Announcement: legal action against the DWP over the #PIP consultation

Scales of justice

I am one of three people asking for a Judicial Review over the consultation for Personal Independence Payments.

The request for a judicial review is on the basis that the Department for Work and Pensions did not conduct a proper consultation for PIP and if we are successful then they will be ordered to start the consultation again. If a judicial review is granted than it should take place sometime in July.

The initial consultation for PIP used inability to walk 50 metres to define eligibility for the enhanced rate of mobility component. That is, anyone who could not walk 50 metres without the use of a wheelchair would get highest rate of the benefit. After the consultation ended it emerged that the goalposts had been moved, and that the cut-off point for high-rate mobility would be just 20 metres. Those who can walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres safely, reliably and repeatedly may qualify for a lower rate of the benefit.

We will be arguing that the DWP were required to consult on such a fundamental change  and that they did not provide adequate information during the consultation that did take place. We will also argue that the DWP failed in their duty under the Equality Act 2010 to assess the impact of the new regulations on disabled people.

This change will affect me personally, albeit probably not until 2015 when those whose DLA has not already run out will be transferred to PIP. Those who receive the high-rate of mobility allowance under DLA are eligible to lease a car from the Motability scheme. If this requirement is kept with PIP then as someone who can usually walk more then 20 metres but not 50 metres without pain pain and exhaustion I will lose the high-rate mobility component and will therefore lose the car that restores much of my freedom and independence.

Public Law Solicitors are taking action on my behalf while Leigh Day are representing the two others involved in this case.

Press are welcome to contact me by email on latentexistence at gmail dot com or through the contact link at the top of this blog.

More information will be at

Please sign WOWpetition to demand a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform.

Press release from Public Law Solicitors / Leigh Day 08/04/2013

Lawyers have announced that they are taking legal action against the Government on behalf of three disabled clients who are challenging the decision by Ian Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and pensions, to bring in more stringent measures to qualify for the higher rate mobility benefit which the Government has estimated will result in 400,000 fewer people being eligible to claim.

The three clients currently receive disability living allowance (DLA) including the higher rate of the mobility component. This non-means-tested cash benefit has been available since 1992 and provides people with assistance towards the costs of an adapted car, powered wheelchair or scooter through the Motability scheme.

Under DLA a person is entitled to the higher rate of the mobility component if they are ‘unable or virtually unable to walk’. Usually claimants are considered to be ‘virtually unable to walk’ if they cannot walk more than around 50 metres.

The new Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (PIP) have reduced this benchmark distance to 20m.

Kim Storr has rheumatoid arthritis and other severe progressive conditions and her mobility is affected by joint swelling and pain. She relies on crutches. She currently receives DLA including the higher rate of the mobility component. Ms Storr needs an adapted vehicle to enable her to go out independently.

Steven Sumpter has ME, which has caused him increasing mobility problems. He can walk short distances with a stick, but is otherwise dependent on a wheelchair.  He was assessed as eligible for the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA last year, which he has used to lease a Motability car.

The third claimant is protected by an anonymity order to protect their identity.

Law firms Leigh Day and Public Law Solicitors argue that a consultation process set up by the Government to reassess the benefit was flawed. The Secretary of State did not consult on the proposal that the limit would be reduced to 20 metres. This suggestion was only introduced after all the consultation stages had passed.

Consultees were therefore denied the opportunity to comment on the proposal or to explain to the Secretary of State how such a restriction to the benefit will affect them and their independence.

The 50 metres distance is widely recognised in relation to other disability benefits and in guidance on the built environment, to represent a minimum functional level of mobility.

Proceedings have been issued against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, claiming that the new regulations regarding the PIP payment are flawed and unlawful. They argue the policy-making process failed to properly consider the practical impacts the withdrawal of the benefit will have on people with significant mobility impairments.

Rosa Curling, from the Human Rights team at Leigh Day who is representing two of the disabled clients said:

“We have advised our clients that the consultation undertaken by the Secretary of State was unlawful. People were not properly informed that the limit might be reduced to 20 metres and had no opportunity to provide the Secretary of State with their views on this proposal.

“Removing this vital benefit to disabled people will have a devastating effect on many people’s lives and their ability to access and be part of our communities. The Secretary of State has a legal obligation to consider such impacts before deciding whether to limit access to this benefit.”

Karen Ashton from Public Law Solicitors who represents Mr Sumpter, said:

“What is at the heart of this legal challenge is fairness.  The extra costs of getting out and about for those who have severe mobility problems can be huge. The higher rate mobility benefit can make the difference between being able to do everyday things that everyone else takes for granted  – such as doing your own shopping and visiting friends and relatives  –  and only leaving the house for absolutely essential appointments. But the Government failed to mention the reduction to the 20m threshold in their consultations with disabled people and so those who are potentially affected have not had the chance to explain how devastating the consequences will be.”


For further information please contact:

David Standard – Head of Media Relations, Leigh Day 0844 800 4981 or 07540 332717

Karen Ashton –  Public Law Solicitors 0121 256 0327 or  07812 165090

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

12 thoughts on “Announcement: legal action against the DWP over the #PIP consultation”

  1. My better half will not be effected because she cannot weightbear.I have listened/watched the utterations of Ministers/advisors at Select Committees,interviews etc concerning this and still can not make head or tail of what they are saying/backtracking from the published criteria .It seems to me by “concentrating on those most in need” ie.reducing help for those they deem not quite so “needy” they have come up with this stupidity-for the extra costs of having a disability are the same for my better half as you and many more for all practical mobility solutions.It is based purely on medical reasoning.Good luck with the case. regards.

    1. When they say “concentrating on those most in need”, it sounds like they will be increasing support for those people. They won’t. The support given remains exactly the same since PIP rates are exactly the same as DLA rates.
      What this means therefore is that those in so called “less need” will see their help withdrawn while those in so called “more need” will see their support stay the same. In other words this is a cut.

      I can only walk a few steps and will not be affected. However I know that even when you can walk more than 20m but not a lot further you still face exactly the same issues and costs as I do now. The PIP criteria are a disgrace and I fully support the need and decision to contest them.

  2. i have been severally disabled from birth i have mobility problems now due to amputations of toes ..i also have regressive rheumatiod arthritis as well as other illnesses ie diabetis cancer hypertension kidney failure ..i have had high rate of mobility allowance and middle rate care allowance to help with my long term condition ..these people are wrong what they say that you have to be able to walk 20metres they cannot measure pain only i can as i suffer 24/7 pain i take so many drugs for my condition ..i use both wheelchait and crutches at all time as i suffer fatigue when walking indoors to ..i cannot manage outdoor walking etc..i have to have help via my family ..i cannot even climb steps or stairs on my own without the use of rails ..ian duncan smith and DWP are wrong they cannot diagnose anyones illness or progressive disabilities no one can magically cure a sick disabled person over night this included hired company ATOS .

  3. I fully expect to loose the higher rate of mobility component when I am reassessed for PIP. Luckily as someone with an ‘indefinite’ award I have a couple of years before this will affect me supposedly according to the 9+ pages of waffle I received recently.

    I was born with disabilities, as well as developing Rheumatoid Arhritis in my late twenties, which made my difficulties with mobility (I have walked with a severe limp since my early teens) much more difficult to say the least. I can’t come up with a word strong enough, or a phrase, to explain it accurately.

    I have had to rely on a crutch for around a decade now, and my condition (as it’s a degenerative condition) has gotten worse and in October 2011 I was moved onto two crutches from the OT/PTs at my hospital. My ability to mobilise is several hundred times worse than when I qualified for the higher rate mobility component about a decade ago now but given the new guidelines I am 99.9% sure I will fail to qualify for the ‘enhanced’ rate under PIP. It’s a very depressing situation to even consider but I can’t afford to bury my ‘head in the sand’ as it’s not going to change what will happen when my turn comes around to be reassessed.

    I now have RA through every joint of my body (except my feet/neck according to an PT assessment in December 2011) so this also negitively affects my ability to mobilise because I can’t rely on my upper body to take the strain when my legs/lower limbs give out when mobilising. I pay dearly when I have to stay upright so to speak for anytime to be honest. If I know I have to do a lot of moving I rest up for days in advance and still pay for days and sometimes weeks afterwards. An experience all those with similiar mobility problems are well used to I’m sure. There is always a ‘pay off’ for doing what so many people blessed with good health take for granted.

    It’s all dire. Funnily enough I don’t know of anyone with a ‘lifetime’ award for DLA, I myself have an ‘indefinite’ award and this means I can be assessed at any time at all and in any frequency. Even my father who is registered blind and has qualified for the lower rates of DLA since the benefit was first introduced has an ‘indefinite’ and not ‘lifetime’ award that I keep hearing bandied around on tv and in the press. Obviously people (even those who supposedly are meant to know about all benefits and what the rates/awards mean) don’t know the difference as I also keep hearing it referred to as an ‘out of work’ or ‘unemployed’ benefit or it being alluded to this fact when it’s not a work/unemployed related benefit and it’s non-means tested as Cameron himself claimed it for his now departed son if I remember correctly and he difinitely wouldn’t have got it if it was either means tested or employment related.

    Sorry for the rant/side story but I find it all frustrating, terrifying and very very depressing …

  4. Thank you for being one of the people taking this judicial review legal proceedings. I wish you strength and good thoughts throughout this process as I am discovering how stressful and difficult taking disability-related legal action is at the moment.

  5. I suffer an hereditary disease (HMSPN) the stress just getting the right diagnosis was enough, people who live with constant pain and mobility problems which have been diagnosed by a hospital specialist with provided medical evidence have enough going on in their lives without the threat of their little bit of independence being taken away, we have been targeted by IDS he knows we are in a vulnerable position with limited opportunity to fight back. I am a firm believer in karma and a person who is willing to crush a system which was once there to help him and his family should be careful what he wishes for, disabled people do not need or deserve this kind of underhanded treatment.

  6. People should remember, before getting really anxious, that if you can’t walk 20 metres ‘safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period’, you should not be considered able to walk that distance and should therefore get the enhanced rate. But these things may be hard to prove, wherein lies the problem!

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