Ask CPAG Online - How should you prepare a written submission?

A written submission (statement) is an effective way of presenting your case and focussing yourself, the DWP and tribunals on the relevant facts and law. The aim is to maximise the chances of success by effectively guiding the decision-maker or tribunal to the outcome you are seeking (almost by doing their job for them and making it as easy as possible for them to agree with you).

When should you submit it?

You can prepare and send in your submission to the DWP when requesting an appeal to an independent tribunal. You can also use the same approach in your earlier letter requesting a mandatory reconsideration (MR). 

  • Presenting your case in a form of a written submission in your MR application can maximise ther chances of a successful outcome and save you having to do the work again if you need to appeal. Clearly, if you are close to the one month time limit for requesting a MR, you may not have the time to prepare a detailed submission.

  • You can use the same or a similar submission when sending in your appeal on form SSCS1, but there is no requirement to set out your grounds for appeal in any great detail when you submit the form, and you could instead, wait to see the appeal bundle, and send in your submission at that stage, addressing any additional points and arguments made in the DWP’s submission to the tribunal. You should always try to send your submission to the appeal tribunal as soon as possible and try to avoid doing this at the last moment (e.g. on the day of the hearing) unless it is unavoidable (you should then explain why this is the case).

What should be in it?

There are no hard and fast rules and much will depend on the details of your case, but the following points should be borne in mind:

General points

The submission should be as short and concise as possible (generally no more than 3 or 4 sides of A4 plus attachments), and set out in a logical sequence with relevant headings and sub-headings. If you refer to any case law, guidance or additional written evidence, you should append copies to your submission. Your focus should be on showing that you satisfy the PIP disability conditions, rather than spending too much time attacking the DWP’s case (although you may need to highlight any errors or omissions in the DWP’s reasons and evidence they are relying on).

References

Remember to include your personal and contact details and to clearly identify the decision (and its date) you are disputing.

Initial statement

This should set out in a sentence what you are asserting, with reference to the law.

For example:

‘I believe I am entitled to the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP because I score 14 points in respect of the descriptors relating to preparing food, washing and bathing, and dressing and undressing set out in Part 2 of schedule 1 to the Social Security (PIP) Regulations 2013. I beleive I should be given an indefinite award as my condition is unlikely to improve.’

Background facts

You should set out the relevant facts about yourself in this section, including your medical history and how your conditions were affecting you when you claimed PIP and received the disputed decision.

Basis of entitlement

This is the core of your submission where you need to set out how and why you satisfy particular descriptors, giving you sufficient points to qualify for the component and rate of PIP you are asking for. You may need to refer to the definitions of the terms used in the rules, the ‘frequency’ and ‘reliability’ rules, relevant case law (see LASA's pipinfo) and guidance (e.g. from the PIP Assessment Guide), any supporting evidence you have submitted, and any errors or omissions in the DWP’s submission and evidence. For more details, see ‘What are the grounds for disputing a PIP disability decision?.

Conclusion

This is more or less a restatement of your initial statement.