Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber), October 23, 2015, [2015] UKUT 584 (AAC)

Resolution Date:October 23, 2015
Issuing Organization:Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber)
Actores:PR v Secretary of State (Personal independence payment – daily living activities : Activity 9: engaging with other people face to face)
 
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PR v Secretary of State

[2015] UKUT 0584 (AAC)

1

CPIP/1984/2015

IN THE UPPER TRIBUNAL Case No. CPIP/1984/2015

ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS CHAMBER

Before Judge Mark

Decision: The appeal is allowed. I set aside the decision of the tribunal and I substitute my own decision setting aside the decision of the decision maker dated 5 August 2014, and awarding the claimant the standard rate of benefit from 18 October 2013 to 18 March 2015 both dates inclusive.

REASONS FOR DECISION

  1. This is an appeal by the claimant with the permission of a District Tribunal Judge from a decision of the First-tier Tribunal dated 6 March 2015 dismissing the claimant's appeal from a decision dated 5 August 2014 that the claimant was not entitled to any award of personal independence payment (PIP) from 17 January 2014. The appeal is supported by the Secretary of State who invites me to remit the matter for rehearing by a new tribunal.

  2. The tribunal concluded that the claimant scored 6 points in relation to the daily living descriptors, being four points because she needed prompting to be able to take nutrition and 2 points because she needed prompting to be able to engage with other people. It noted that the claimant's condition had deteriorated since the date of the decision under appeal and that she should take advice as to what action might be appropriate in those circumstances. Having presumably taken advice the claimant made a further application for PIP on 19 March 2015 and was then awarded the enhanced daily living and standard mobility components from that date. This appeal is therefore concerned only with her entitlement between 17 January 2014 and 18 March 2015.

  3. There is no dispute on this appeal as to the points awarded by the tribunal in respect of her eating disorder, but it is said that the tribunal erred in law in relation to the question whether she needed social support to be able to engage with other people, which would have given her an additional two points and qualified her for the standard rate of the daily living component. The tribunal is also said to have erred in law in its reasoning in respect of her ability to make complex budgeting decisions.

  4. The claimant, who was born in 1982, has long standing mental and physical health problems. A diagnosis dated 2 April 2013 (file, pp.93-94) refers to mild to moderate depressive illness, to marital problems and family relationship problems, and to her 4 year old son suffering from autism. She had been diagnosed in 2006 with adjustment disorder and prolonged depressive reaction. She also had suspected bulimia. She was not taking medication because she was afraid that her husband would get custody of their children if she was on antidepressants. She was described as ``quite an intellectual woman who has complete insight into her psychosocial problems''.

  5. The claimant took an overdose of paracetamol on 21 June 2013 following an argument with her husband. The resulting assessment (file, pp.91-92) referred to domestic disharmony and violence at home, to her eating disorder, to one of her children being autistic and to a lack of family support.

  6. In the period under consideration, from October 2013 to August 2014 she suffered from depression, anxiety, anaemia and an eating disorder. A community care assessment on 23 October 2013 (pp.105-113 completed by a member of the council's mental health team refers both to the paracetamol overdose and to a suicide attempt about a year previously. It also states that at the time of the assessment the claimant was under the care of the wellbeing team for counselling by wellbeing nurse. Her eligibility criteria for adult social care (FACS) was assessed as substantial in respect of her emotional wellbeing and mental health. In respect of social relationships and activities outside the home it was assessed as critical, the highest level, as was her home and living situation. Both her children, then aged 4 and 10, attended special schools and were diagnosed as autistic. She had a sister that she talked to regularly but her family were not very empathetic due to forced marriage and cultural issues. The claimant could not identify any friends she could talk to. A risk of deterioration in her mental health was identified if her children were taken into care and there was also a risk of self harm/suicide. She was to be allocated a social worker for continued involvement regarding housing, children's services, forced marriage, possible emotional abuse, and support with emotional and mental wellbeing.

  7. In relation to finances, the assessment describes her as receiving income support and housing benefit and as not disclosing any debt or financial issues.

  8. At the time of her application for PIP, in January 2014, she had recently left her husband and she was still caring for her two autistic children to care for. She was living with her mother and had a social worker helping her. The same support worker was still helping her at the date of the tribunal hearing and attended the hearing with her. The claimant was also represented at the hearing.

  9. There was medical evidence from her GP dated 8 May 2014 the disabling conditions were ``variable sometimes making it difficult for her to make simple decisions or to think straight. She sometimes finds it difficult to attend appointments because of stress and anxiety.'' The claimant's own evidence in her application form was that due to her mental health problems and feeling unwell she needed prompting to communicate with other people. She felt very distressed when she had to give an explanation to make herself clear to people. Her advocate, who was from a local organisation formed to help disabled people,...

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