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PIP extension refused

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KMJones
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Just heard about a case where a PIP claimant has been told that his current claim, due to expire on 26/04/20,  will not be extended because he has a new claim - having submitted the PIP2 a few months ago, and heard no further.

The government annoucement https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-update-benefit-reviews-and-reassessments-suspended is meant to “reassure vulnerable people about the continuity of their benefits during the coronavirus outbreak and to ensure the Department’s resources are focused on enabling access to financial support for new claimants.”

It states “We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”

This claimant was told that (the famed) “internal guidance” which cannot be shared tells decision makers not to extend awards when a new claim has been started. Can’t find this guidance anywhere (yet). I’d like to see it before considering judicial review…

Does the government announcement only apply to claimants who have not been sent a PIP2 for their new claim? Or only to those who have not yet returned it?

If you’ve seen any similar cases or have seen relevant guidance on this, would be very happy to see a reply to this post or you can email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Andrew Dutton
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Just had someone’s award stopped as the award and its end date were set by FTT and not by the DWP.  Renewal form sent in Jan 20.  Award ran out 15.3.20; ‘Unfortunately as the decision was made by HMCTS PIP are unable to extend the award’.

Phone consultation took place last week, in spite of the claimant having very recently lost a close relative to CV19.  The person who made the call knew nothing of the bereavement.

Gemap
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Yes, I’ve already had 2 cases like this. Both had been awarded PIP only after appeal. Both had “fixed term” awards that were not open for renewal so in order to continue to claim PIP at the end of the award they had to make a new claim. Both did so with my help before the pandemic hit and both returned PIP2 forms that are now with the assessment provider. However, the awards they were receiving both expired in April and no further payments will be made until the new PIP2’s are assessed.

When I called PIP regarding these cases I spoke to a DM both times. Like you, I was told that because the PIP2’s were in relation to a new claim the old claim came to an end. I was told by the DMs that the old claims were “short term awards” because they were only awarded as client had appealed the decision. I don’t know what that means but it is the explanation I was given.

I stuck in a complaint both times quoting the same information in the first post that is contained on the government’s website but it seems the DWP only intend to extend awards that are due to be renewed and not fixed term awards (and especially not if they are fixed term as a result of a successful appeal). I’ve also identified another client who has a fixed term award following a successful appeal but the award is due to expire in June. I’m not sure how to advise them to proceed - whether we should go for the PIP2 as quickly as possible or whether it would be better to do nothing in the hope I have some of the above wrong and his award will be extended.

Any thoughts?

Patrick

Daphne
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I’ve sent in an email via stakeholder forum too to see if I can get any info there

Elliot Kent
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When you claim PIP and get a fixed term award, the award will end on the original end date set unless one of three things happens:

(1) You make a further claim and get a further award after your original end date. This is normally what happens in “short term” cases which are usually awards of up to 2 years. The claimant is prompted to make a further claim about 14 weeks before the award ends.
(2) A further decision is made to supersede the original decision. This is normally what happens in the outcome of a review of a longer term award. The new award overtakes and replaces the original award.
(3) The DWP decides to revise its original decision - changing it in some respect. E.g. by changing the end date of the award. This can only be done either where requested within a particular timeframe or at “any time” if particular grounds are shown.

It isn’t immediately obvious which of these powers the DWP is trying to use to “extend” PIP awards, but the fact that you are both running into problems on appeal cases suggests that they think they are using the power to revise under option 3. This is because DWP are not allowed to revise Tribunal decisions.

(Which then begs the further question - which of the grounds of revision from the Decisions & Appeals Regulations do the DWP say exists?)

Of course these are problems which the DWP has created by its insistence on fixed term awards. If we just had indefinite awards like with ESA, then it would just be a case of pausing the assessments and there would be no issues.

Paul Stockton
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Like Elliott, I can’t see any basis in the UC etc Decisions and Appeals Regulations for revision as a result of the DWP’s inability or unwillingness to consider new claims or review exisiting claims.  It would be useful to know what basis the DWP thinks it has.

The problem seems to be cases where the fixed term has been set by the tribunal, which the DWP cannot revise. I did wonder whether the tribunal could be asked to revise its decisions under section 9 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 so as to extend these periods but unfortunately, so far as I can see, the Tribunal Procedure Rules so circumscribe this power that it can’t d be done.

But would a possible answer be, at least for cases where the fixed term has not yet expired,  to apply to the DWP for an extension by way of a supersession on the ground of change of circumstances? “Change of circumstances” has usually been thought to mean “change in the claimant’s personal circumstances” but the legislation doesn’t restrict the phrase in that way or provide a definition.

Charles
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Paus17 - 29 April 2020 08:49 AM

“Change of circumstances” has usually been thought to mean “change in the claimant’s personal circumstances” but the legislation doesn’t restrict the phrase in that way or provide a definition.

A change in the law has always been considered a change of circs too, I believe.

stevenmcavoy
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i have one of these cases (appeal case).

could the DWP not just make a short award as a practical solution here?

Joanne Robinson
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I have one of these “short term award” cases but my client did not get his PIP following an appeal. There was no appeal involved. The PIP had an end date - of 29th March 2020 - as that is when his limited leave to remain ran out. He’s caught by the same problem, though. We did the “renewal” form in February but his PIP has ended and the DWP are refusing to extend, saying he has to wait until they get round to making a new decision. My client has applied for indefinite leave to remain, and the DWP have assured me that they haven’t refused to extend his PIP for an immigration related reason.

Paul_Moorhouse
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I’ve got a case like this. I’ve just rung the escalation number and spoken to a very pleasant gentleman who insists that his understanding is that this applies to ALL fixed date claims. I.e.that they are not extending anything, just pausing periodic reviews in claim, so there is nothing special about the situation of my client and other claimants with Tribunal awards (I was seeking to get them to ask ATOS to expedite her assessment on the grounds that she shoulld have priority over claimants whose awards could be extended).

 

[ Edited: 1 May 2020 at 01:47 pm by Paul_Moorhouse ]
seand
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Can i just check something? Are people just seeing a problem with fixed term PIP awards that recently ended or are ending soon where a new claim has been submitted already?

Does anyone know of issues with a fixed term award that is due to end soon, but the claimant has not yet submitted a new claim? (I guess problems might not be apparent yet)

Lesley Brock
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I have a case like this fixed award at tribunal for good reason for not returning claim form,  first she heard her claim was to end, when daughter recevied notification on her UC Journal 1 week before it was due to end on 1st May 20, to say her carers allowance was to stop.  We are now waiting for new form to arrive to complete.  We have reqested current award to be extended, no response as yet.

wbamic
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seand - 01 May 2020 02:33 PM

Can i just check something? Are people just seeing a problem with fixed term PIP awards that recently ended or are ending soon where a new claim has been submitted already?

Does anyone know of issues with a fixed term award that is due to end soon, but the claimant has not yet submitted a new claim? (I guess problems might not be apparent yet)

 

Hi , I have someone who had an award that was due to end in mid April.  Telephone assessment took place on the 18th of March.  No outcome yet on the telephone assessment.  Meanwhile it appears PIP has gone out of payment loss of SDP etc. 

 

 

LauraGSLC
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Any response from stakeholders yet?  This brings up so many issues for those with carers allowance, SDP etc

lost in Granite
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A colleague has referred me/us to upper tribunal judge Rowland’s decision 227/2011, in particular paragraph 20, which may be of interest to those looking for ammo in their discussions with DWP.

Paul_Moorhouse
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lost in Granite - 04 May 2020 12:54 PM

A colleague has referred me/us to upper tribunal judge Rowland’s decision 227/2011, in particular paragraph 20, which may be of interest to those looking for ammo in their discussions with DWP.

What benefit did this decision relate to?

 

seand
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Paul_Moorhouse - 04 May 2020 01:06 PM
lost in Granite - 04 May 2020 12:54 PM

A colleague has referred me/us to upper tribunal judge Rowland’s decision 227/2011, in particular paragraph 20, which may be of interest to those looking for ammo in their discussions with DWP.

What benefit did this decision relate to?

I assume this

PH v SSWP 2013 UKUT 268 AAC http://administrativeappeals.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/Aspx/view.aspx?id=3842

Paul_Moorhouse
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To answer my own question—it CDLA/227//2011!

lost in Granite
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My colleague gave me all the references. It is the above. My apologies to him, and all of you for my failure to post accurately.
Lee

Jon Shaw
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seand - 01 May 2020 02:33 PM

Can i just check something? Are people just seeing a problem with fixed term PIP awards that recently ended or are ending soon where a new claim has been submitted already?

Does anyone know of issues with a fixed term award that is due to end soon, but the claimant has not yet submitted a new claim? (I guess problems might not be apparent yet)

Hi Sean,

I’d assume it is going to be a problem - it was before COVID-19 and awards without any plan to review them are not clearly covered by either official announcement. I think I would advise making a PIP new claim as soon as possible to six months before the award end date, if no review has been started by that point. The only caveat to that would be if there is a really clear statement from an actual human on the helpline that they will be extending the award and notifying the claimant in writing, and the letter should arrive by XX at the latest.

This avoids the worrying suggestion that no supersessions are being carried out. The claimant could equally request a supersession on the grounds of a change of circumstances at the six-month point and use the CDLA/227/2011 to argue that the change is simply that the needs haven’t evaporated as was expected when making the award. But it feels to me like the additional problem will be the failure of a lot of PIP staff to accept that a supersession is a concept that relates to PIP at all.

I wonder if someone at DWP might think that Reg 31 of SI 2013/381 prescribes all of the situations in which a tribunal decision can be superseded. I don’t think that can be right, and if any official lurkers see this I suggest comparing the wording at the start of Regs 23, 24 and 31 - read together it is pretty clear that an FtT decision can be superseded for a change of circs…

Jon

 

seand
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Jon Shaw - 04 May 2020 02:40 PM

Hi Sean,

I’d assume it is going to be a problem - it was before COVID-19 and awards without any plan to review them are not clearly covered by either official announcement. I think I would advise making a PIP new claim as soon as possible to six months before the award end date, if no review has been started by that point. The only caveat to that would be if there is a really clear statement from an actual human on the helpline that they will be extending the award and notifying the claimant in writing, and the letter should arrive by XX at the latest.

This avoids the worrying suggestion that no supersessions are being carried out. The claimant could equally request a supersession on the grounds of a change of circumstances at the six-month point and use the CDLA/227/2011 to argue that the change is simply that the needs haven’t evaporated as was expected when making the award. But it feels to me like the additional problem will be the failure of a lot of PIP staff to accept that a supersession is a concept that relates to PIP at all.

I wonder if someone at DWP might think that Reg 31 of SI 2013/381 prescribes all of the situations in which a tribunal decision can be superseded. I don’t think that can be right, and if any official lurkers see this I suggest comparing the wording at the start of Regs 23, 24 and 31 - read together it is pretty clear that an FtT decision can be superseded for a change of circs…

Jon

Hi Jon

Thanks for this. My concern here is that PIP wrote to my client inviting him to make a new claim for PIP (letter sent late March). I called the PIP claims line to help him make a new claim but the person read out a standard message to say that all PIP claims are being extended by 6 months and that he would be written to to confirm this. When I challenged this she consulted someone and said we should call the helpline to check as she could not give a clear confirmation of it.

The recorded message at the start of the PIP helpline attempts to dissuade you from continuing with the call - I did attempt but didn’t get through in time. So checking on here for experiences before I return to that lengthy queue.

I’m fairly certain that the tribunal made a fixed term award as my client did appear to be improving, although that has now gone, so we should be able to argue for a supersession on grounds of a change of circs. I agree, I don’t think that reg 31of the D&A regs means that it covers all possible grounds for supersessions in a case decided by tribunal

I suspect I will have to just call the helpline and wait to get through, given the uncertainty

Chrissum
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Just encountered one of these cases. Client has an award made by tribunal and it is now due for renewal. I was originally going to complete this with her but Covid-19 had other ideas. PIP said not to worry about it and granted an extension of 6 weeks. Son has now received a letter stating that his CA is stopping because client’s PIP is stopping. PIP now stating that no extension has or will be granted.
Client can’t read or write and would fit into anyone’s definition of vulnerable.

Chrissum
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Okay so just spoke to a very helpful lady at PIP to seek clarification. She was basically saying that for any fixed term award the client will be sent out the claim form in advance as usual. An extension can be granted to return the form but the end date will be the end date and if the claim is not processed by that end date the award will terminate.
The only time the award will continue in payment because of COVD is where change of circumstances have been cited and a claim. Any fixed term awards will terminate on the day they would have not for the pandemic and a new claim will need to be made. She said that she had clarified this as she was getting several calls about this. She added that claimants can ask for the claim to be processed more quickly, but as these were effectively new claims they still had to go via the usual process ie assessment and decision making
The phone message is extremely misleading and indicates that clients in these circumstances don’t have to do anything as they will contact them. it also tells claimants to ignore letters and that they don’t need to speak to someone. I was originally told in March that I needn’t worry about getting the client’s form back as 3 month extensions were automatically being granted.
Bit of a pickle and unfortunately my client’s household is set to lose over £200 per week (in PIP as well as CA) as a result of this. It is no consolation to me or them that any award made later will be fully backdated. There is no possible way that she would have been able to cope with this without adviser involvement.
Please can we push on this or at least get the message changed on the helpline.

Jon Shaw
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Chrissum - 05 May 2020 12:19 PM

Okay so just spoke to a very helpful lady at PIP to seek clarification. She was basically saying that for any fixed term award the client will be sent out the claim form in advance as usual. An extension can be granted to return the form but the end date will be the end date and if the claim is not processed by that end date the award will terminate.
The only time the award will continue in payment because of COVD is where change of circumstances have been cited and a claim. Any fixed term awards will terminate on the day they would have not for the pandemic and a new claim will need to be made. She said that she had clarified this as she was getting several calls about this. She added that claimants can ask for the claim to be processed more quickly, but as these were effectively new claims they still had to go via the usual process ie assessment and decision making
The phone message is extremely misleading and indicates that clients in these circumstances don’t have to do anything as they will contact them. it also tells claimants to ignore letters and that they don’t need to speak to someone. I was originally told in March that I needn’t worry about getting the client’s form back as 3 month extensions were automatically being granted.
Bit of a pickle and unfortunately my client’s household is set to lose over £200 per week (in PIP as well as CA) as a result of this. It is no consolation to me or them that any award made later will be fully backdated. There is no possible way that she would have been able to cope with this without adviser involvement.
Please can we push on this or at least get the message changed on the helpline.

A helpful person, but one with a fairly sketchy grasp of the relevant law and practice, I’d say. Not least as PIP don’t send out renewal forms, at least to my knowledge. This sounds like either someone shifted across from DLA/AA, or attempting to describe the ‘planned review’ process, which is a different thing to a renewal claim.

It is good to know that they may consider extending an award if a change is asserted, though. Something to always explicitly put on PIP2/AR1 forms, I’d say. I was surprised not to see any obvious mention of length of needs, at a very quick glance at the standard form and notes….

In addition to making a new claim, this person needs to complain and request an ex-gratia payment pending a decision, I think (particularly if the DWP didn’t invite her to claim again by letter around February).

Just to add to what you say about misleading messages, we are hearing that often the first person advisers/claimants speak to is essentially repeating the recorded message. It is only when pressed on when a decision will be made and notified that staff check, and it turns out there is no plan to extend an award. Hopefully that isn’t widespread, but it is happening.

Jon

Paul Stockton
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This is shocking.

KM Jones, in the first post in this thread, quotes the DWP press release:
“The government annoucement https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-update-benefit-reviews-and-reassessments-suspended is meant to “reassure vulnerable people about the continuity of their benefits during the coronavirus outbreak and to ensure the Department’s resources are focused on enabling access to financial support for new claimants.”

It states “We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”

It couldn’t be much clearer. The announcement was made with effect from 24 March. The press release also says: “where awards are due to expire, we will be extending end-dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.” That must surely mean that all awards due to expire before 24 June are extended to that date. If that isn’t happening this needs to be raised directly with the Secretary of State. Isn’t his a job for the new Shadow Secretary of State?

Chrissum
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Jon, just to say my client’s case concerns a PIP renewal of a fixed term tribunal award increasing an original decision. These have always been perceived as “new” claims as the original award terminates on a particular date. When I say helpful, I mean she understood the situation and didn’t immediately put the shutters up. She has raised it with her supervisors and I am confident she will raise the issue of the phone message as well. I have taken this up with our local MPs and am hopeful that at least a question will be asked. Can’t say much more than that at this stage. I think the problem is that there is confusion as to when a claim is made. If you have submitted a claim and are awaiting an assessment then your award should continue. However there is a grey areas as to when a claim is made. Guidance we have received from partnership managers indicate that once the process has been started ie a form has been sent out then nothing needs to be done and an extension will be granted. Frontline staff appear to be guided that the extension only applies to return dates and not award dates so if your claim is started but not processed by the termination date, the award will stop. The words dog’s and dinner come to mind. Sorry if this is a bit rambly but it has been a long day!
Paus17. Indeed.

[ Edited: 5 May 2020 at 05:14 pm by Chrissum ]
Ianb
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https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-05-04/debates/CEE2A905-7589-40D0-B14C-219F12CCB242/Covid-19DWPUpdate

Fourth paragraph

“From 17 March we suspended all face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits. We automatically extended awards for existing claimants that were due to be reassessed by three months, and will only undertake reviews or reassessments when claimants notify us of changes that could lead to a higher payment.”

Elliot Kent
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Rang the PIP helpline this morning and have a different message to before which I have attached.

Note that there is only a reference to extending the award in the context of an award review (i.e. planned review).

The time limit for returning PIP2 forms has been extended but there is no reference to the award itself being extended, which is obviously significant in renewal claims at the end of a fixed term award.

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Den DANES
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Can I just check re new claims and deadlines. I had assumed given the message on the advice line that if someone had made a new claim to PIP and now had the part 2 form with a deadline date on it they now had 90 days to get the form back regardless of the deadline given or any reminder letters received. In this case the deadline is 15/5 (very short notice from when the form was received).

Am I correct

Daphne
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I’ve emailed DWP via stakeholder inbox to see if i can get anything there - or if they will put info on gov.uk so available to everyone

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Den DANES - 06 May 2020 12:42 PM

Can I just check re new claims and deadlines. I had assumed given the message on the advice line that if someone had made a new claim to PIP and now had the part 2 form with a deadline date on it they now had 90 days to get the form back regardless of the deadline given or any reminder letters received. In this case the deadline is 15/5 (very short notice from when the form was received).

Am I correct

According to the information on the call, the deadline is 3 months beyond the date on the form.

If the form was sent 15.04.20, the deadline will be 15.07.20.

I don’t see that there could be any circumstances where the deadline would be 15.05.20.

It will always be in the interests of the claimant on a new claim to send the form back ASAP as delaying sending it back will just delay the amount of time it takes for the claim to be dealt with.