People from the MS community were in Westminster today to speak out against the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 20 metre rule.
‘PIPville’ appeared outside the Houses of Parliament – the fictional town where 9,400 people with MS are trapped in their homes because of the 20 metre rule. John, Bethen and James, who all live with MS, were trapped in PIPville to send a message to politicians about the impact PIP has had on their independence. They were joined by others with MS to demand an end to the 20 metre rule.
We also delivered our petition aimed at the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, calling on her to scrap the rule. It was signed by 36,041 people.
Thousands have lost out because of PIP 20m
At least 9,400 people with MS have lost out on support since PIP started to replace the old benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). By the time PIP is fully rolled out, at least 6,400 more could be affected.
The PIP 20 metre rule is the main reason people with MS are having their benefit cut. Under this rule, people who can walk one step over 20 metres are not qualifying for the right level of mobility support. We know that this leads to people with MS losing their independence, leaving some feeling trapped in their homes.
20m rule doesn’t make sense
John, one of the people trapped in PIPville today, said:
“Under DLA I had a Motability car which I used to get to hospital appointments, continue with my charity work and basically live a normal life. Using public transport just isn’t an option for me so the car is my lifeline to independence. I can’t walk a few steps without pain and I’d need a taxi just to get to my nearest bus stop.
“After being transferred to PIP I lost the higher rate of mobility and was no longer allowed to keep my car. The DWP decided I could walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres, but at my assessment I was seated during the whole interview. I was never asked to demonstrate how far I can walk, and had my mobility scooter next to me. The 20 metre rule doesn’t make any sense and it’s failing people with MS.”
Enough is enough
Our Director of External Affairs, Genevieve Edwards, said: “The Government says PIP is meant to support those with the greatest needs and that the 20 metre rule is the most effective way of identifying people with the most limited mobility.
“Yet no evidence has been provided for using 20 metres and they have never explained why they think that people who can walk just 21 metres can live independently with much less support.
“PIP is failing people with MS. Having MS is hard enough; it shouldn’t be made harder by a senseless and arbitrary rule. More than 36,000 people agree – the 20 metre rule needs to go.”