is set up to fail everyone who isn’t able to do that. This process is designed to confuse. It’s designed to be impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t already have a complex understanding of the benefits system. It’s designed to target those who are most vulnerable, who are struggling the hardest and who need the most help. It’s designed to make them give up.

10 Comments on “More adventures in PIP: the DWP sets you up to fail.”

  1. mili68 says:

    Tweeted @melissacade68

  2. You’re absolutely right! All the best with your tribunal.

  3. justme75 says:

    I’m waiting to find out if I even get to have a bundle … it took me too long to navigate stage one, so my appeal request went in late … hopefully I can get some help if the bundle appears … like you, my background is admin, paperwork, big bundles of legal/official information … I even navigated the same system with DLA for my ex 10 years ago with success and no outside help … so old healthy me is sitting in the back of my mind screaming ‘this is easy’ … but these days, I’m lucky if I can fill in one of the kids school permission slips without a mistake *smh*

  4. vi 9 says:

    Good luck with your appeal.

    As a professionally qualified person and with personal experience of a number of court cases and also having studied business law. My PIP went through the entire process. PIP, Mandatory review, Tribunal hearing, Upper Tribunal appeal. However, and I do not want to depress anyone but I think fore warned is fore armed.

    The Tribunal panel did not follow normal court procedures, nor did they follow normal legal practices on evidence, on setting out their opinion, their reasoning for their decision or the facts on which their decision was based.

    I am convinced that if an independent barrister were to review my paper work it would be determined a mis-trial. As every rule set out in the ‘DWP PIP Assessment Guide A DWP guidance’ [145 pages] are in breach. THE CRITICAL FACT HERE IS THAT SECONDARY LEGISLATION HAVE NOT BEEN APPLIED. THE COURTS HAVE IN EFFECT PLACED THEMSELVES ABOVE THE LAW. IGNORED PARLIAMENT. IGNORED THE RULE OF LAW.

    If that were not enough they have not applied the facts, evidence or diagnosis presented in both the application and the appeal. All facts were over ridden. Instead the subjective opinion of the panel was upheld and that no substantiating facts or reasoning were presented.

    I was extremely ill on the tribunal day. The ordinary court staff could visible see and offered help. The tribunal panel with ‘Professor of health’ could not!

    My appeal to the Upper Tribunal was dismissed and I was not allowed to appeal. Reason subjective judgement of the Tribunal was upheld.




    GOOD LUCK to you all and you have my very best wishes and hope that you are all successful.

    • Emsy says:

      Thank you for your comment, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through such a terrible experience 😦

      Luckily I’m working with some very experienced people at the local Law Centre who have a very high success rate on PIP appeals, so I’m hopeful. Unfortunately I know that is not always the case for a lot of people and it shouldn’t be so hit and miss on the level of help you get depending on where you live. I hope you manage to sort things out soon.

  5. […] More adventures in PIP: the DWP sets you up to fail. → […]

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