The DWP have told an influential parliamentary committee that claimants with a mental health condition but no physical health condition, will still be able to claim the enhanced rate of the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).

However, the ‘non-exhaustive’ list of claimants with mental health conditions only, who will still be able to claim the enhanced rate includes people with ME/CFS, people with cognitive impairments, people with developmental disorder and people with psychosomatic pain.

It does not include any claimants with common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, OCD, psychosis or personality disorder, for example.

The DWP statement says:

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of situations where a person with a mental condition (unaccompanied by a physical condition) could receive the mobility component of PIP at the enhanced rate:

A person (person A) with a cognitive impairment who cannot, due to their impairment, work out where to go, follow directions or deal with unexpected changes in their journey, even when the journey is familiar, would score 12 points under descriptor f in mobility activity 1 (“planning and following journeys”), and hence be entitled to the enhanced rate of the mobility component. Examples of such conditions could include dementia, or a learning disability such as Down’s Syndrome. (Some people covered by this example may experience psychological distress as well, and may also meet descriptor b, requiring “prompting” – i.e. reminding, encouraging or explaining – from another person in order to be able to undertake a journey. They will still receive 12 points under descriptor f and be entitled to the enhanced rate.)

A person (person B) with a developmental disorder could qualify on a similar basis to person A if the disorder affects their ability to work out where to go, follow directions or deal with unexpected changes in their journey. If their disorder results in them having difficulty assessing and responding to risks, or in impulsivity, then they could also score 12 points under descriptor f on the basis that they need to be accompanied for their own safety. Examples of developmental disorders which could have these effects include Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

A person (person C) who suffers psychosomatic pain could qualify for the enhanced rate through satisfying descriptors e or f in mobility activity 2 (“moving around”). The case of NK v SSWP [2016] UKUT 146 (AAC) concerned a claimant who suffered significant pain when moving around, but the pain resulted from a mental condition rather than any physical impairment. The Upper Tribunal found that the claimant could score points towards an award of the mobility component under mobility activity 2, even though her pain did not have a physical cause.

A person (person D) who has chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and experiences symptoms including significant fatigue following physical exertion, muscular and joint pain and balance problems, together with psychological difficulties which manifest as depression and panic attacks, could qualify for the enhanced rate under mobility activity 2, or by scoring points on a combination of mobility activity 1 (4 points under descriptor b, for requiring prompting to avoid psychological distress when undertaking any journey) and mobility activity 2 (8 points under descriptor c, for being able to stand and then move unaided more than 20m but no more than 50m). As explained above, Chronic Fatigue Symptom (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), has complex causes which are still not well understood, but which may involve both physical and psychological factors.

You can read the full statement here


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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Commenter · 5 months ago
    I have autism, ADHD, OCD, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and awaiting treatment for possible severe complex PTSD. I can't even get a blue badge. 

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