How to appeal a PIP award decision and ask DWP to look at your claim again
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps people over 16 and under State Pension age with the extra costs of a long-term illness, mental health condition or disability.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could give you between £23.70 and £152.15 per week to help with the costs of daily living and mobility needs. PIP is usually paid every four weeks, and the amount you get depends on a number of factors, including how your condition affects you - not the condition itself.
How much PIP you will be paid depends on how difficult it is for you to carry out certain daily tasks including preparing and eating fresh food, washing and getting dressed, basic toilet needs and moving around outside your home.
The benefit is made up of two parts - a daily living component and a mobility component, you may be able to claim one or both of these elements depending on your circumstances.
Here are some simple steps to follow if you think the DWP decision makers got it wrong.
Check the PIP decision
If you don’t understand the decision on your letter, you can ask the DWP to explain it by contacting them using the details on the top right of the decision letter.
If you don’t know if the decision is right, you can check whether you qualify by doing the PIP self test on the Benefits and Work website here.
This mock test has all the questions plus the points awarded for each answer and will help you understand:
Whether you would score enough points to receive PIP for each component (daily living and mobility)
Whether you would qualify for the standard or enhanced rate of each component
Ask for Mandatory Reconsideration
The best way to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration is to write to the DWP at the address on your decision letter. You normally have one month from the date you got your decision letter to ask for Mandatory Reconsideration.
Get a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice
Once the DWP has looked again at the decision, they will send you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.
The Mandatory Reconsideration Notice will tell you if the decision has been changed or it stays the same.
Appeal to a Tribunal
If the DWP does not change their decision when you asked them to look at it again, you can appeal to an independent panel, called a tribunal.
The tribunal looks at the evidence from both sides, then makes a final decision. It is part of the court system - it is not part of the DWP.
When you can appeal to a tribunal
You can appeal any decision made about your PIP claim. Some of the most common reasons are:
you did not get PIP
you got a lower level of PIP than you expected
you think your PIP award should last for longer
The appeal will look at whether the decision was right at the time it was made - they won’t consider whether your condition has got worse since then.
Get advice from your local Citizens Advice, welfare support team at your local council or online at Benefits and Work.
To be allowed to appeal to a tribunal, you will need:
your letter from the DWP with the words ‘Mandatory Reconsideration Notice’ at the top - if you’ve lost it, ask them for a new one
to send your appeal form in within one month of the date shown on the mandatory reconsideration notice
Citizens Advice warn that the tribunal process can take a long time.
A statement on their website reads: “The process can be draining but it’s worth remembering that more than half of people who appeal their PIP decision win at a tribunal.
“If you feel the decision is wrong, don’t be put off appealing.”
Complete the appeal form
There are two ways to appeal. You can either:
appeal against the decision online on Gov.uk
Make sure you complete the whole appeal form otherwise your appeal could be rejected.
Explain why you’re appealing
The most important part of the application is ‘Grounds for appeal’- if you’re filling in form SSCS1, this is Section 5. In this box you need to give the specific reasons why you disagree with the decision.
Use your decision letter, statement of reasons and medical assessment report to note each of the statements you disagree with and why. Give facts, examples and medical evidence (if you have any) to support what you’re saying.
You might have done this already for your Mandatory Reconsideration Letter - if so, you can use the same examples and pieces of evidence again.
You can include all this information on a separate sheet if you’d prefer, just write ‘See enclosed information’ in the box and attach any papers securely to the form.
Tribunals can look at your whole award again. So you should consider whether you risk losing your current award - for example, if you've got evidence to support a daily living component but might lose your mobility award because you can now move better.
If you're not sure, you should get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice or support team at your local council.
Getting help with your appeal
You can get help with your appeal from your local Citizens Advice, or a local disability support agency or group.
You might be able to get someone like an adviser or a solicitor to act as your representative during the appeal, but they’re not always available.
A representative can help you with the paperwork and might speak on your behalf.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a representative - the tribunal board is most interested in hearing how your condition affects you and in your own words. Support from a friend or family member can really help, and you can do it without a professional.
Tribunal dates availability - ask for what you need
You can add the dates you're not available and information about anything you need at the hearing - if you're filling in form SSCS1, this is Section 7.
Think about anything that might stop you being able to go to the hearing and to write it down. For example:
you can only attend a hearing during school hours because of childcare responsibilities
holidays you’ve booked
any dates you’ve got important medical appointments
If you don’t mention these and the hearing is booked for a date you’re not available, you might not be able to change it.
Sending the form
If you fill out the online form, it's sent when you've completed it.
If you've filled out the paper form, send your documents to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, not to the DWP. The address is on the form. You should include the following:
the completed SSCS1 form
a copy of your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice
any further evidence you have - you can also send this later
Citizens Advice guidance states to post your appeal documents by recorded delivery if you can. Otherwise go to your local Post Office to post them and ask for proof of postage. This can help you later if the tribunal service says you didn’t meet the deadline or if the letter gets lost in the post.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service will check the form and then ask the DWP for their response within another 28 days.
For more advice about challenging a PIP decision and understanding the tribunal process, Citizens Advice have detailed information plus examples of statements showing what to write when making an appeal.
You can find all this information here.
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