‘Don’t let them win’ - Mum describes battle with PIP assessors after four month fight for son’s payment

Twenty-year-old Lewis Hall struggles with depression. His mother, Jess, has urged people to not give

Twenty-year-old Lewis Hall struggles with depression. His mother, Jess, has urged people to not give up seeking PIP payments even after being denied. - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk woman has urged others to fight for PIP claims after a four-month battle with assessors over her son’s payment.

Jess Hall, 40, from Caister, had taken Lewis, 20, who struggles with depression, to two assessments and twice applied for decisions to be reconsidered after his payment had been withdrawn.

Lewis had been receiving PIP since 2015 but last August developed physical symptoms, including hives.

People receiving PIP are required to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of any new conditions - and in October Ms Hall took her son to an assessment but was later informed he would no longer be receiving PIP.

She said the decision had been based on his new conditions, with the original claim from 2015 “written off”.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We always take into account any further medical evidence provided when we reconsider a claim and, as was the case here, that can lead to the original decision being changed.”

Ms Hall applied for mandatory reconsideration, with a letter explaining a “terrible mistake” had been made - but that was also rejected.

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She then made a fresh claim, detailing both Lewis’ original and new conditions, and in November the mother and son went for another assessment.

This latest claim was also denied.

“When I read back in the assessment report what they said about him, it was completely at odds with what I witnessed in the assessment. I was absolutely gobsmacked. It’s like they’re reporting on someone else. I didn’t understand it,” Ms Hall said.

An applicant has 30 days after a rejected claim to apply for a reconsideration.

Ms Hall said she gathered evidence including entries from diaries and letters from family and friends and her son’s GP.

Earlier this week she was told that a letter has been sent out stating the decision was overturned.

“Don’t give up, never, don’t let them win. They are relying on the sick and tired to not have the energy to fight. If you don’t have the energy, get someone else to do it for you,” she said.

The DWP said it is “committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need, and that’s why we look at a person’s current needs as part of an assessment”.

In 2017 the EDP published a story that hundreds of disabled people in the region had successfully overturned decisions to strip them of their benefits.

Figures obtained by the newspaper showed around two thirds of appeals against decisions to take PIP away from claimants were successful in the region.

At the time campaigners said it was a sign it was a “broken system”.