Chris and his sister Carol were referred to Peter Renshaw, Partner and Head of Hugh James’ Welfare Benefits team by the national brain injury charity Headway for pro bono assistance with a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Appeal. Chris had sustained a traumatic brain injury in 1987 and has hidden disability, among other medical conditions. The had a longstanding award of DLA but was later assessed under the PIP regime and refused an award.
The DWP was making much of Chris’s ability to drive, secure an Open University degree post-brain injury, and hold a shotgun licence. Pro bono assistance was provided by our Welfare Benefits team and a Tribunal hearing was arranged.
The unhelpful and inappropriate inferences were each dismantled as follows:
- Education achievement – reasonable adjustments were involved, Chris received much support throughout, there was no face to face engagement and the process took 6 years;
- Driving – he would only take rare & short journeys whilst accompanied, however this has now stopped;
- Gun licence – Chris is a member of a clay pigeon shooting group. It was also recommended by a Consultant to improve his hand and eye coordination and is currently his sole social pastime.
In the event, the Tribunal rang ahead on the morning it was due to go ahead to say that there was no need for the hearing to take place. The arguments put forward by our Welfare Benefits team were accepted, and the Tribunal made an award of the enhanced rates of both PIP Components, the polar opposite outcome to that support by 3 Decision Makers.
This outcome also means that entitlement to the ESA Severe Disability Premium is re-established.
Following this successful outcome, Carol said:
“The expertise of Hugh James was exactly what was required in overturning a PIP decision which I considered to be both wrong and unfair.
We have total respect, admiration and gratitude for the work carried out on our behalf by Ms Amy Dennis and Mr Peter Renshaw of Hugh James. Every phone call was answered, every email was responded to, every deadline met.
The initial PIP interview resulted in zero points being awarded. A mandatory reconsideration resulted in two points being given so on May 12th 2020 my brother’s DLA allowance was stopped. Financially this was catastrophic. An appeal had to be submitted and Headway suggested contacting Hugh James Solicitors.
The ordeal of the initial PIP assessment was compounded by the fact that the assessor had misinterpreted and ignored many aspects of my brother’s condition. I was completely helpless to change their decision and absolutely mentally drained and overwhelmed. My brother had increased anxiety and worry.
Soon after the appeal was lodged the papers arrived at the solicitors and surprisingly the date of the hearing was within days. Mr Renshaw read through all 204 pages which it contained and condensed the main points to a succinct argument. The clerk of the Court rang me on the morning of the hearing to say that it was unnecessary to put my brother through another arduous experience as the panel had unanimously reversed the initial decision.
Neither my brother nor I could have done this. We owe the result to Mr Renshaw. He would not accept any monetary payment for himself but suggested a donation to Headway so we made an initial donation of £150 citing Mr Renshaw as the reason and we will continue to support them.
With the PIP award we will now be able to continue to attend the Autonomic unit at the National Neurological Hospital in London where Chris will undergo further tests (when the fear of coronavirus is lessened). This would have been impossible to fund otherwise. They have also requested a donation which will help brain injury research.
We fully endorse recommendations to Hugh James solicitors, particularly for those with hidden disabilities and who cannot find their way through the maze of PIP.”