We have had a lot of emails and phone calls from claimers who are going through an appeal who have been given the wrong advice or not taken enough advice.
It is very important to you the appellant that you get the correct advice for your appeal because the wrong advice can be harmful to your appeal and lead to you possibly losing your appeal and with the new changes coming into force from 28th October 2013 it’s vital that you get the right help.
C.A.B and Welfare Rights in some areas do appeal preparations but will not be able represent you at your appeal, some areas do both so you need to ensure which they do.
If you need a representative for your appeal and don’t know where to go a good start is your local council has they may have a list of voluntary organisations / charities in your area or contact your local Community Voluntary Services (CVS) if you have one for a list of services in your area.
It has been known for the Chairperson / Judge to adjourn the hearing if the appellant has no representation or prepared for the tribunal and they may attach conditions to the adjournment that the client gets and seeks professional advice and representation.
Too help you we have listed a few questions you should ask the organisation or advisor before agreeing to take them as your representatives?
1) Do you do appeals for Social Security / Department for Work and Pensions?
2) Do you represent clients at HM Tribunals Hearing?
3) If you don’t represent do you do the preparation for appeals?
4) Whats your appeal success rate? (This will give you confidence in the organisation)
5) Do you have availability for my appeal?
If the organisation does not represent clients but does the preparation for the appeal it’s important that you understand what the preparation is about and how to present your case to the tribunal if your attending the appeal alone.
The HM Tribunal Panel is different for each allowance that is being appealed.
For Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Tribunals
You have a Chairperson / Judge these are lawyers who specialise in this field and also a Doctor this could be a semi retired GP who specialises in Appeals and it’s important that you ask who the Doctor is in case you know them and if you do then you should notify the Tribunal Clerk straight away and if you do then the Chairperson / Judge may adjourn the hearing.
For Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) Industrial Injures Benefit Tribunals
You have a Chairperson / Judge these are lawyers who specialise in this field and also a Doctor this could be a semi retired GP and again specialises in Appeals and a Disability Advisor who has been specially trained in appeals, and again it’s important that you ask who the Doctor is in case you know them and also the Disability Advisor, if you do then you should notify the Tribunal Clerk straight away and if you do then the Chairperson / Judge may adjourn the hearing.
This could be regarding a benefit withdrawal because you have failed to attend a medical assessment and your benefit has been sanctioned or an overpayment of a benefit and you have been told to pay back the overpayment, in this case the Tribunal will be only made up of Chairperson / Judge these are lawyers who specialise in this field.
Disability Online Appeals
If you require Disability Online to carry out your appeal and represent you at your hearing we need you to be made aware that we can only represent clients who live in the LA postcode area (Lancaster District) if you live outside this area we can only advise and signpost you to your local organisation, we can however do submissions only for your appeal to take with you on the day of your hearing providing we have enough notice.
Our services are FREE and to do the appeal we DO NOT charge for our time or to attend the hearing, however if your hearing is not local as some appeals can be away from the area you live in then we will have to invoice you for our travel costs.
Administration costs as we are voluntary organisation and rely on funding and donations we do charge administration costs only IF THE APPEAL IS WON this charge is for the submissions, evidence gathering, phone calls etc and can vary from £20 to £40 depending on the administration involved, please note WE DO NOT charge for the administration cost if THE APPEAL IS NOT WON, this also applies for submission only if we are not representing you at your hearing.