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Season's Greetings!Welcome to our latest newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful welfare benefit information.
If someone has been refused an award of Personal Independence Payment or has received a lower award than they expected to get, they have the right to challenge that decision.Challenging PIP decisions is a two-stage process (as it is for most other benefit decisions).The first stage is called Mandatory Reconsideration – which is where the PIP dept will look again at their decision, taking into account any new information provided by the claimant.If the decision is not changed, or the claimant is still not happy following the Mandatory Reconsideration, they have the right to lodge an appeal with HM Courts and Tribunals Service.If the decision is not changed at MR stage – is it worth appealing?Yes! Recent statistics show a continuing trend of a much higher success rate at appeal, compared with that at MR stage.Official DWP statistics to the end of October 2019, indicate that 23% of decisions have been changed at MR stage.Whereas Ministry of Justice statistics for July – Sept 2019 show a 76% success rate for those who appealed a PIP decision.My client has been made an 'offer' - should they accept it?Some claimants receive a phone call from the PIP dept, shortly after they have lodged their appeal.This can happen where the decision maker looks again at the case, prior to preparing their appeal submission. If the decision maker thinks that they can award some, but not all, of what the claimant is requesting, they will ring the claimant to discuss this.The claimant might be under the impression that they have only two options:
But that would not be correct. If the claimant wants to accept the ‘partial’ offer, they can do so without losing their right to appeal. They would, if not happy with the offer, have to submit a further appeal - against the revised decision (rather than the original one).The advantages of accepting the offer would be:Firstly, they would be paid PIP from the start date of the award, andSecondly, if they have been offered standard rate and they want to argue at the appeal for enhanced rate – then they are starting off from a better position.