Legal review into decision to tighten PIP mobility qualifier

Published date: 09 May 2013 at 3:51PM

A campaigner has succeeded in his fight for the High Court to conduct a judicial review of the decision made by the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) to introduce stricter criteria for people applying for the mobility component of PIP

Earlier this year the DWP changed the distance people had to walk to qualify for the enhanced rate mobility component of the disability benefit from 50 metres to 20 metres. There was no public consultation on this decision.

Over 95% of people with MS currently receive the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA – soon to be changed to PIP – which often allows people with mobility problems to pay for an adapted car, use taxis or purchase walking aids to help them remain mobile and independent.

What is a judicial review?

Individuals and organisations can seek a judicial review if they think a decision by a public body – like the DWP – has been made unlawfully.

The review, carried out by a judge, looks only at the way the decision was reached, rather than whether it was correct or not.

If the High Court decide the decision to change the walking distance was unlawful, this could lead to a reconsideration of this part of the assessment criteria for the benefit.

Challenging the DWP’s decision

Steven Sumpter does not have MS but his actions could benefit thousands living with the condition across the UK. His disability means he can only walk a few metres with a stick. He was assessed as eligible for the higher rate of the mobility component for DLA but is worried that in the new changes under PIP mean he’ll miss out on this vital benefit, especially as he did not have a chance to put his views to the DWP.

Steven is working with Public Law Solicitors to take the decision to court. 

Karen Ashton from Public Law Solicitors is representing Steven. She said: “The higher rate of mobility benefit can make an extraordinary difference to a disabled person’s life. But the Government failed to mention the reduction to 20m in their consultations and so those who might be affected did not have the chance to put their case and explain how devastating the consequences will be.”

Page last updated: 09 May 2013
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