Bit of a long story but in essence, my wife has been receiving carers allowance for our son for a number of years. He Is 14 years of age. My wife has stage 4 incurable cancer and has been in that position for 4 years now. In My last year she had surgery for a hernia and the wound became badly affected leaving her with a very large abdominal wound which since last June has required District Nurses to visit our house to dress the wound three times per week.
She notified PIP of the wound and its effects (difficult to bend/lift/walk/prepare food etc.). Contrary to our expectations, PIP stopped her claim, refused it again on Mandatory Reconsideration and so she lodged an appeal at Tribunal.
In the paperwork submitted by PIP to the court they effectively say (cant recall the exact words) "How can she claim carers allowance when she has all the health problems she says has. They go on to suggest that the tribunal might want to also look at carers allowance as well as PIP when the case gets to Court.
I have been doing some research and wonder if PIP are allowed to make the suggestion they have made?
Our son is special needs and has many issues including mild cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, JIA, OI and severe learning difficulties.
He needs to be watched all the time he is at home in case he has a seizure, he needs accompanying wherever he goes as he is vulnerable - it looks as if because my wife stated to PIP that she cannot for instance prepare food (as she cannot for instance bend and lift to for instance put a roast in the oven, cannot stand for long etc - although they say that she can use a microwave to prepare food) that they are questionning how she can therefore care for our son?!
I cannot find any legal definition of “caring”.
I have read that a carer can be ill themselves and still be a carer - and that two people could both be ill and still care for each other?
I have read that two people (ie: both my wife and myself) can care for our son - but only one person can claim carers allowance - which has always been my wife.
My wife is wanting to drop the PIP appeal as she is worried she will lose carers allowance.
Any advice much appreciated.
Sorry for such a long message!!
Hi Nigel … a sorry state of affairs to say the very least.
PIP / DLA and Carers Allowance ?
Quite common … two less abled persons , both caring for each other.
Carers Allowance ?
Provided the carer meets all the eligibility criteria , it will be paid … being less abled does NOT exclude anyone.
Tribunial … what does your advocate advise ?
( I assume you have one ??? )
Good guidance from Turn2Us on PIP appeals follow :
Challenging a PIP decision - Appeal to Tribunal - Turn2us
If you are seeking legal advice , nobody on this forum can give such advice , nor is anyone qualfied to do so.
We are mere carers , current and former , who do the best we can to help and assist our fellow carers.
Might be worthwhile bouncing this off the CUK Advice Team … contact details follow … best by email :
Let us know how matters progress … it may help others in the future.
My wife doesn’t have an Advocate. I am her appointee and so we are currently on our own in this!
How do we get an Advocate?
What we are really looking for is a definitive answer to a judge asking at the tribunal hearing ‘So how can you care for your son 35 hours per week when you have your own health issues? How for instance does he get fed when you say you cannot stand, bend or lift and thus cannot cook food because of your own issues etc…’
Turn2Us link ?
All in there ?
As a backup , CAB :
Challenging a PIP decision - appealing against the decision - Citizens Advice
Again , very extensive guide … taking one through the whole process.
Rare … if you intend to take on the DWP in a tribunial without legal expertise fighting your corner.
Health issues … a red herring … one to bounce off that ( Future ) advocate ? … or the Carers UK Advice Team ?
Add on the CAB ?
There is another issue regarding the PIP appeal. Back in June 2018, my wife sent the DWP a recorded delivery letter which was signed for and it contained a photo of her abdominal wound (which is very large - at the time around 12 inches wide x 6 inches high x 3 inches deep) and which I believe is key to her case.
Neither the letter nor the photograph are included in the bundle of paperwork that DWP has lodged with the court - so, do we point that out and send the letter and photo to the court?
Could be an issue as the initial paperwork we received from the court states “Do not send any photographs of parts of your body”!
Anyone seeing the photo would immediately see that it would limit the sufferer’s ability to carry out certain activities - and up until 2 weeks ago (and since August last year) my wife also had to carry around 24/7, a large pump which was attached to her wound.
Again Nigel … one for that future advocate.
They ( Hopefully ) will be acting on your behalf in the tribunial … similar to a barrister in a court of law.
We , on this forum , are mere carers … not advocates.
Time for some serious reading ?
You’ll find the check lists to be some interest … a step-by-step " To do " list ?
I have no direct experience of this procedure so I don’t know what your contact with the court is, but I would write to them explaining the facts as you have here, and copy this to DWP, and send DWP the photo and explanation that it was signed for. I think as far as the court is concerned, they are not going to prejudge matters by looking into them at any depth before a hearing, but both parties need to see the evidence.
Yesterday afternoon my wife was given the results of a CT scan she had earlier in the day. Her gynae consultant confirmed that the cancer had returned as a tumour was showing near her bowels. He has said that she must now (once her abdominal wound has healed) have “palliative chemotherapy”.
He was shocked at the stance PIP has taken and also as we are now on Universal Credit, further shocked that the DWP will assess my wife to see if she has to look for work.
He is writing to confirm his findings and the letter will be sent by us to UC and PIP.
Your welcome , Nigel.
You and your wife must be shell shocked.
On behalf of us on the forum , rest assured that our thoughts are with you.
PIP aspect ?
Forums are full of stories and experiences of PIP assessments , one would need a long trawl to find a few
that have had good ones to relate.
Suffice to say , the tide has turned a little , and more are being granted PIP on further attempts.
The whole debacle is on record for anyone to see it for what it really is.
That is no comfort whatsoever to the victims.
Keep us appraised Nigel … in your own time.
I would suspect that, rather than submitting photographs, a doctor’s report would best serve your needs, and you have that now. I’d still take photos but I wouldn’t want nonmedical people judging what I can and can’t do based on those photos (though i suspect that happens every day).
I am wondering what impact if any the Consultant’s report will have on the PIP appeal - none I suspect since the “diagnosis” of the new tumour was only made yesterday and so does not relate to the appeal.
The report will be submitted as part of the appeal process anyhow - but how does one go on regarding the effect it has ongoing - ie: can my wife start a fresh claim to PIP (whilst still pursuing the appeal) and use the latest report as the basis for that claim?
PIP Appeal process … and a step by step guide ?
Link posted earlier …Turn2Us :
I wish I knew. I’d like to think that ‘they’ ought to consider her current needs and capabilities. The wound may be healing but the cancer diagnosis and treatment ought to be considered if they cause disabilty and inability to work. Just my opinion though.
I can see the predicament that both carers allowance and pip are awarded if you are unable to work, so can you get both? Does your son have paid carers to do things that his mother cant do? Can one argue that, although your wife is unable to work, she is able to supervise, coach, oversee your son’s activities and to alert others when he is in danger or needs extra help, and with great effort and more slowly do other household tasks for your son, or instruct him how to do them under her supervision, and to provide guided company and mental/psychological stimulation - all part of caring? What would your son do if his mother were to be at work?
I can see this is trickier than it first seemed. Perhaps one of Carers UK advisers or a legal professional could advise.
Just seen the carers uk website on pip and carers allowance…
An advocate was mentioned earlier.
Almost essential whenever PIP appeals are on the menu.
Carers UK Advice Team ?
Also recommended earlier.
Yes. Right again Chris!
Better twice than never !
I do hope Nigel takes on board the advice ( To seek expert advice ) and guidance given by all of us.
And , we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.
I have to say that one of the beauties of this forum is that we all have different experiences and knowledge that we bring to the forum and the opinions we offer. No wonder then that often our responses differ and may be in conflict. The trick is to sort out what is appropriate and what is not! We can’t always see things the way others do!
Rarely … different paths to the same destination maybe ?
I recommend this website:
To access all the guides you have to subscribe which is about £20 for a full year. I’ve used their guides every time I do mum’s applications and they take you through the full process including appeals.
Definitely don’t give up- you’re entitled to the benefits and your wife should be passported through as a priority due to the nature of her condition. They will make it as difficult as possible but the success rates of getting decisions overturned on appeal are huge.
Keep fighting! We’re with you xx