How to prepare for a PIP tribunal hearing

In this article, titled ”How to prepare for a PIP tribunal healing,” we are going to give you some recommendations on how to prepare for a Personal Independence Payment tribunal hearing.

Challenging a PIP decision

Challenging a PIP decision may cause unnecessary anxiety and financial worry for someone who disagrees with the decision made by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Many people are discouraged when they receive the letter from DWP with a refusal or a lower payment than expected.

Many rely on PIP, otherwise failing to cover all medical expenses or the help of a carer.

Even if it sounds scary, challenging a PIP decision is the best choice anyone can make.

Mandatory reconsideration

A PIP mandatory reconsideration is a request addressed to the Department for Work and Pensions to reevaluate your claim for Personal Independence Payment.

This is the first step that one has to make when challenging a PIP decision. You cannot and you shouldn’t skip this procedure.

In order to apply for a mandatory reconsideration, you have to fill out a form called the CRMR1 form.

In part four of the form, you have to explain why you disagree with the DWP’s decision.

We recommend to include as many details and examples of your daily struggles because of your health condition as you can. 

If your request gets rejected again, or you are not satisfied with the second reassessment from the DWP, you have a right to appeal. 

Appeal 

A PIP appeal is a request for a tribunal hearing, independent from the DWP, to review your case.

In order to apply for a PIP appeal, you have to fill out the SSCS1 form.

This form is very similar to the CRMR1 form that you had to fill and send for a mandatory reconsideration.

Don’t forget to include, along with the form, a copy of the mandatory reconsideration, any evidence regarding your health status, and other requirements you might have for the tribunal. 

How to prepare for the PIP tribunal hearing

In order to prepare for the PIP tribunal hearing, we wrote some recommendations that we hope will answer some of your questions and will help ease your angst. 

What is a PIP tribunal hearing

A PIP tribunal hearing is a scheduled meeting that has as main goal to discuss and understand the appellant’s reasons for appealing a PIP decision made by the DWP. 

Amongst people present there will be a hearing panel that will be a legally qualified judge and up to 2 other independent people, including a doctor, they’re called the tribunal board.

Also present, the claimant and a representative from the DWP. 

Get help for a PIP tribunal hearing

You may not believe you need any help to prepare for a PIP tribunal hearing, but consider this: Somebody experienced dealing with all the paperwork and deadlines, will make you feel less stressed.

You should consider asking for advice from your  support group.

You may be surprised how resourceful the people in the support group are.

You never know, but there may be people who went through the same challenges with their PIP tribunal, and that can give you great advice.

Read the papers from the DWP

Along with their decision, the DWP will send you some other papers, including the report from your medical assessment.

Make sure you read all of it carefully, and highlight anything you don’t agree with.

Make a note of all the things that are wrong and that you disagree with.

Explain why they are wrong. 

Get evidence to sustain your claim

The most impactful evidence is the one that will explain how exactly is your illness or disability affecting your daily routine.

You can ask for medical evidence from your GP, social worker, community psychiatric nurse, occupational therapist, or other professionals you are seeing. 

If there is somebody who helps you a lot including your friends or family members, ask them to write a letter to the tribunal panel explaining how they are helping you and how often. Their statement can have a great impact on the hearing panel. 

A few weeks before your hearing, all of the new and useful evidence to your case should be photocopied and sent to the HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

Make sure to bring copies at the PIP tribunal and it’s okay to even ask the panel if they have received papers. 

Write a statement

You should consider writing a statement for the PIP tribunal.

If you are not good at writing or you have a condition that doesn’t allow you to write, ask for help from a friend or a family member.  

A personal statement can be very useful as it sets out all your points, which means that you don’t have to remember everything to say on the day.

It will also give the panel time to think about what you’ve said and why you should be getting the PIP benefit, even before they meet you. 

Other details 

Make sure you don’t forget to arrange transportation for the date of the hearing.

Will you be traveling by public transport or car?

Also, don’t forget that you can ask a family member or a friend to be there with you on the day of the hearing.

They are of great support and allowed to speak for your behalf if you wish so. 

What happens at a PIP tribunal hearing

What happens at a PIP tribunal hearing it’s usually a protocol that it’s closely adhered to.

When you arrive at the tribunal center,  you will be shown into a waiting room.

Try not to be late, otherwise, the meeting will start without you.

When the appeal starts, you will be called into the room where the panel awaits for you. 

The Judge is legally qualified and oftentimes very familiar with PIP, ESA and other benefits awards.

On the panel there should also be a doctor and another healthcare professional that is an expert on disability.

Don’t worry, because the panel will introduce themselves, they will also explain what will happen next and what is expected from you.  

A tribunal hearing can be hard enough, but remember that you can always ask for a short break if you are not feeling well.

After they hear your case, the judge will ask you to leave the room while a decision is made.

If you are lucky, the panel will make the decision that day.

In some cases people had to wait 3 to 5 days to get a decision letter in the post. 

It’s important to know, if you were not successful with your PIP appeal, you can appeal to a higher level of the tribunal, called the Upper Tribunal.

However, you can do this only if you are sure the tribunal made a mistake in law.

Otherwise, even if it feels unfair, it is not wise to put yourself under more unnecessary stress. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

In this article, we gave you some recommendations in order to feel more prepared for a PIP tribunal hearing.

We are hoping our advice will make you feel more confident on the day of the appeal.

Some key factors to remember:

  • Ask for help with the paperwork
  • Make sure you read the papers the DWP has sent you
  • Get evidence to sustains your claim
  • Write a statement and send it to the tribunal before the date of the hearing
  • Make sure you arrange transport and that your requirements for special needs will be fulfilled

It’s normal to feel anxious and worry about the tribunal hearing, but you do not have to go through this alone.

There are support groups that can give you emotional and practical advice. 

What did you think about our recommendations?

Is there something left unsaid? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

FAQ about PIP tribunal hearings

How long does a PIP tribunal hearing take?

PIP tribunal hearings take between 10 and 40 minutes.

The panel usually makes a decision the same day.

What happens at a PIP tribunal hearing?

At a PIP tribunal hearing your claim and the evidence that you brought will be discussed by a judge and a panel composed of a doctor and an expert in disability issues.

At the tribunal, you will be called “the appellant” and the DWP “the respondent”.

You will also be asked to describe how an average day looks for you. 

Can DWP change their mind before a PIP tribunal?

Yes, the DWP can change their mind before a PIP tribunal.

This happens when they see new evidence before it gets to the tribunal.

How many PIP decisions have been overturned?

Only 5% PIP decisions have been overturned.

The explanation for this would be that decisions are overturned because people have submitted more evidence.

What do you wear to a tribunal hearing?

To a tribunal hearing, you have to wear smart or smart-casual clothes.

If you want to make a good impression, drop off your jeans, trainers or sneakers. 

How long do you have to wait for PIP tribunal?

For a PIP tribunal, you have to wait for 2 to 3 months once your appeal has been accepted.

You can always contact the tribunal while waiting, and they should give you an update on the wait time. 

Recommendations

  1. Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare & Try a Winning Case
  2. Personal Independence Payment: What You Need to Know
  3. Caregiving Diary: Daily and Hourly 245 Page Planner
  4. Government’s Response to the Independent Review of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment
  5. Argument Structure: Secrets of the World’s Best Debaters: Master the Structure of Arguments

References 

  1. How to win a PIP appeal – Advice Now
  2. Challenging a PIP decision, the tribunal hearing – Citizens advice
  3. Appeal a benefit decision: How to submit your appeal – GOV.UK

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