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Teenager wins benefit claim battle

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A HOLT teenager living with cerebral palsy has won her appeal against the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) after her benefits application was refused.

16-year-old Catherine Mecredy’s application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was reinstated at a independent  tribunal after the DWP failed to respond to the appeal in the four weeks allowed.

Catherine’s application for PIP – to replace her existing benefit at the time, Disability Living Allowance, which is being phased out by the DWP – was turned down as she and her family had not turned up to an assessment. 

However, the letter inviting Catherine to the meeting was delivered whilst the family was on holiday, and by the time they had returned, the date for the meeting had passed.

The family immediately appealed the decision but were told by the DWP that they were unable to change the original decision, forcing the family to take their appeal to the independent tribunal.

Catherine’s father, Mark Mecredy said, “The DWP were not acting reasonably giving Catherine one week’s notice to attend her assessment. So hopefully this shows that it is well worth challenging the DWP when they are acting unreasonably, as there is a good chance that the claimant will succeed.

“If someone has the misfortune of being on holiday when invited for an assessment, there is now a precedent that they are entitled to another interview.”

With the application now  reinstated, the family has also been told by the DWP that Catherine’s claim can be judged by a paper-based review and she will not need an assessment meeting.

“We are optimistic that things are back on course and we’ll have a good result,” said Mark.

If approved, Catherine will also receive backdated payments of her benefit, which were stopped at the beginning of October. The state benefit was being used to fund a specially-adapted vehicle, assisting Catherine with her personal independence.

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