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Public Law Solicitors response to PIP consultation

21 August 2013

Public Law Solicitors (PLS) act for the three DLA claimants in the judicial review proceedings challenging the lawfulness of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013.

The grounds of the challenge are that the consultation undertaken prior to their introduction was inadequate and that the Government failed to comply with its Equality Act 2010 duties.

The three DLA claimants taking the judicial review have allowed us to publish the PLS's response recent DWP consultation on the PIP Moving Around assessment criteria.

Under PIP a new 20 metre rule to qualify for the highest mobility rate of the new benefit is replacing the qualifying distance of 50 metres used to assess people for DLA. It means that if disabled people can walk more than just 20 metres - even using aids such as sticks - they will no longer qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP. Those that no longer qualify will lose at least £33.25 a week or, crucially, access to their Motability vehicle.

In its response, the PLS says:

"We asked the DWP to provide an explanation for their selection of 20 metres as the appropriate distance to distinguish between the enhanced and the standard rates, and any relevant evidence on which they have relied. In response, we were provided with copies of three pieces of research.

We have considered each of these documents, but none provide any evidence that 20 metres is a differentiating benchmark for the purpose of identifying those who have higher disability-related costs.

Indeed, it is very difficult to think of any basic activity of daily living outside of the home where the ability to stand and move more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres gives any greater level of functional independence without incurring any greater cost. It is unlikely to make access to public transport, shops, banking facilities, GP surgeries and so on without incurring the same extra disability-related costs as those who are unable to stand and then move more than 20 metres. Most people who cannot stand and then move 50 metres will effectively be housebound without extra assistance to move greater distances.

The suggestion that the reforms are intended to re-focus this benefit on those in greatest need cannot mask the fact that if a person is unable to move more than 50 metres they are clearly amongst the most physically disabled in our society with absolutely minimal functional independence."

PLS's response to the PIP Moving Around Activity consultation is available to download.

Disability Rights UK fed into the Disability Benefits Consortium's response to the consultation which is available here http://disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/august/dbc-pip-20m-consultation-response

Further information on the PIP judicial review is available here http://disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/april/we-support-pip-mobility-court-case

The judicial review has been temporarily suspended pending the result of the PIP Moving Around consultation.