A PIP claimant must return his Motability car on Thursday and faces being permanently trapped in an intensive care unit even though he is not ill, because the DWP clawed back his payments. The clawback from Motability was made, in spite of a plea from his legal team to put it on hold, because of the PIP 28 day hospital rule which he is now challenging in the High Court.
Cameron Mitchell, aged 20, has profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).
He currently spends four days a week in hospital in an intensive care unit and three days a week at home.
This is not because Cameron is ill, but because of problems and delays in providing a care package to allow him to live permanently at home.
Without the Motability car to transport Cameron and all his equipment, he will be trapped in the hospital seven days a week. His parents also need the car to provide personal care for Cameron whilst he is in hospital.
However, in December 2021 Cameron’s mother Nicola Clulow was told by the DWP that she must repay overpayments of PIP and Carer’s Allowance made after Cameron was in hospital for 28 days in 2020.
Cameron’s solicitors, Leigh Day, asked the DWP to pause any recovery until a court challenge to the 28 day rule could be heard.
However, the DWP clawed back payments from Motability and the car must now be returned, even though his parents need it to continue caring for him, because Cameron needs known carers to provide support for him even when he is in hospital.
Cameron’s mother said:
“Cameron has been stuck living in intensive care first in Newcastle, then in Carlisle for almost 15 months now. Not because he's ill but due to problems and delays in providing a home care package that can meet his complex special needs.
“He's 20 years old and has had to spend days and nights for months watching very sick people who often don't survive and despite his lack of communication it's clear to everyone that he was switching off from the world, was depressed and just had no interest in life.
“Contact with the outside world and the ability to go home to be with family are crucial for him. To go out, and especially to go home Cameron requires a great deal of equipment to go with him and this would be impossible without his Motability car.
“Having been called on 21st February 2022 by Motability to say his vehicle must be returned on Thursday 3rd March was one of the most difficult and upsetting situations we have faced because it means that Cameron will once again have to simply stay looking at the four walls of the Intensive Care unit and not get home.”
This week Cameron was given permission for a judicial review in the High Court of the hospitalisation rule. The case will be heard later this year.
Cameron is arguing that the hospitalisation rule breaches his rights because it directly discriminates against him, a person with PMLD requiring hospitalisation for a period of more than 28 days, as compared to those with PMLD who are hospitalised for less than 28 days.
He is also arguing that the hospitalisation rule indirectly discriminates against those who have PMLD or treats those with PMLD the same as others when it should be treating them differently in recognition of their disability-related needs which mean that they require care from ‘known carers’, people who know them and their needs whilst they are in hospital.
He is also arguing that the rule is irrational because it cuts across the purpose of PIP.
Cameron is being represented by Leigh Day, solicitors.