General– Reducing PIP Awards
Please note the decision in file 3 is different. Please follow link below for more information
In decision CPIP/1623/2016, the Upper Tribunal has given two important new protections to people who have their PIP awards reviewed and then stopped by the DWP.
The decision will hopefully bring to an end a shocking abuse of the system by DWP.
FIRST NEW PROTECTION
Many people on PIP are told by DWP that they must have another face-to-face assessment before their existing PIP award has finished. Sometimes this happens up to a year before the finish date of their existing award. Up until now, DWP have treated this second face-to-face assessment as giving them complete freedom to change or end an award based purely on the opinions of the latest assessor.
The DWP and the assessor does not look at why the original award was made in the first place or say what has changed since the first award. The Upper Tribunal has now said that this is illegal. The UT accepted that Regulation 26 (of the Decisions and Appeals Regulations 2013) allows the DWP to supersede or change an existing award of PIP based on the medical evidence from an assessor. But the UT said that the DWP could only do this after considering all the relevant evidence including the previous award and why it was made. The UT was clear that the DWP cannot legally change or remove a PIP award on a snapshot assessment which doesn’t look back at the previous award as well. The Upper Tribunal then went further and said that the DWP must also give an adequate explanation of why an existing award has been reduced or stopped referring back to the previous award.
SECOND NEW PROTECTION
In Regulation 11 of the PIP Regulations 2013, DWP gave themselves the power ‘at any time and for any reason’ to review all PIP awards, including those granted by Tribunals and to ‘determine’ or decide whether the award should continue. This power has been used by DWP to arbitrarily change and stop PIP awards, usually by requiring a new face-to-face assessment but sometimes just on their own sayso. The Upper Tribunal has now said that DWP does not have this power. The UT accepts that the DWP has the power to determine or decide that in theory an award should reduce or stop, but they say that actually stopping the award has to be done under other legal powers set out in the separate Supersession and Appeal Regulations.
What that means is that DWP have to follow the same procedure as they do for reviews after a new assessment (First New Protection, above).
They have to consider all the relevant evidence including the previous award and why it was made, and also give an adequate explanation of why an existing award has been reduced or stopped referring back to the previous award. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU What this means for you is that, when your PIP award is reviewed or changed for any reason, the DWP must look back at why they made the award in the first place and look at the evidence they used to make that award, including perhaps a more favourable assessment report or Tribunal decision.
If they do decide to reduce or remove your award, then they must say why they have done this given the evidence that you used to be entitled to an award. And of course you can appeal any decision if the DWP does not do any of this.
This analysis is brought to you free of charge by BuDS Benefit Information Team. It is only general information and you should take advice on your own case.
You can read the full judgement here: http://administrativeappeals.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk//Aspx/view.aspx?id=5021