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Personal Independence payment eligibility when the claimant is in receipt of carers allowance

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Citizens Advice Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent

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I am assisting a client that is in receipt of carers allowance for one of her twins (Aged 3). Both children have autism and the cl receives CA for one and ex-partner for the other. The cl has made a claim for Personal Independence payment because she suffers from Spondyloarthritis and has been refused and awarded 0 points for daily living and Mobility. Mandatory Reconsideration request was made and the decision was not changed. The cl has appeal to the first tier tribunal and the judge has adjourned to allow the cl time to prepare a response to the question of how she can be eligible for PIP when she has caring responsibilities for her children and is in receipt of CA for one of the children. The cl claims that she receives a substantial amount of help from her ex-partner and her mother with caring for the children as well as help for herself.

Has anybody had any experience with this, and could offer any guidance on how the cl should respond to this question during her adjourned first tier tribunal?

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Epping Forest CAB

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This is a slightly odd question for a judge to ask, especially if they put it in terms of eligibility for PIP. Whether you get PIP depends on how you score against the descriptors and is not incompatible, as a matter of law, with receipt of CA. What the judge is probably (or should be) getting at is the possible factual incompatibility between what the claimant says the restrictions on her ability to undertake activities are, and what she actually does for the child.

I have had a case where the client appealed an adverse PIP decision and the DWP response pointed out that she was getting CA for caring for her mother-in-law. We were able to show to the tribunal that what she did for her mother-in-law (cooking, washing and ironing clothes) was not incompatible with her claim. She suffered from anorexia nervosa and depression and so the PIP claim was based on preparing food, taking nutrition, engaging with others and going out. We pointed out that it is a feature of anorexia that the person will do for others what they won’t do for themselves. Appeal was successful.

It seems to me that you need to do something similar. Explain (preferably in writing, in advance) how the client meets the PIP descriptors and exactly what she has to do for the child, so showing how that is possible with her condition.

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WRAMAS, Bristol City Council

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This has been an additional part of DWP submissions for some time now - something along the lines of “it is noted that [the claimant] is in receipt of carers allowance. the tribunal are encouraged to explore this with them when deciding on entitlement to PIP” i.e. the implication is that you can’t be disabled and care for someone else. I have also seen the issue of childcare raised, along the lines of “caring for children is a complex event and involves such activities as getting them ready for school, transporting them there, making sure they are fed etc.. the tribunal are invited to explore this…”
It is a particularly unpleasant line to take and some tribunals just “ignore” it and proceed to look at the eligibility criteria for PIP, which is what they need to decide upon. It is always worth pointing out that there is no real set definition as to what constitutes “care” for CA and it has always been wider than that for entitlement to the care component of DLA or PIP. Remember thee is no “carers” test to assess suitability it is merely a question of providing 35hrs+ care.
The DMG states:
“60041 Although there is no legal definition of “caring”, it is reasonable to expect that the severely disabled person and the carer are together for most of the time.”
So although they care provided must be “regular and substantial” it doesn’t have to be any set format and as Paus17 states it is a question of highlighting what descriptors apply and outlining why the care provided isn’t inconsistent with that.

Elliot Kent
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Worth taking a look at PB v SSWP (PIP) [2017] UKUT 493 (AAC) in addition to comments above. There are a few other threads on this topic I think so might be worth searching the archives.

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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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At the most basic level the idea that CA and PIP are incompatible is absurd.
Someone who can not bend down to put on or take of their own shoes can still help some body else with their shoes by appropriately positioning themselves.

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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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It’s a recurring theme in PIP appeals. In a recent appeal bundle DWP went so far as to include, unbidden, my client’s husband’s medical records, which we’d submitted as part of his PIP claim and didn’t form part of the evidence for her PIP appeal. I’ve complained to the DWP, and then to the ICO after no response from the DWP, because of the DPA breach.