To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of reports that her Department is offering time-limited settlement offers to people who have a strong chance of success at a tribunal on refusal of their claim for personal independence payments.
16 March 2020
The Department does not make ‘offers’ to claimants. If at the appeal stage of the decision making process it is decided that a decision can be changed in the claimant’s favour, then in law the Secretary of State has the option to revise the decision and thereby lapse the appeal against that decision. As we always aim to make the right decision as early as possible, then changing the decision to award a higher rate of benefit is the right thing to do. However, we will only do this if the claimant agrees. The telephone call is made to explain the changed circumstance. But, critically, it also the case that, whilst the appeal against the original decision will stop, a new right of appeal is given against the revised decision. This is explained both by the new decision notice and by the letter sent by the Tribunals Service confirming the appeal has stopped. The process does not disadvantage claimants. And, of course, if the second appeal is successful the additional benefit will be backdated and full arrears paid.