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Risk of harm need not be ‘more likely than not’ when assessing PIP

11 April 2017

The DWP has argued that a claimant can only score points for the purposes of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for being unsafe if harm is likely to occur on more than 50% of the occasions on which they attempt an activity.

For example, the DWP has not been awarding PIP to such claimants with epilepsy if they cannot show that it is ‘more likely than not’ that they will have a seizure on any given occasion when they prepare food.

However, a panel of Upper Tribunal Judges - in CPIP/1599/2016 - has decisively ruled against the DWP’s ‘50% rule’.

The Judges hold that a decision maker should look at whether there is a real possibility that harm might occur and also at how great the harm might be.

The greater the potential harm, the less likely it needs to be that it would happen on any specific occasion.

This means that there is a much greater chance of claimants who are at risk because of a sensory disability, epilepsy, heart disease, learning difficulties, dementia, mental health and other conditions being awarded PIP.

It may also allow some claimants to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component despite the recent change in the law relating to planning and following journeys.

But, it will be necessary to show someone would be at risk of harm, rather than simply distressed, to score points for descriptors that exclude consideration of psychological distress.

Read decision summary