PIP Success – New Case Law!

Sally Etchells, Policy and Campaigns Officer, National Deaf Children’s Society

Assessors carrying out PIP interviews must now consider all potential safety risks that deaf young people may come across.      

Earlier this year, Sue, one of our wonderful Appeals and Disputes advisers worked tirelessly on putting together the legal arguments for a deaf 18 year old’s PIP appeal that was heard at the Upper Tribunal.

One of Sue’s main arguments for the case was that the severity of harm that could occur when a person is carrying out an activity should be considered by PIP assessors. Previously, it was only the likelihood (50% or more) of harm that was considered.

So for instance, it’s quite unlikely (less than 50%) that a fire alarm would be sounding when a deaf young person is taking a shower without their assistive hearing device. So PIP assessors would not record this risk. However, if a fire alarm was sounding when the person was in the shower, and they did not hear the alarm, the harm caused could be severe or fatal. It was our argument that this potential severe harm should be given due attention and recorded in PIP assessments.

We have now received confirmation from the Department for Work and Pensions that the case law has been accepted, written in to formal guidance, and all assessors will be trained on the new law.

This now means that PIP assessors should always consider the harm and risks that a deaf young person may face, under every one of the PIP questions. If the harm could be serious, they must consider this risk, even if it’s not very likely to happen. We hope this will result in better PIP decisions, but we will continue to fight for every deaf young person claiming PIP.

For more information on PIP, contact Sally at campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

Thanks to our barrister Matthew Fraser, from Landmark Chambers, who traveled to Scotland to represent our client free of charge.  

The judges heard our case along with two other cases for people with epilepsy. These two people were represented by Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership and Council on Disability, Stirling.   

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