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Attendance Allowance reinstated?

Emma K
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Welfare Rights - Glasgow's Golden Generation

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Hi,

My first post. I am looking for any guidance at all. I have a man who just realised his AA payments ceased March 16’ when award stopped. He made renewal claim in Nov 15’ and has letter from DWP stating they received his claim form. This man is housebound and unaware of finances.
This is a valid claim and as such DWP must make a decision however is onus on claimant to follow up on decision notice? He has DWP letters re AA from 2014 as keeps everything. When I phoned DWP to clarify, they advised me there were no claims in their system for this man.
Any thoughts?

Thanks

Emma

csmk
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Macmillan Benefits Advice Service/Citizens Advice Dudley Borough

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Could try anytime revision on the basis that they acknowledged they had received the form and lost it - therefore official error and put in a complaint about the missing form. Does the client have a copy of the AA claim form that was sent? Could be helpful to include this in any complaint/dispute.

May want to make a new claim so that client isn’t missing out on payments in the mean time.

Emma K
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Welfare Rights - Glasgow's Golden Generation

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Hi,

I have an update and again asking for any help from anyone.

The new AA was finally awarded after a MR completed. The anytime revision went in in June, was treated as a backdate firstly and then ignored as “out of date”. Put a complaint in and have now received a response.
The decision maker refused the revision based on the balance of probability; the decision maker “would have” sent out a decision. Pension Service ceased SDP and the onus was on the claimant to chase it up. None of these is an adequate reason. The onus should have been on the DWP to provide a decision is a valid claim was made, PS would have ceased SDP whether or not the renewal claim was lost or a decision was made not in his favour.
Apparently they only retain documents for 14 months now.

Can anyone offer any advice and whether an appeal should be made?

Thank you

Emma

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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Yes, I would appeal and see whether or not the file/decision miraculously turns up. I would also do a Subject Access Request to see what that brings and contact the MP. If this man is ‘unaware of his finances’ he really should have an appointee.

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/14838  I think that there is other discussion on here somewhere about the 14 months data retention policy, perhaps someone else better than I at searching Rightsnet can point you to it?

The DWP Records Management policy is here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/407197/response/990432/attach/4/Annex%201.pdf

Elliot Kent
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There are two possibilities.

(1) The DWP forgot about your client’s claim. It has not been decided. It still requires a decision to be made.

(2) A decision was made about your client’s claim - presumably to refuse it - which your client did not do anything about in the relevant time limits.

If (1) is true, there is no decision to appeal. If (2) is true, then any appeal would be out of time. So in either case, the Tribunal couldn’t deal with the substantive appeal.

But is there a right of appeal to the Tribunal on the question of whether a decision actually exists or not? Surely the Tribunal must be allowed to rule on whether a decision exists, otherwise how can it know whether it has jurisdiction? I don’t know if there is a clear answer to that.

Perhaps that might be it.  Put in an appeal and ask for a preliminary ruling on whether the claim was actually decided and if so when. Either that or let the DWP apply to strike it out and then deal with the points there. No idea if that will work, but has to be worth a shot.

Elliot Kent
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An alternative thought:

If you are right and we are in possibility (1) - i.e. the first claim was never decided - then when the decision was made on the second claim in June 2019, can that not be viewed as implictly deciding all outstanding claims for AA made by this claimant?

In which case, I wonder if you could actually lodge the appeal against that decision (which you say has already been through MR) and argue that the award should have been made from an earlier date on the basis that there was an existing undecided claim in play from that date. If the Tribunal is prepared to accept that no decision was made on that earlier claim until the further claim was decided, then perhaps it would have a jurisdiction to make an award on the first claim.

NAI
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Unclaimed Benefits Campaign, Middlesbrough CAB

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Great idea.

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Once upon a time… I had a similar case and opted to appeal on the basis it would embarrass DWP into action. Worked wonderfully. Documentation and time line Mysteriously appeared and the matter resolved itself.

The “appeal to embarrass them” tactic is less than ideal but I’ve used it probably 4 times in 30+ years and if you choose carefully it can work miracles.

Elliot Kent
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Of course if either an SAR or appeal does wind up magically producing the 2016 decision notice, then the whole things a dead duck…

Emma K
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Welfare Rights - Glasgow's Golden Generation

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Thank you all very much for the advice. It’s excellent. I have to admit I have no appeals training and have only sat in with a WRO at my last post. We don’t get much call for appeals in our charity as we only work with older people. I will try get on a course asap.

I have attached the response to the anytime revision. The third last paragraph makes no sense so the marks through the words is me trying to make sense of their nonsense.

Thanks again.

Emma

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