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Attendance Allowance MR

Timothy Seaside
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Housing services - Arun District Council

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I don’t have any experience of AA at all so could do with a little bit of help with a case I’m getting into.

Our tenant lives with her three middle-aged “children”. The family is vulnerable and I think they have a lot of trouble understanding things generally. All phone contact goes through the elder son. During last winter’s lockdown we got a local agency to help her with an AA application, but there were no home visits at the time so they did the AA1 over the phone and then sent it for her to sign and submit. They submitted it and a few weeks later received a decision letter to say she wasn’t entitled to anything (they don’t have this letter any more).

I visited the family last week and I’m pretty sure that she should be entitled to AA, and at least one, possibly both, of the sons ought to be able to get PIP.

I’ve got a copy of the AA1 form they submitted, and it strikes me as being exactly what they would say over the phone, via the son. But it doesn’t really give a true picture of their needs.

I am planning to call AA and ask for an MR. But I think I will need to effectively completely rewrite the AA1. So I have a question: is there any problem with arguing the DWP decision was wrong, even though a large part of why it was wrong was that their answers in the AA1 didn’t really reflect reality?

nevip
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Welfare rights adviser - Sefton Council, Liverpool

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BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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This sounds like the type of case where I would consider putting in a new claim as well as appealing, hedge my bets.

As Mike says in the previous thread, some tribunals seem to take the view that if it wasn’t raised in the claim form it aint gonna be considered by them. They then bang on about inconsistency and credibility in the SOR.

See also https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/5357

[ Edited: 23 Nov 2021 at 12:51 pm by BC Welfare Rights ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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BC Welfare Rights - 23 November 2021 12:43 PM

This sounds like the type of case where I would consider putting in a new claim as well as appealing, hedge my bets.

As Mike says in the previous thread, some tribunals seem to take the view that if it wasn’t raised in the claim form it aint gonna be considered by them. They then bang on about inconsistency and credibility in the SOR.

See also https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/5357

Problem with lodging new claim at same time as submitting late MR is that if you go to appeal on the latter and the claim is allowed, it’s only valid to fate of new decision of course. Something to bear in mind.

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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I was looking at things the other way around. If you are worried about losing the MR/appeal you can put a new claim in to get the earliest possible start date of what you expect to be a successful second claim. Horses for courses I guess.

Timothy Seaside
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Housing services - Arun District Council

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Thanks. Those are really helpful replies and links.

I think it’s true to say that completion of the AA1 was compromised by the circumstances at the time - Covid lockdown and relying on the son to relay information. I’ll provide additional material for the MR, based on face to face contact in their home. I am heartened by the fact that they ticked yes for Q35 Do you usually need help from another person to communicate with other people? And they ticked the boxes to say they have difficulty concentrating and remembering things, and filling in forms, etc., so I think we’ve got a fairly good argument about why we want to add to the information that was provided initially.

I’ll have to see what they think about putting in a new claim as well. Although to be honest I doubt very much whether I will be able to get them to understand the significance of this.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Just to add, that I have represented at appeals in the distant past where clients had made a complete mess of DLA/AA forms and whilst the judges have enquired as to why we’re submitting different evidence as to their abilities or lack thereof, a badly completed form doesn’t mean you can’t obtain a positive decision.

The most extreme one I recall was someone who filled in the entire form saying they didn’t have any problems with any of the activities listed but that was largely due to them being in psychiatric care and not wanting to be under the CMHT care any longer - in your case, I think as you note there are good and valid reasons why the completion might have fallen short.