-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

PIP: The reasonable wishes of a claimant to walk further or more frequently must be considered

15 May 2017

A new legal judgment established that the PIP mobility component should not be based on a supposed “objective test” of how far a disabled person or how often they need to “move around”.

View summary of decision

View DR UK guide to claiming PIP

In brief, the Upper Tribunal judgment holds that it is wrong for a tribunal to assume that a disabled person will only reasonably need to walk once to the local shop and back.

Instead, it needs to consider if they have a reasonable wish to be able to go elsewhere – to the park or to visit a friend for example.

If they are prevented from doing this by the effects of their disability, then this needs to be considered in how far and how often they can repeatedly mobilise. 

In CPIP/3622/2016 Upper Tribunal Judge Gray holds that to the extent a tribunal excluded the appellant’s choice as to how often she would “move around” and replace that with an objective test of how often she needed to do so it was wrong.

Judge Gray says that:

“If the tribunal looked at the concept ‘repeatedly’ on one walk to a local shop and then back home each day, which an appellant could accomplish at one stretch, perhaps because it felt that she would be able to pick up what she needed on such an outing, that would be to assess her on an overly limited basis: she may wish to walk on to the park, or meet a friend, and why should she not?

He adds that:

“...  a tribunal does not need to accept the genuineness of an extreme routine put forward in an apparent attempt to "generate" points, but if it is accepted that somebody would like to walk further or more frequently and such activity is not inherently unreasonable then that wish should be factored in to the calculation of how often the activity being assessed is reasonably required to be completed. 

To address this matter otherwise would be to calculate entitlement upon the tribunal’s view of what the disabled person's activities should be.”

So, Judge Gray finds that unless it is inherently unreasonable an appellant’s choice of where they would like to move around should be respected.

This judgment is important as it reinforces the principle that all PIP activity descriptors should be assessed on a disabled person to “repeatedly” undertake them as often as they reasonably require.

This includes Mobility not only mobility PIP but also Daily Living Activities.

Judge Gray also holds that the tribunal had failed to fully consider the meaning of ‘engaging socially’ when considering Activity 9 – engaging with other people face to face.  The tribunal should have seen this as going beyond engagement with health professionals and family members, taking into account the wishes of the appellant:

“…there is no legal basis for limiting the assessment of her ability to engage with others face to face to such engagement as is reasonably necessary. The purpose of PIP, like DLA before it, is to assist those with disabilities to live, as far as possible, the life that they would wish to live, and any mitigating behaviour adopted because of that disability must be disregarded”