PIP: 20m is too small a distance

The government has recently opened a consultation on the ‘moving around’ activity for Personal Independence Payments. The key issue is whether the cut-off for Enhanced Rate Mobility (equivalent to Higher Rate in DLA) should be at 20 metres, 50 metres or some other distance.

The We Are Spartacus team have produced an excellent briefing which you can read to find out more information about the consultation (a short summary is also provided below).

If you make a response to the consultation, please also send a copy to pip20m@janeyoung.me.uk if you are happy to do so, as the Spartacus team would like to carry out an independent review of the responses. You can also complete their survey; this will be very helpful in informing the response that the Spartacus team make. Please do respond to the government and complete the survey. It is important that the government realise how big an issue this is. Consultation responses have to be submitted by the end of Monday 5th August.

Short overview:

Previously, people unable to walk 50m received the higher rate mobility of Disability Living Allowance. Under Personal Independence Payments, these people will receive only the standard rate, leaving them ineligible for the Motability scheme. This is a retrogressive step.

The government says that those who can walk 20-50m have “some, albeit limited, mobility.” Under DLA, this distance was considered “virtually unable to walk.” This was established by case law. The government’s regulations therefore run contrary to case law.

Government guidelines in the report “Inclusive Mobility” include:

  • In off-street car parks operated by a Local Authority and in car parks offered for public use by private companies, spaces for Blue Badge holders should be provided as close as possible, preferably within 50 metres of the facilities served by the car park.
  • Seats and perches should be placed or regular intervals along paths in the countryside. They should be located no more than 100 metres apart.
  • In commonly used pedestrian areas, and transport interchanges and stations, seats should be provided at intervals of no more 50 metres.

This means that people able to walk 50-100m are, in these guidelines, considered as disabled. People unable to walk 50metres may still struggle to access public places. This is because disabled parking bays may still be too far from the facility they serve, and because benches may be placed too far apart (e.g. if a person can walk 35m, but benches are 50m apart and/or the parking bay is 50 from the facility). People unable to walk 100m may struggle to access paths in the countryside. Under PIP, these people will not be considered disabled unless they also have difficulties with planning and following journeys. This is inconsistent with current provision for disabled people.

Action for ME said, “Mobility underpins every aspect of life, and if you can only move up to 50 m (regardless of whether that is unaided or with a stick) then you are unable to engage in society or manage daily activities without considerable help and alterations to daily life, all of which incur extra costs which will not be met by the standard mobility component.”

The British Disability Equality Forum said, “there is an assumption that all Disabled people with mobility impairments will have the use of a car …  This assumption means that, for example, someone who “Can move up to 50 metres unaided but no further,” will score 8pts because “50 metres is considered to be the distance that an individual is required to be able to walk in order to achieve a basic level of independence such as the ability to get from a car park to the supermarket.” Yet 8pts will not pay for the Motability car that they would need to be walking from, to meet this assumption.” And “the 200m distance set, whilst it might ensure someone can walk around a supermarket, does not allow for them getting to and from the said shop.  In the case of larger town centres car park can be significantly more than 200m from the relevant shops – especially fresh food shops; in most areas of the country most people don’t live within 200m of a bus stop and in rural areas the bus stops are likely to be substantially further away from an individual’s home. The Forum therefore wants to see some more consideration of the ‘gaps’ remaining for people to fall through.”

Disability Wales said, “Considering that people who can mobilise no further than 100 metres are awarded only 4 points, which could exclude them from any mobility payment, the scores are quite clearly much too low. People who can mobilize 100 metres without using a wheelchair, but who experience conditions such as fatigue, pain or breathlessness, may incur substantial extra costs. The scoring should reflect this.”

These are just three examples of responses to the second draft of the assessment criteria.  A number of organisations recommended 100m as the threshold for enhanced-rate mobility. Many pointed out the numerous difficulties faced by those with limited mobility, including the fact that the real environment is rarely flat.

The overall impression from the responses is that the enhanced rate threshold should be at least 50m and preferably 100m. The small sum of money awarded to those unable to walk 50m coupled with their exclusion from the Motability scheme means that people with severe mobility restrictions will not be getting the support that they need to achieve a reasonable level of independence and access to society.

You can find more information on PIP and the 20m ruling from ‘Where’s the Benefit’ here.

The consultation document is available here.


11 thoughts on “PIP: 20m is too small a distance

  1. This is disgusting, I have MS and maybe abel to walk 20m one day but not the next and another day I may be able to walk a whole bunch further but the next day be floored!! how the hell can these people being makin such demands on folk who already have loads to cope with without their interference and i mean interference.. what gives them the right to judge how far I walk or not, I AM DISABLED, NOT THROUGH CHOICE AND GIVEN THE CHOICE I WOULD SO GET RID OF THE DAMNED MS !!! OMG i am horrified at this and totally appalled that my DLA will come down to some no mark makin decisions about me without even knowin ME NOR MY SITUATION COMPLETELY & WITHOUT BIAS!!!! This is a complete arse as far as I can see !!!

    • I have to come out in total agreement with Caddi.
      M.S cannot be judged at one point in time just as it cannot be predicted or planned for. I was diagnosed in 2009 and even I cannot give a precise description of my illness other than the favourite ‘box ticking’ term on so many benefit questionnaires – it varies !!!
      Adding, if I may, to Caddis’ comments, my concern is the regular occasions where I set off on foot ‘feeling better’ and spasticity and dropped foot develop in my left leg AFTERWARDS. There are often no warning signs so crutches, F.E.S etc are not taken but you are suddenly in considerable pain, dragging a dead weight of leg and frequently falling.
      With my Motability vehicle I can carry and attach the items needed and, if necessary, return quickly to a place of safety. Without my DLS funded vehicle I would be stranded. I would quickly return to the early days of my MS where leaving the house was too risky and, as I live alone, that easily becomes ‘phobic’.
      How does the 20m test relate to that set of circumstances !!!

      • totally agree i look fine one minute and could feel faint the next or be sick the next how about that for an illness for the past 33 years
        i have to go out with a carer at most times that’s of course if the DWP will let me as they often say to me your ill what you doing out you’ll get reported by a neighbour so get back in the house

        bloody compliance officers

      • All I can say is A HUGE THANK YOU to Adrian Horne, finally it appears that wee may be listened to??? or not huh well lets wait and see shall we, after all MS has NO set rules of how to ‘play’ nor react to different situations, this is totally appalling and so so not fair on anyone that has a disability that varies from one day to the next. I have had a grt run of freedom from spasticity but cannot tell you when it will reappear and make me useless on my legs, somehow it feels like I’m being blamed for this or am I making it up??? am I sure its really happening?? For Gods Sake get a life and wake up and smell the coffee, MS is a debilitating disease which gets WORSE NOT BETTER for f**k sake folks get a grip and listen to those suffering with this shit and not makin it up. I get that some will try and pull a fast one but for goodness sake with MS you so don;’t have todo this it IS PART OF YOUR DAILY LIFE…. WHAT WILL I BE ABLE TO DO 2MRW , WHAT IF I HAVE A APP’T AND CAN”T GET THERE COS MY LEGS DON;T WANT TO WORK!! and on top of that we have to put up wit h being told we’re not that bad , we can do more we don;t need these services bein offered to us by social workers or OT??? THEN WHY THE HELL ARE THEY BEING OFFERED HUH COS THEY CAN ??? Wake up government not everyone is tryin to con you and some of us YES some of us really really DO NEED help. Sadly folk don;t understand invisible disabilities and we just get slagged off as con artists or sad b*****ds with nowt better to do than con the country outta money, well I worked until I was diagnosed and I worked hard and loved earning my own money I even went back to workin after being diagnosed and lasted 3 wks, came down with relapse so bad I was floored for nearly 6 months so please please don;t tell me I can work I tried and would love to be bad working, its not all flowers and roses NOT WORKIN , its boring and can give you low self esteem, why oh why would anyone want to put themselves through that just to get money outta the poxy government that says their trying to help us huh?? anyway enough ranting just get on and sort the bloody country out government before you add disabled folk to your list of suicides!!!! bunch of cretins disgust me.

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  3. I have a condition which comes and goes. When I am really bad, I use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. As long as I can find a suitable parking space, I can get about my small town pretty well. However, as I improve and move on to walkers or sticks, it becomes very important to me to be near the shops as I cannot walk far. In order to rehabilitate it was important for me to walk as much as possible, but the difficulties of parking spaces too far from shops etc forced me back into my wheelchair. And the longer you use a wheelchair and don’t walk, the weaker your muscles, circulation and lungs until eventually you can no longer walk. Far from ‘enabling’ people, as the government claims to want to do, new welfare rules are forcing disabled people with some mobility back into their cars and wheelchairs

  4. The new 20m barrier for PIP is truly ridiculous !!! It is far too specific, and ‘point in time,’ to EVER be a constructive measure of mobility. As a sudden change to the existing 50m it is also an underhanded, and blatently dishonest, attempt by politicians to ‘claw back’ some cash from the most fragile (and what they consider the least argumentative) in society.
    I can only really comment on myself, and I hope other people don’t think I am being self-centred, but as a 55 year old ex-primary school teacher whose life has apparently ground to a halt due to Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis I think any such testing is farcical on SO MANY levels.
    It isn’t just being able to get about it’s about loss of self-respect, isolation, the need to admit defeat and loneliness resulting from being stranded. It’s a pathway to worsening depression and anger.And thats just a start…

  5. what about those who can only walk a short distance who are not disabled but have other painful condition’s like heart /lung conditions. people like myself no mention of these types of people ? i guess in the eyes of the government these people don’t exist

  6. What the government don’t understand is that, in the case of people with autism, autistics CAN PHYSICALLY WALK 20 metres, but can they SAFELY walk 20 metres? Autistic people are easily distracted, do not look out for oncoming traffic, are likely to stop in the middle of the road, often run away in panic, are dyspraxic and often fall over, can have seizures at any time (in the middle of a 20 metre walk). If accompanied by someone who CONSTANTLY watches over them, of course they could walk 20 metres, but unaided? No way. Is this sort of situation being taken into account?

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