10th April 2017
By Ian Malcolm-Walker
Around 160,000 people, mostly with mental health issues, will lose their entitlement to help with getting around under Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The Tories claim this is not a cut but only reversing an entitlement that they never intended. That is a lie.
Under the old Disability Living Allowance, the lower mobility component was available to someone who needed guidance or supervision to follow an unfamiliar route. This included blindness, some mental health problems such as anxiety, autism, learning difficulty, etc.
Under PIP, eight points are needed. Due to the weighting of the descriptors, these can be scored only by someone who cannot undertake any journey due to distress, or to someone who cannot ‘follow the route of an unfamiliar journey’ alone.
The government now claims that recent judgments have broadened the way the PIP criteria should be interpreted, going beyond the original intention. Last year when the government did a U turn on PIP but not on Employment and Support Allowance, it promised no benefit more cuts this parliament which is why it has to make out they never intended to help people with mental health issues.
Had this been true, there would have been an even bigger fuss in 2012 during the consultation on the PIP assessment criteria and Regulations. Indeed in response to the consultation, the government said, “Concern was raised that the activity takes insufficient account of the impact of mental health conditions on mobility. We do not consider this the case. Individuals could potentially score in a number of descriptors in the activity if they cannot go outside to commence journeys because of their condition or need prompting or another person to accompany them to make a journey.”
A full DPAC briefing is at http://dpac.uk.net/2017/02/briefing-mps-lords-changes-pip-regulations/
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