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Last updated:
15/08/2019

How to appeal against a PIP decision

If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) didn’t change their decision at the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) mandatory reconsideration stage, you can appeal to an independent panel, called a tribunal.

Once you have your mandatory reconsideration notice form, you must appeal straight to the tribunal service - you will typically have to appeal within one month from the date on your letter. This is called ‘direct lodgement’. The DWP will not send your appeal to the tribunal.

A PIP tribunal is part of the court system and independent from the DWP. When you appeal against a PIP decision, the tribunal will look at the evidence from yourself and the DWP and make a final decision on your PIP claim.

You can challenge the DWP’s PIP decision at this stage by asking to appeal the decision if:

  • You weren’t awarded PIP
  • You were awarded a lower rate than you expected
  • You think your PIP should have been awarded for a longer period.

To appeal to a tribunal, you’ll need the following:

  • Your mandatory reconsideration notice form - if you’ve lost it, ask the DWP for a new one
  • To fill in and submit your appeal form.

Note

A PIP appeal can be a long and emotionally draining process. However, it’s worth noting that more than 50% of people who appeal their PIP decision win at a tribunal. Don’t be put off by the process if you believe the decision is wrong.

What happens if I’ve missed my deadline to file a PIP appeal?

You are expected to have asked for a PIP appeal within one month of your mandatory reconsideration notice form. However, you may be able to ask for a PIP appeal after the month deadline if:

  • You have a good reason for the delay
  • the decision date was less than 13 months ago.

Examples of a good reason for being late:

  • You received incorrect information about your appeal by an adviser
  • Your partner or relative has been ill
  • You have been mentally or physically unwell
  • You have had problems receiving post at your address.

Filling in the PIP appeal form

You can start your PIP appeal by either filling in an appeal form, called SSCS1, or appealing the decision online.

What to write in the ‘grounds of appeal’ when appealing a PIP decision

It is vital that you take your time to fill in the ‘grounds for appeal’ section on the PIP appeal form. Here you will need to explain the following:

  • What decision you are challenging
  • What you believe the decision should have been
  • Why you disagree with the DWP’s 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 to support your argument.
    • Use the PIP descriptors to explain where you think you should have received more points.

The tribunal panel will only look at evidence and examples about your condition at the time of the PIP decision. If your health has got better or worse since then, try to think about how it was at that time.

How to write a submission for a PIP tribunal

A written submission aims to set out your arguments for the tribunal in writing. You do not have to do this, but it can guide the tribunal to focus on the points you are challenging. You should send in your submission to the DWP when requesting a PIP appeal.

You should consider these tips when writing your submission for a PIP tribunal:

  • Use the PIP descriptors to explain where you think you should have received more points.
  • 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 to support your argument.
  • Split up your submission so that it deals with each of your points one-by-one.
  • Write in simple English and don’t use legal jargon. It should be clear and make sense.
  • Try to avoid criticising the DWP or the service that assessed you. You should stick to facts, keep things neutral, and explain why the decision is wrong.

Getting supporting evidence for your PIP appeal hearing

Always try to get medical evidence to support your PIP appeal. You can send evidence with your appeal form, but don’t worry if you can’t get the evidence in time.

You can send it after you've sent the form. You can submit the evidence to the tribunal on the day of the hearing, but it is best to send it before.

The tribunal will not contact your GP, psychiatrist or any other medical professional to ask for evidence. You need to speak to them yourself and ask them for evidence.

You can request a letter or report that backs up your claim. Be aware that some medical professionals will charge you for a letter or report. Make it clear to the medical professional if you can’t afford this. You can use this sample letter for requesting evidence from a medical professional.

You can also request a carer or relative to send evidence to support your claim to the tribunal before the hearing.

Remember to make copies of the medical evidence and bring it with you to the tribunal, just in case anything is missing on the day.

Ask for an oral PIP hearing

The PIP appeal form will ask if you want to have a paper or oral hearing:

  • Paper hearing: means that the tribunal will look at your case without you being there.
  • Oral hearing: means you must attend a tribunal.

If possible, you should always attend in person for an oral hearing. This may appear scary, but it’s an informal tribunal, and you can take a family someone with you for support.

Having an oral hearing will give you the best chance of winning your appeal as you will have more opportunities to answer any specific queries the tribunal may have.

Special requirements for your PIP appeal hearing

You can make special requirements for your PIP appeal hearing on the appeal form or a few weeks before your hearing.

For example, you should note down:

  • Any dates you're not available to attend a PIP tribunal
  • Anything special requirements you have:
    • Only attend an appeal during school times and term time
    • Important medical appointments
    • Accessibility requests
    • Communication help

Submitting your PIP appeal

If you filled out the online PIP appeal form, it would have been submitted automatically once completed.

If you’ve filled out the paper form, you will need to send your documents to the HM Courts and Tribunals, not the DWP - the address is on the form. You should include the following in the envelope:

  • Your completed PIP appeal form
  • Your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice
  • Any further evidence you have (you can also send this later if you need to).

Note

Once you have submitted your appeal form, do not send any more documents until the Tribunal Service has received your appeal and you get your appeal reference number.

The HM Courts and Tribunals will tell the DWP you are appealing and ask for their response within 28 days. Following this you will receive:

  • A copy of the DWP’s response
  • Information about what happens next
  • Details of when and where the hearing will be (if you’ve asked for an oral hearing, rather than a paper one).

Don’t worry if you receive a lot of paperwork as you can read through it at your own pace as your tribunal hearing may not be for a few weeks or months.

Sign up for PIP appeal tribunal hearing updates

After you’ve asked for a PIP appeal, you can register to receive updates about your appeal via text messages or emails for the following:

  • Reminders to send your evidence
  • Confirmation that your evidence has arrived
  • Reminders about the date of your hearing

Getting help for your PIP appeal

You can get help with your appeal from a specialist welfare rights adviser at your local Law Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau, an independent advice agency or your local authority’s welfare rights service if they have one.

A representative can help you with the PIP appeal paperwork and might attend the tribunal with you. You can usually find details of local services in the telephone book, Yellow Pages or on the Internet.

What if I must represent myself at an appeal

If you can’t find a local organisation to help with an appeal, you will have to represent yourself at the hearing. Representing yourself may sound overwhelming, but it’s common practice – this article explains how to prepare for a PIP tribunal to help your chances of success.

If you feel you would still like some support, you can ask a friend or family member to help you prepare.

Getting your PIP tribunal decision

The tribunal will usually tell you their decision on the day. They will ask you to step out of the room while they decide. If they cannot decide on the day, they will send the decision to you by first class post.

If you win your PIP appeal

If your appeal is successful, you’ll get an official notice in the post within a couple of weeks. You will start receiving the new amount every month, and a backdated sum covering the amount they should have been paying you from the start of your claim. You will usually receive your money in about 4 - 6 weeks.

If you lose your PIP appeal

If you lose your PIP appeal, you will receive an official notice and a guide that explains your options.

If you disagree with the tribunal’s decision, ask for written reasons. You will need specialist welfare benefits advice if you want to challenge a tribunal decision because you can only appeal it if they have made a legal mistake.

You can reapply for PIP and start the process again, however, unless your condition has changed, you’re unlikely to get a different decision.

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