To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons HM Courts and Tribunal Service is sending a new enquiry form to disabled/unwell people who have already submitted an SSCS1 appealing against the refusal of personal independence payments or employment and support allowance which asks the appellant if they with to continue with their appeal; and whether an appellant will be removed from the waiting list for a hearing and their appeal ended if they do not complete and return the new enquiry form within 14 days.
The Social Security and Child Benefit (SSCS) Direct Lodgement Centre (DLC), based in Bradford, has since April 2013 dealt with the receipt, compliance checking and case creation of all SSCS appeals for England and Wales. This includes appeals against decisions on all Department for Work and Pensions administered benefits, alongside the following from HMRC: Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, and Child Benefit.
Following the launch and acceptance of a lodged appeal the DLC will forward to one of 7 Regional Centres for progression of the case. The prescribed form for a lodgment of an appeal is the SSCS1 form, and on receipt of a compliant appeal in this form the DLC would not issue a further hearing enquiry form.
However appeals made without the form, usually received in letter form are accepted and in these circumstances a hearing enquiry form is sent to the appellant. If a response is not received within the timescale the Regional Centre would issue a reminder to the appellant on the tribunal standard letter DL2, this provides an opportunity for the appellant to inform the tribunal if they have now decided not to continue the appeal, however the appeal can only be stopped if the appellant tells the tribunal to do so. This is for all types of benefit and is not restricted to Personal Independence Payments or Employment Support allowance. Within the Direct Lodgment Process, we are not aware of any process were enquiry forms are routinely sent on an appeal received on an SSCS1 form.