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New legal judgment denies PIP to those facing “overwhelming psychological distress”

14 January 2016

An important legal judgment has been issued that will likely deny an award of the Personal Independence Payment mobility component to disabled people, with conditions such as depression, panic attacks or anxiety.

The upper tribunal appeal decision - UK/313/2015 - holds that the PIP descriptor “Cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid” concerns only the ability of a disabled person to navigate in terms of following a route.

This descriptor attracts 10 points under the PIP assessment point’s scheme and so leads on its own to an award of the standard mobility component (worth £21.80 per week).

The new judgment overturns a previous decision - CSPIP/109/2015 – that allowed that where someone is so prone to anxiety they need accompanying they may qualify for one of the “planning and following a journey” PIP mobility components.

As a result of this new decision, someone who needs to be accompanied on a journey due to anxiety or panic will be held to meet instead only the PIP descriptor “Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant” which attracts just four points and does not lead to an award of the PIP mobility component.

Disability Rights UK is dismayed at this extremely disappointing decision. Its effect will mean that those disabled people who are accompanied out of doors due to mental health issues such as anxiety or panic attacks will be denied any rate of PIP to compensate them for the extra costs this may bring.

The new judgment means that those DLA claimants who receive the lower rate of its mobility component due to a need for supervision will not successfully migrate to the mobility component of PIP.

View our summary of the new judgment

View full judgment