When you have been turned down for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and disagree with the decision you enter whole new world of stress called Mandatory Reconsideration. This system was specifically bought into law by this government purely to stop people from making an appeal, and it has worked especially for ESA which dropped by 50% after its introduction.
I can across this today dated 25th Jan 2016:
“Today, I had a very interesting conversation with someone from a PIP “Case Management” Team. The client has been turned down at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage and at reconsideration on appeal. I sent a 7-page submission for the appeal, which has had no impact. There are some not especially good medical letters with the claim. For my submission on appeal, I concentrated on the dreadful report of the Atos PIP assessor: I highlighted places where she had jumped to conclusions which were not supported by the evidence (even with her distorted reporting of what the client had supposedly said), and I kept referring to the Upper Tribunal decision CDLA/2235/2009, which said “If… the stated reason is acceptance of a medical opinion which is couched in language reflecting the statutory test, a tribunal will need to be alert to anything which suggests that the medical practitioner may have misinterpreted or misapplied the statutory test. Otherwise the tribunal risks adopting his error of law so that it vitiates their own reasoning.” ie. the DWP decision makers are supposed to know the law and should investigate what the law actually says, rather than just rubber-stamping the assessor’s decision.
25 January 2016:
“Call back today from——- at——Benefits Centre. He was honest and some of what he said was off the record, but he said there are no decision makers for PIP anymore, they are the “Case Management” team. He said that he and his colleagues cannot change any medical advice from Atos – if the assessor says this or that particular descriptor, they cannot disagree, unless Atos agree to change it. This is significant, because in this case as in others, the choices of descriptors are self-evidently wrong based on the law, and yet it is the Atos assessors whose decision prevails, even though they have no training in the law. If we send in new medical evidence, Atos have to say that that means the decision can be changed. If we only write a submission letter (without a new medical letter) in which we cite PIP Reg.s and case law that clearly shows that from the evidence obtained the choice of descriptors is wrong, the decision will never get changed, which means that our submission letters, except as something for a tribunal to see, are useless. I said that the reconsideration process for PIP is a farce and he said – stressing the off-the-record nature of this part of the conversation – that he agrees, it is.””