Earlier this year, the UK government released several statistics relating to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims. One such statistic was that 46% of PIP claims are rejected. This is typically because the claimant has not provided enough evidence.
Our best advice is to always take rejected claims to a tribunal. Over 72% of PIP tribunals result in a decision being overturned in the claimant's favour. This usually happens because the tribunal will draw a different conclusion based on the same evidence, cogent oral advice given by the claimant, or new evidence provided at the hearing.
You may be nervous about facing a tribunal for your PIP claim, and we know that they can be long, exhausting, and emotional experiences. However, it’s certainly worth the effort if it means winning your claim. Here are five things that you will most likely be asked at a tribunal – and how to answer them to stand the best chance of having a decision overturned – and receive the money you’re entitled to.
Question 1: The way you look
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re being closely observed from the minute you enter the tribunal. If you look well-groomed but claim you are depressed and neglect yourself, you can expect to be asked about it.
Be prepared for the tribunal to ‘start the clock’ as soon as you arrive. If you say you have problems sitting comfortably, the tribunal will watch to see how long you can sit before you move.
Our advice is if you’re in pain, say so. If you need to stand up and stretch your legs, do so. But do remember that everything you’re doing is being watched.
Question 2: How many minutes can you walk?
The distance you can reasonably walk without assistance is something that a tribunal will likely ask about.
This question will be the tribunal determining how far you can walk to a ‘reasonable standard’. Distance is a factor here as the average person can walk about 100 metres a minute. If you say you can walk for two minutes, the tribunal will assume you can walk for 200 metres without being in pain or experiencing any issues.
It's important to be clear about how fast you walk and realistic about how long you can really walk before problems arise.
Question 3: How did you get here today?
You’ll soon find out that many tribunal venues don’t have parking directly outside the building, even for blue badge holders. You may have to park in the nearest public car park or even walk from a bus stop or train station. Expect to be asked about this journey.
Make a note of how far you walked, how long it took you, and whether or not you had to get a lift or taxi if you couldn’t manage the walk.
Question 4: Washing, bathing, and dressing
The next question a tribunal is likely to ask will be about your ability to wash and dress yourself. In this instance, they will check to see if your answers are consistent.
For example, how do you get dressed if you can’t raise your arms to wash your hair? What about reaching to turn the shower on and off? Do you turn the taps on and off? Can you put the plug in the bath? How do you dry your hair? Your feet?
Expect questions about your routine to be in-depth and drawn out. Ultimately, the tribunal is trying to ascertain whether you meet the criteria for the claim.
Question 5: Can you walk to…?
Many tribunal rooms overlook car parks and even distant buildings. This provides the tribunal with a useful benchmark for determining how far you can walk and if you are a good judge of distance.
You can expect to be asked to look through the window and tell the tribunal if you can walk to the building, wall, or sign that you see. You may genuinely have no idea – if so, state exactly that.
Our best advice is to not guess your answers and doesn’t feel that you must answer a question to please the tribunal. Most importantly, don’t be cajoled into saying yes when you really mean no.
Our highly-trained benefits specialists are ready to help you navigate your PIP claim form and process. Contact us via our website to learn more about how we can assist. Our services are free until your benefit is won.