Hundreds of thousands of disabled people will lose their independence under the final descriptors for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) published on 13 December. People with physical walking difficulties (who have no difficulty planning and following a journey) will only qualify for the enhanced mobility component if they are unable to walk more than 20 metres.
This is very much more restrictive than the 50 metres suggested in the draft descriptors and came as a shock to everyone. Well over 100,000 disabled people will lose their Motability vehicle – their means of independence and participation, the lifeline that enables them to get to work, to GP appointments, to the shops, to take their kids to school.
On top of that, the provision that ensures claimants are only deemed able to walk more than 20 metres (or meet specific descriptors in other PIP activities) if they can do so ‘safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner’ will not be included in the regulations themselves, only in guidance.
We’re concerned this could mean this provision may not be taken into account at an appeal tribunal. It is the ‘safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner’ provision which enables the assessment to take account of issues such as pain, fatigue, breathlessness etc.