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October 29, 2015 3:06 PM
Originally published by LDDA - The Liberal Democrat Disability Association

We cannot stress enough that you need to appeal in WRITING against a PIP decision, not over the phone. We know it is tempting to get on the phone as soon as you get the dreaded brown envelope, however this will ensure that they will reconsider the decision using the same evidence that day or a few days later, and will most likely come to exactly the same negative decision as it will not give you adequate time to send anything new in.

Here are our tips on appealing a PIP decision:

When you first get your dreaded brown envelope saying you have failed to get enough points to qualify for PIP it can be really disheartening and we are dealing with many calls from fightbacker's daily, who are angry, upset, and basically cannot believe some of the information contained in the medical report. Firstly my advice is try and take a step back, your first instinct maybe to get on the phone and give them a piece of your mind. Well doing this will mean you will be speaking to a call centre member of staff, with little info apart from what is on the screen. When you say you want to appeal they will explain the procedure to you, and say that you can just do it over the phone. We advise that you stress that you will have been advised by Fightback to appeal in writing to give you the best chance of overturning the decision. Do not get drawn into a conversation about what you disagree with, as they will treat this as a reconsideration via phone and you will not be given chance to send in anything else as fresh evidence.

We recommend you do however ring and request a copy of the assessment report from DWP, (you can do this the day of assessment,) then to appeal in WRITING, listing clearly on a copy of the assessment/decision notice, if you have it through in time, where you disagree with it, for instance, if the assessor stated you walked across the car park, and you were dropped off at the door, then explain this and gather supporting statements to substantiate it if you had someone with you, explain they are willing to give evidence in court if that is the case also. Send in any proof to contradict the assessor's findings, for instance if they say you can manage therapies/medication and you have a dosette box or use chemist home delivery services, then send proof of this for instance a photograph of the blister pack with the sticker on, or a photo of aids you have, with a bill clearly in the background of the photo to show it's your photo as ID.

Remember you can request the assessors report the day you have the assessment itself, from DWP and ATOS/Capita, to be well prepared.

Get copies of any specialist to GP reports you are missing from the GP or actual specialist secretary if able. Many people are not even aware these are generated, and they are entitled to a copy at the time. Provide any new appointment letters even though they state not to, or OT assessment letters /careplans, or any evidence of problems you are having with work/debt, such as your attendance record, HR letters, or letters from substantial debt ie court letters, DRO/bankruptcy letters etc..

Complete a day in the life negative diary, (see forum) which will state clearly what you are unable to do each day and the pain levels you are in day to day ie: gauge it 1 to 10. Also list what you are unable to do, i.e.: I was unable to stand upon waking up for 15 minutes due to numbness, or was unable to get downstairs until mid afternoon because of the fatigue, in short you need a warts and all kind a diary of what you are unable to do, even if you avoid doing these things now because of the pain or fatigue levels. Explain clearly what happens before, and after each descriptor on the diary also so for instance if you have to rest the day after you go to the GP surgery, then list this. Try and keep it simple and do say 3-4 days over a page of A4 or 2 at most.

Send this all off recorded delivery to the address on your PIP notice, and make sure it is within the 28 days of the letter, keep a copy of everything and ring them after 10 days to ensure they have it all logged. If you get anything else then send that off quickly recorded deliver, (do not send originals you will not get them back,) FAO of the decision maker marked urgent.

If you are still turned down then feel free give us a ring and we can advise over the phone, or if you are able to come to the office in Bury Manchester then we can help in person. Remember our advice is FREE and we can also advocate for you wherever you are in the UK although we may need you to cover our expenses depending on where you are for this. If the MR fails to overturn the decision then you need to lodge it with the Tribunal Service with an SSCS1 form, and we can help with that stage.or you can try our adviceline if you are still unsure.

There are lots of notes on our forum and website that help with this next stage.

If you are already at this stage, then if you want to let me know we can advise on the SSCS1 stage, and have a indepth note on this on the forum and website or can do this for you,along with a link to the form itself, with the advocacy service we have, either way feel free to add us as advocates and then ring us on the advocacy number below if you need help.

Michelle Cardno (Llb Hons)
Legal Advocate