Patient assisted with the reinstatement of Personal Independence Payments.
Jesse contacted the Pro Bono team at Stewarts after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) informed him that his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award was ending.
Jesse had been receiving PIP in relation to his ill health following a serious car accident in August 2019 that left him with life-changing injuries, including a brain injury and a spinal cord injury.
Jesse received an unexpected phone call from PIP in April 2020, during which he was asked questions about his health and disabilities at the time. It transpired that this phone call was a review of his PIP claim, and the DWP decided to stop his award from 5 August 2020 based on the answers he gave.
In addition to his physical injures, Jesse has suffered from poor mental health since his accident and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. This means that Jesse struggles to talk to others about his physical and mental health conditions. This is significant as it meant he was not able to adequately answer the questions he was asked during the telephone review of his PIP. Jesse was also unable to challenge the decision to end his PIP award himself as the circumstances had exacerbated his mental health symptoms so much.
Telephone-based assessments largely replaced in-person meetings following the introduction of social distancing measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was detrimental in Jesse’s case as his mental health issues and disabilities are largely invisible and completely undetectable over the phone, particularly to someone who does not know him.
The Pro Bono team at Stewarts assisted Jesse with his request for a mandatory reconsideration after he missed the original deadline. Stewarts worked with Jesse to provide a good reason for the delay and a detailed description of how his disabilities severely affect his ability to carry out the DWP’s prescribed daily living and mobility activities.
While the DWP accepted the late mandatory reconsideration request, their initial response was that they would not change their decision. Stewarts then helped Jesse prepare for the next step, an appeal to an independent tribunal. Just as Jesse was about to submit his appeal, he was contacted again by the DWP. They informed him that they had changed their decision and were awarding him higher rate PIP for both the daily living and mobility components.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
“I was pointed to Stewarts while I was recovering from a life-changing car accident that left me with debilitating injuries alongside crippling trauma and depression. As you could imagine, one of the last things that I could handle by myself was dealing with my PIP application.
“The paralegal assigned to me was a breath of fresh air. He was empathetic and understanding to me throughout what was a long and arduous struggle to reclaim PIP. He made the whole process a lot easier to deal with.
“Their expertise was absolutely invaluable to me in navigating a legal minefield. They very clearly and precisely told me what my options were and what the pros and cons were to either approach. This gave me the confidence to proceed, and they helped me every step of the way.
“My family and I are forever grateful to them and would definitely recommend Stewarts to anyone else who is going through similar hardships.”