The DWP has launched a six week consultation on personal independence payment, looking solely at the enhanced mobility component. The move comes after protestors launched a judicial review of the DWP’s failure to consult on changing the qualifying distance from 50 metres down to 20 metres.
Benefits and Work is urging members to take part in the consultation, even though there is a strong likelihood the DWP will ignore its findings.
We believe it is important that the DWP are forced to admit that the changes to PIP have nothing to do with improving the methods of assessing disability and everything to do with cutting costs. In addition, we think it is vital that support is given to the brave campaigners who have forced the DWP to make this embarrassing concession. In addition, the judicial review is likely to be stayed whilst the consultation takes place, but may be restarted once it is over.
The consultation will run until 5th August.
It is extremely likely that the vast majority of individuals and organisations who respond will be against the change in the qualifying criteria. However, the DWP have made clear in the text of the document what their planned strategy for ignoring the results of the consultation is. They explain that:
“In reaching our decision we will consider how any potential changes might affect individuals and the numbers of people likely to receive the benefit. We will also consider the potential impact of any changes on PIP and overall welfare expenditure and whether this is affordable and sustainable. We will publish a report summarising the responses received and how we reached our conclusions, once we have completed the consultation.”
In other words, they are preparing for the possibility of arguing that in spite of the overwhelming rejection of the new criteria, keeping the current 50 metre limit is not ‘affordable and sustainable’. This will at least make the real reasons for the changes clear and give campaigners ammunition to fight for the 50 metre limit to be reinstated at a future date.
And there’s always the outside possibility that the government will actually accept the findings of the consultation. The consultation question is:
“What are your views on the Moving around activity within the current PIP assessment criteria?”
The document adds that:
“We would like to know what people think about the current Moving around criteria, including the current thresholds of 20 and 50 metres; what they think the impact of the criteria will be; and whether they think we need to make any changes to them or assess physical mobility in a different way altogether.
“We are not consulting on the Planning and following journeys activity or any other aspect of the assessment.”
You can respond to the consultation by emailing your views to:
or writing to:
PIP Assessment Development Team
Department for Work and Pensions
2nd floor, Caxton House
Remember, the closing date is 5th August.