Sunday, 26 February 2017

Challenge change to PIP mobility for people with mental illnesses

The government is planning to restrict access to Enhanced Rate Mobility PIP, blocking people who experience "severe psychological distress" from qualifying on those grounds.

Labour are challenging this, as are a group of Lords (I think).

If you want to encourage your MP to challenge this change, please email them. You can find your MP here:

The text of my letter is below - you don't have to use it, it's just there in case it's helpful.

I'll be calling my MP's constituency office tomorrow as this is a time-sensitive thing, to ask if your MP is able to challenge this change. Emails can take a while to be read, and a call will help get it seen!

Dear My MP

The recent government decision to refuse Enhanced Rate PIP to people who can't travel outside alone because of severe psychological distress directly contradicts one of the reasons we were originally told DLA was outdated and needed to be replaced.

In the DLA to PIP consultation, it was noted that people qualifying for Higher Rate Mobility tended to be people with physical conditions, and this was to the detriment of people with mental or cognitive reasons for being unable to travel alone.

This was included during the October 2013 government response to the consultation on PIP (Moving around activity).


When developing the Mobility criteria, we were aware that although DLA includes deeming provisions which award the higher rate Mobility component to claimants who are deaf blind, severely visually impaired and severely mentally impaired, the higher rate Mobility component is predominantly awarded to claimants with physical mobility difficulties only. The DLA lower rate Mobility component has been awarded to those individuals who require guidance or supervision outdoors. This means that many claimants with mental, intellectual and cognitive impairments do not receive DLA higher rate Mobility, despite facing significant barriers to mobility and therefore to independent living.

 The PIP Mobility component has been designed to reflect the impact of impairments on an individual's ability to get around, regardless of whether it has a physical or non-physical root cause. The Government was aware that this approach would mean a reprioritisation of finite resources and those individuals with a physical health condition or impairment would be more likely to see a reduction in the mobility support they receive relative to those with non-physical impairments requiring support for moving around." (my emphasis)

This was also referenced during Steven Sumpter's court case where he unsuccessfully challenged the consultation process.

What was also raised during the case, by the DWP's barrister was:

i) So far as assistance with mobility was concerned, the policy intention was to treat those with physical impairments and those with non-physical impairments equally."

in reference to the 2012 consultation on reforming DLA.

Now according to reports in the FT & Morning Star we are being expected to accept a change where people with non-physical conditions aren't deemed to be disabled enough to need support outdoors?

(referring to:

Anxiety disorders and other conditions that cause "severe psychological distress" are incredibly disabling, and not easily mitigated for. The financial support and stability enhanced rate PIP provides will help meet extra costs incurred as a result of struggling to leave the house, and acts as a passporting benefit indicating that individual as being significantly impaired by their condition.

Please challenge this change. It is cruel, and further shows up the change from DLA to PIP as being more about cutting costs than about better spreading the welfare budget around.

Please can you raise this with the relevant Minister?

According to the FT article Labour members are looking to challenge this this week, please feel free to forward this email on whereever it might be of use.

Yours sincerely