On Tuesday 5 February, the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 were passed by the House of Commons Eleventh Delegated Legislation Committee (audio recording). The debate, transcribed at http://www.publications.parlia…..205s01.htm, lasted just a little over an hour, very few members of the committee contributed and all voted along party lines. And that was it. Regulations which determine the independence and well-being of almost 2 million disabled people were dealt with quickly and quietly, like some routine to be got out of the way.
But this is NOT routine for disabled people. Across the length and breadth of the UK disabled people’s lives will change immeasurably as a result of the vote this afternoon. Many will find the long term support provided by Disability Living Allowance stripped away by the application of a rigid and limited set of activities and descriptors. In particular, people with mobility impairments who can walk more than 20 metres but not more than about 50 metres may lose their vital Motability vehicle (or other independent mobility solution funded by their higher rate mobility component DLA) and, with it, their independence.
But the fight is not yet completely lost. Our lawyers (Leigh Day solicitors and human rights barristers from Doughty Street Chambers) advise that this lowering of the distance criteria from 50 metres to 20 metres could be unlawful and are considering how we can challenge the regulations. But to do so, of course, we need claimants whose circumstances make them suitable candidates to participate in such a challenge. For the best prospect of success, the barristers have set the following criteria (some essential, some desirable):
These are the essential attributes of a suitable claimant for judicial review of the 20-metre walking distance criteria for enhanced mobility component of PIP:
- Eligible for legal aid – check your eligibility at http://legalaidcalculator.justice.gov.uk
- Currently have a DLA award including Higher Rate Mobility component
- DLA award NOT due to expire until after October 2013
- On re-assessment under PIP, whenever that occurs, is at risk of losing out on the enhanced mobility component of PIP because they can walk over 20 metres or so but cannot walk up to 50 metres. This probably means their mobility is stable – either until the expiry date of their current award (if it is time limited), or until at least 2015 (if their current award is indefinite).
- Does NOT have any difficulty planning or following a journey (eg due to mental health, cognitive or sensory impairment)
These additional criteria are desirable (but NOT essential) attributes of a suitable claimant:
- DLA award expires/due for renewal soon after October 2013
- Has a car or wheelchair accessible vehicle under the Motability scheme
- Has some evidence of the basis on which they were awarded DLA, eg a Tribunal Statement of Reasons, a DWP award letter referring to 50 metres (the figure is in the standard letters), or medical evidence
If you think you satisfy at least the essential criteria…
Contact me IMMEDIATELY using the contact form at http://janeyoung.me.uk/contact/, explaining that you wish to be considered to take part in a legal challenge to the PIP regulations.
There’s no time to lose… please share this post everywhere so we have the best chance of challenging the PIP regulations. Thanks!